Heaven Pt. 81

then hear from heaven and judge between your servants—the accuser and the accused. Punish the guilty as they deserve. Acquit the innocent because of their innocence. I Kings 8:32 NLT

Accusation is one of Satan’s greatest tools. He condemns us when we are guilty and accuses us when we are innocent. In either case we as the people of God need to bring our guilt and our innocence to the cross and rely on Christ to justify us or vindicate us. It has never been man’s job to clear his name (as if we were ever capable). Jesus alone can judge and right the wrongs done to us or by us.

Have you ever been falsely accused?

Heaven Pt. 80

“May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.” I Kings 8:30

It seems sometimes that God and His home in Heaven are so far away from us and our experience. We think things like …

We think maybe God doesn’t know…doesn’t understand…doesn’t have a truly accurate perception of what is happening to us because He is so far away.

The truth is,when we think of Heaven being way out there somewhere past the planet Jupiter we espouse a rather unbiblical view. You see Heaven isn’t just the place we go when we die. It is anywhere where God has rule. That is why Jesus could say,  “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within  you.” Luke 17:20,21

God can hear us from Heaven because that kingdom… that rule has already taken up residence within our hearts. We may not physically be in Heaven right now but Heaven is spiritually in us. Honestly, I am not sure which of those things is more real.

Heaven Pt. 79

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” I Kings 8:27 KJV

God is beyond our understanding and beyond our finding out. Just when we think we have Him figured out and securely fixed inside our “box”, He moves His little finger and all our well thought out understandings get bent out of shape. Sure there are things we know to be true of Him, those fundamental doctrines of the faith that assure us of His saving grace and goodness; Yet even these things we know have yet to be fully realized in our understanding. As the Scripture says: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Cor. 2:9,10

In this vein, we know we are going to Heaven. The Spirit has revealed Heaven is going to be good; But the evidence of that truth which we already know is so far beyond our understanding we cannot put it into words; Whenever I try it only comes out in an expectant “Thank you Jesus!”

Heaven Pt. 78

“And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: And he said, LORD God of Israel, [there is] no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:” I Kings 8:22,23 KJV

As I read these verses I had to ask myself Do I truly know who I am praying to when I pray? I mean really?

When I pray am I always aware that God is a person? Are my words conversation or incantation? We humans do like our seven steps to this victory and four steps to that  achievement. It’s possible that at times I forget that prayer is relationship not formula. It’s probably one of the reasons Jesus counselled : “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do]. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Ma 6:7

When I pray do I understand that while my prayer is conversation it is conversation with a being who is unlike anyone else I know?

He is omniscient! So I can’t lie to Him and HE can’t misunderstand me.

He is omnipresent! There’s no place I can go where He cannot be reached by a simple mention of His name.

He is omnipotent! There is nothing I can ask for that is beyond His power to provide and no situation that overwhelms Him.

He is always faithful!  I never have to worry that He is going to pack it in on me.

Finally He is ever merciful! He will not treat me as my sins deserve. I have His love and His favor because I have approached Him in repentance and that little act of mine was enough for Him to cover my sins past, present and future!

Oh I want more depth in my relationship with this God!

Heaven Pt. 77

The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice….He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;He delivered me from my strong enemy, [and] from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me” 2 Sam. 22:14, 17-20

The old hymn says “He brought me out of the miry clay. He set my feet on the rock to stay. He puts a song in my soul today a song of praise Hallelujah!” (He Brought Me Out Of the Miry Clay, Henry Zelley)

It is so true! When the enemy tries to drown us the Lord will draw us out of the waters. When the enemy tries to burn us up the Lord will walk through the fire with us.

Never give up victory is on its way!

Heaven Pt. 75

Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being,  he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dense rain clouds. A great brightness shone around him, and burning coals blazed forth. 2 Sam. 22: 9-13

There are some pictures of God in the Scripture which shake me to my core. This is one of them. The idea of God rising from His throne, shaking out his robes in anger and riding on the wings of the wind to my aid is incredibly encouraging but I have to admit a little terrifying as well. You see, Where God is His glory goes before Him and there’s something about glory that really conflicts us as humans. Don’t get me wrong I desperately want His glory but in the times I have run up against even a few drops of this heavenly stuff  far from being the conquering pastor-guy I would like to envision I ended up lying on the floor unable to do anything but weep and cry “Holy!”…Like I said incredibly encouraging and a little terrifying all at once.

Have you ever had an experience like this with the Lord? Tell me about it.

Heaven Pt. 74

“In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry [did enter] into his ears. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.” 2 Sam. 22:7,8 KJV

Stand strong Christian! God has heard your cry. David had to wait 15 years for His answer but in this song he tells us the answer was worth the wait!He tells us all the pain and frustration poured out in those long days dissolved in the moment God rose to vindicate! God will rise for you like he did for David. In the day of your answer all the  questions will at last be settled!

Heaven Pt. 73

“And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that [was] under him went away.” 2 Sam. 18:9 KJV

Absalom had rebelled against his father, King David. The young man had risen up against his king in bitterness and had stolen the kingdom from David. The  Bible says, in front of all Israel he shamed the king by sleeping with the king’s concubines on the roof of the palace. Then he took to the battle field determined to deal the death-blow to David. Fixated on destroying his father’s forces Absalom instead ended up hanging from a tree by his hair…by his pride.

In all truth Absalom was hung out to dry long before he got caught in the tree by his hair. His bitterness had made him a slave to hate and defeat long before his luscious locks caused his untimely demise.

How many times have I gotten hung up between Heaven and Earth unable to move one step closer to God because of unforgiveness. I read stories like those of Absalom and wonder how different it could have been if Absalom had just turned the issue over to God. Admittedly it was a pretty serious issue (the rape of his sister by his half-brother) that caused his bitterness. Even so as he hung there suspended from the bonds of poetic justice I wonder if Absalom ever realized the price for his hatred was too high. I know the story makes me realize the price is too high for me. I will not hold a grudge large or small. I must forgive at all times so that someday I will not be held up to destruction by my pride and glory.

Have you ever been bound by bitterness? How did you escape?

Heaven Pt. 72

“So they called together all the rulers of the Philistines and said, ‘Send the ark of the god of Israel away; let it go back to its own place, or it will kill us and our people.’ For death had filled the city with panic; God’s hand was very heavy upon it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.” I Sam 5:11,12 NIV

As this part of the story goes the Philistines had captured God’s Ark of the Covenant in a battle with  the Hebrew people. God had determined that because of Israel’s sin His Ark would no longer dwell among them. But the Philistines gave Him even less reverence than the children of Abraham; So city by city God humbled the Philistine people with a plague until at last the Ark arrived at the city of Ekron as I Samuel 5:12 says:

“God’s hand was very heavy upon it. Those who did not die were afflicted with tumors, and the outcry of the city went up to heaven.”

 God is going to be glorified by humans either with  shouts of triumph or cries terror. We do not determine whether or not our lives will bring Him glory only how! With Christ’s death and resurrection all mankind is given a choice to face or escape the wrath of God. We can either accept Jesus’ death as payment for our sins or continue in disbelief and face the penalty ourselves. This is the reason Christians proclaim Christ to every nation, so that every man and woman will know they have a choice!

What have you done with your choice?