HEAVEN’S OPEN DOOR…

Spiritual Blog - Door

Revelation 4:1 – “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven…” NASU

While there are many paths I could take with this text I only want to pursue one and that is “Heaven’s Open Door.”  Just the other day as we were going places my wife and I were listening to some old Gospel Music and “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before” made its way into the rotation of songs and this scripture came to mind.  In the song, it says, “I can see the Father standing at the door.”  That reminded me of the parable of the Prodigal Son and how the father saw the returning wayward son at a great distance and ran to meet him.  That suggests that he was always “looking” for the return of his wayward child and possibly standing in the doorway of his house looking over the way hoping against hope that his son that was lost would return.  I can imagine our Heavenly Father looking over His creation at the doorway of Heaven and longing for us to “return to Him with a whole heart.”  At times I can almost hear the sobs of the Father and my Lord Jesus as they weep over the condition of mankind in this day that we live.

Several things come to mind when I think of a “Door Open in Heaven”.  That tells me that there is “open access” to God’s throne through prayer and how we need to take advantage of that invitation and opportunity.  It suggests that God is eagerly awaiting us to petition Him and is willing to dispatch help to us at a moment’s notice. The picture that comes to my heart’s mind is that of a loving parent watching over their children and ready to protect and nurture them if there is a need and a willingness to let them spread their wings to learn to fly.  I sense that there is a “Door Open in Heaven” and God is extending a personal invitation for us to “enter in” through the vehicle of prayer and commune with Him and receive from Him His supply.

Whatever you do as you go through this day, hold in your heart and mind that there is an “Open Door in Heaven” for you right now!  May God be with you and bless you richly!

A BETTER DAY IS COMING…

Spiritual Blog - Better

Revelation 21:1-4 – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  NASU

 

Job got it right when he declared in Job 14:1 – “Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble.” NKJV  James told us in James 4:14b – “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” NKJV  We learn quickly from Scripture and experience that Life has problems but the continual and clear promise of the Bible is A BETTER DAY IS COMING!  John declares in the passage above that very truth. 

There is coming a time when tears will no longer be a part of our lives, death will be banished, mourning, sadness, crying, and pain will be removed from our existence.  We will spend eternity in the presence of the Almighty God creator of heaven and earth and enjoy His presence, peace, and person through the endless ages.  For some, that sounds like a boring time and while I do not know what takes place in heaven I know that the one thing it will not be is BORING!  I am so confident of that I can declare it without fear of ever being proven wrong in this life or the next.

We all have, are having, or will have difficulty in life.  It is a natural part of the process of traveling from birth to death.  So when you are facing difficult times and events or circumstances that seem insurmountable and more than you can bear remember that A BETTER DAY IS COMING!  There is going to be a day when none of these things we now face will have any place.  There is coming a day when all the troubles mankind faces on this planet will be forever banished and we will enjoy the TOTALITY OF GOD’s PERFECTION.  As I write this my heart begins to become Homesick for Heaven and yet as Paul said, “I’m torn between the two, going home or staying here.”  The reason that I desire to stay is that I know that I have not yet finished my assignment and I selfishly want to spend more time on earth with my wife and family while watching my grandchildren grow up and become beautiful adults.  Yet, as I face and see others face the trials of life my heart says, “How long Lord before you call your children home and deliver us from this death?”

As you go through your day go through it with the thought in mind A BETTER DAY IS COMING!  Lift up your eyes to God and allow your heart to make the choice to rejoice!

Blessings to you as you go through your day!

SELF-EXALTATION HAS ITS OWN UNIQUE REWARD or RESULT…

Spiritual Blog - Humility

Luke 14:11- “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  NASU

 

In this passage, Jesus gave a parable to the guests as he noticed that they were picking out places of honor for themselves.  He used the occasion to bring to light the fatal flaw in that tendency and thinking.  Sadly, many today are so driven to be recognized and esteemed that they exalt themselves.  Jesus reminded His audience of this by using the scenario of the guests being invited to a wedding feast.  He warned them not to take the place of honor because someone more distinguished and recognized than they might arrive and the host would embarrass them by asking them to move down to a lesser position.  They result would be such embarrassment that they would assume the lowest position in shame.  Public humiliation and self-pity would be the by-products of this.  He suggested that when invited, go and recline at the lowest place and the host would come and ask them to move it and the result would be recognition by everyone in the room rather than embarrassment and shame.

Jesus told them in verse 11 – “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled”, and that is painful. I know I’ve tasted it.  He went on to declare that the one who humbles himself will be exalted and I’ve tasted that as well.  I like the feeling of the latter far better than the former.  We have all, at times felt more important than we are or should fell about ourselves and that is a dangerous mind-set and attitude.  I am not suggesting self-flagellation but rather humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord and allow Him to cause us to be elevated or lifted up to the place He would desire.  You are not the focus of all things nor it is required that you be the center of attention.  You do not have to lead in every situation unless leading by example demonstrating humility is the leadership that you demonstrate.  If God wants you to be the head He will cause you to be promoted to that position.  If God wants you to develop humility then He may allow you to be given a lesser position without fanfare and notice.  Since it is HIS CHURCH that is being built the position is not what is important but obedience.  It is allowing God to place the gift required for the situation in the lead spot and placing you in the mix where you can best lend to the advancement of the Kingdom.

May God be with you as you go through this day!

THE ‘IS’-NESS OF GOD….

Spiritual Blog - IS

Psalm 23 – “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.  2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your  staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD  forever.” NASU

 

I love this Psalm for many reasons and one is that it describes and depicts what I like to call the “is-ness” of God.  Consider to David begins the Psalm – The LORD IS….  He is, not maybe will be, could be, and might be HE IS! Then David launches into a powerful discourse about WHAT and WHO GOD is to him personally and to you and me individually.

Because He “IS” my shepherd “want or a sense of neediness is banished.”  Because He “IS” my shepherd I am led to the quiet refreshing waters to restore my soul, directed to the lush green pastures for the sustenance of life that I so desperately need.  Because He “IS” my shepherd I am led into and kept on the path of righteousness.  No matter what I face the “is-ness” of God protects, defends, provides, and guide me.  Because He “IS” my shepherd “fear” is dismissed because of His presence.  His power sustains and comforts me.  A banquet is prepared for me while surrounded by a host of adversaries and my head is anointed with the Holy Oil of the Spirit of God and my cup overflows so that others are blessed in my being blessed.  Because He “IS” my shepherd the goodness and mercy of God follow me; like a newborn lamb follows its mother and I have permanent residence in God’s presence.

So when I read this Psalm I read of God’s “IS”-NESS and my heart leaps for joy because I know that HE “IS” and “IS” a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother and never leaves nor forsakes His children.  HE “IS” and because HE “IS” I have hope!

May God be with you as you go through your day!

THE WAY TO THE TOP OR THE BOTTOM….

sPIRITUAL Blog - Up or Down

James 4:1-10 – “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” NASU

 

In our spiritual walk, we are either moving upward toward Godliness or downward toward wickedness.  This pathway is not a level plane but an incline and to stop is to begin to move backward so there must always be forward progress and that means involvement and action on our part.  I am not suggesting in any way that we can or should try to “earn” our salvation but I am suggesting that our faith needs our works added to it for completion of our growth and development spiritually.

James identifies the reason for conflict in the church and that is “carnality” and “self”.  He powerfully identifies the root problem in numerous areas and that enables him to identify the reason that we are not getting our prayers answered as is seen in verse three.  He further informs us that if we are friends of this world which is hostile to God we are joining in that hostility.  He pointedly tells us that Pride is destructive and divisive and a characteristic that God rejects implicitly but to the humble God extends grace.   He then makes an impassioned plea that we submit to God and in doing so resist the devil and as a result the closer we get to God the further the devil flees because He knows the Power of God and fears Him.  He calls on us to purify our hearts, cleanse our hands and stop being double-minded.  James clearly declares that if we submit ourselves to God in true humility He will exalt us.  So the way to the top or the bottom is found in this short passage.  We can continue to allow our own selfish desires to dominate or we can resign as the center of our universe and allow God to occupy that spot.  If we allow God top billing in our lives we will ascend to the Holy Hill of the Lord and be exalted.  If we continue to be the center of our universe we will descend to the bottom. The choice is truly ours.

So as you go through this day go through it with the realization that ascending or descending is your choice.  Choose to ascend by emptying yourself of self and allow God to be Number One in your heart, mind, soul, and spirit.  

God bless you abundantly as you go through this day!

THE UNSHAKABLE WORD OF GOD…

Spiritual Blog - Word

Mark 13:31 – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” NASU

In the context of this particular verse Jesus was speaking of His Second Coming and giving the disciples and future generations clues and keys to look for to identify the times.  In that context but also as a stand-alone statement He said:  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”  His Word is UNSHAKABLE and INFALLIBLE.   We trust so many things in this world and life but the only sure thing is GOD’S WORD!

When I enter my house at night I flip the switch and believe that light is going to immediately fill the room.  When I sit on a chair I believe that it is going to support my weight and allow me to sit there comfortably.  When I get in my truck I expect the engine to start and take me down the road to my destination.  When I get on an airplane I expect it to take over, become airborne, remain airborne until we reach the destination and then land safely and allow me to get off.  It is by faith that we operate in this life and if we did not have faith and confidence that those things and multitudes more were going to be realities we would be mental and emotional wrecks and completely unable to function.  Yet, too often we DO NOT TRUST the Word of God with that same expectancy.  We read the promises and consider them “hopes”, “dreams”, “aspirations” rather than FACTUAL PROMISES by God Himself.  We relegate them to some by-gone era or for someone else and that is wrong.  Jesus said that although Heaven and Earth passed away HIS WORD WOULD NOT!  It is rock solid and unshakable!

Let me encourage you to read the promises of God and take them literally not figuratively.  Read them as personal promises to you because, if you have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, they are!  We readily accept that God does not and cannot lie but we treat His promises as though they were something other than factual absolute commitments by Him to us.  If God says something He says it for a purpose not just to hear Himself speak or to make us feel warm and fuzzy at the moment of hearing it.  He says it because of His great love and if He promises He backs up that promise with His very person, nature, and character.  GOD NEVER speaks idle words!

So as you go through this day and from this day forward as you read the Word of God receive it as a Personal Promise of God to you because it is.  

May God be with you as you go through this day!

THE OPERATIVE WORD IS – “IF”…

Spiritual Blog - IF

John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  NASU

In His discourse on being the Vine and the Father the vinedresser Jesus informed those hearing that He expected His follower to “bear fruit” and if there was no “fruit bearing” that branch would be taken away.  He talked about the cleansing of the vine by pruning and told those listening that they were clean already because of His Word.  He identified that there could be no fruit except from the life of the Vine and that since we are branches and He is the vine our fruit is the result of the life that exudes from the vine.  Then in verse seven, He makes a statement that far too often is taken as a stand-alone passage but must be viewed in the context of the whole – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask WHATEVER you wish, and it will be done for you.”  (Emphasis mine).

This door to the miraculous is conditioned not only upon the context of the whole but hinges on the small word – ‘IF’.  The two facets of the “if” are abiding in Him, and His words abiding in us.  It is in light of drawing life from the Vine and producing fruit that He identifies that we are recipients of life and as living branches, we produce fruit because we are ABIDING IN HIM and His Words are ABIDING IN US.  That is the flow to us and from us. We receive of His life and as a result of that reception we produce fruit which produces seed which produces more fruit and the cycle is endless.  In that context, we can “Ask what we wish and receive answers to our prayers.”

Unfortunately, it would seem that too often we either are not abiding in Him and His words are not abiding in us to the level that He is our ALL-IN-ALL and we are living in a relatively casual, relationship rather than a totally committed life in which we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.”  In that life, we neither expect that whatever we wish or pray to come to pass nor are we in a condition of heart to attain faith to receive.  Contrarily, if we are abiding in Him and His words are abiding in us His life will prod us to the level of life that we live in expectancy and become the fulfillment of His promise that “the Works that He did we will do and greater works because He has gone to the Father.”  We will exhibit in this life the life of Jesus and through the fruit of that relationship, others will be positively impacted for the Kingdom.

The operative word is “IF”.  If we abide in Him.  If His words abide in us.  IF is the condition and the conduit through which the life that brings the faith for the miraculous.  Lord help me to change the “IF” to “I DO”. 

May God be with you as you go through your day!