Question: is the glory of God good enough for you? That may sound like a trick question; but it’s not. Of course, the question itself may gender more questions, so let’s clarify a few things. John 17:22-23The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Did you see that? Jesus gave His glory to us. Wow! We talk about giving glory to God. How can we give Him something we don’t have? There is a connection between grace and glory. Psalm 84:11For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. The Lord gives us grace and glory! His grace enables us to receive and do the things of God. Grace is a precious package filled with treasures. This passage of Scripture reveals the faithfulness of God and His desire to bless you. In fact, He wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed. Indeed, He already has!
Unfortunately, a number of believers push the Lord’s glory away from themselves. One of the ways they do that is by seeking man’s affirmation above His. Those who still carry wounds which come between them and receiving the love of God, often find themselves searching for love and affirmation elsewhere. Others seek man’s affirmation out of pride. Both are precarious places to be, because in the end, they may seek to bring glory to themselves. They struggle with envy and jealousy because they haven’t received the love of the Father, which cannot be earned. They are more concerned about man’s admiration than the Lord’s affirmation. Ultimately, many “good things” they do have ulterior motives behind them. That’s not to say they don’t want to do what’s right in God’s view, but there’s a serious struggle going on. John 5:41-44I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
Those who are “in ministry” and are stuck in this trap, often are more concerned about building their own little kingdoms than partnering with God to further His. This is why a number of churches are failing to produce fruit. They are inward focused. They do things in the Name of the Lord, but want the spotlight for themselves. If we freely received His glory, shouldn’t we freely give Him all the glory? As it was in the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, so it is today. There are hypocrites in our midst, doing things to be seen of people. They have their reward already (see Matthew 6:1-18). It is not too late for them to repent. We all need to be compassionate for them as well. After all, we’ve all been there to one degree or another.
If you’ve been struggling with envy, jealousy and the desire for man’s admiration, which are linked to the things of the world (see 1 John 2:15-17), perhaps it is time to legitimately receive the love of the Father. You never could earn it or deserve it. His love is not designed to be earned. The Cross reveals how precious you are to Him, even while you were yet a sinner (see Romans 5:8). It does not declare your shame; it declares His love for you! Because of His love, Jesus gave us glory. What could be better than that?
There are things in the lives of believers that come between them and God. Some of those things hinder them from receiving the love of the Father. In turn, it keeps them from expressing His love to others. Envy, jealousy, anger wrath, unforgiveness, bitterness and the like are things we all are exhorted to put off. Nevertheless, some hang on to those things, and then wonder why their life has no joy. Some cling to their wounds like a dear friend, and refuse to let go. They claim they cannot let go, but God’s grace enables them to do just that, which means they decided to hold on to them. Obviously, some need to learn how to surrender; even so, it comes down to a decision. The same people who complain about their life, blame God and others for their plight, even though the ball is in their court. Scripture clearly says God has given us everything we need to live godly lives (see 2 Peter 1:3-4). If they think their brokenness is godly, they need to rethink that one.
Are you such a person who is holding on to your brokenness? Do you wonder why your life has not changed for the better, even though you prayed the prayer of salvation? Until you surrender, let God deal with you and come to repentance, you will remain miserable. Murmuring against God will never change your circumstances. If you feel lonely, it may be that you’ve pushed God and people away, so you can experience more rejection. That’s right, some seek rejection to confirm their personal hypothesis: “Nobody loves me!” If you love misery, stop complaining. If you love living in the pits, you’re going to be miserable when God wipes away all of our tears, and sorrow can never be found again. Revelation 21:3-4And 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, 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.”
If you say you cannot let go, there’s a problem. Either you don’t believe God and what He said to us in His Word, or you’re calling Him a liar.
When you say you cannot let go, you’re saying His grace is insufficient for you. In essence, you’re saying you and your brokenness have more power than He does.
That’s what you declare when you tell people you cannot let go; even though, He says you can. Holding on to brokenness, whatever form it takes on, still makes it about you; and not Him. He lets you sit in the driver’s seat. If you refuse to let Him drive, don’t blame God if you drive off the edge of a cliff. Do keep in mind that while He is the most patient Person ever, your drive time will come to an end, and you will have to get out of the driver’s seat. Do yourself a favor, let Him drive, or at least act as your GPS. You don’t want to drive off the edge of the cliff, or do you? It’s rather painful.
Hebrews 4:14-16Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. If you’re struggling to let go, start here. Go to the throne of grace, and admit you cannot do it apart from Him. You will find God is merciful and He is able to bring you into His design for you. Allow Him to heal and deliver you. He will uproot those things He did not plant. If God wanted you to be sorrowful and miserable, why would He wipe every tear away? By grace, the Lord empowers us to do the impossible. That includes forgiving God, people and even ourselves. That is the next step to healing. Without it, you can never go to the next one, let alone go through the entire healing process. “But, I can’t forgive! You don’t understand what I’ve been through, and what they did to me.” Perhaps not; but, He does. In fact, Jesus understands it far better than you, which is why He is able to get you through it. It still comes down to the decision to deal with your brokenness.
Only in agreement with God will there be unity, so consider this: the reason the Body of Christ is divided is not everyone is in full agreement with Him. Until everyone agrees, we will remain fractured as a whole. As long as some continue to build their little kingdoms, their agenda will be all that matters to them. A number of them have yet to heed the warning found in Matthew 7:21-23:Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
Are works really good when their self-serving? If you are more concerned with self-fulfillment than the fulfillment of God’s will, your works may burn at the Judgment Seat of Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
To put things in perspective, Scripture says, “But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him” (1 Corinthians 8:3). That means love must be the underlying factor behind what we do. When love is absent, faith wanders from its source (see Galatians 5:6).
What do you suppose would happen if every believer came into agreement with the Father? If we make doctrine the main issue, we will never love one another as He intended. When we fight amongst ourselves over our little doctrines, we are no longer aligned with His. Even if we were to agree on everything, if we didn’t agree with Him, it would still be false doctrine. Love must thread the needle if the fabric is going to stay together. If each of us decides to let the Lord reveal His Word to us through the Holy Spirit, we will merge into the true doctrine of Christ.
We have to stop trying to impress each other with our knowledge. After all, “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies” (1 Corinthians 8:1).
Finally, consider the prayer of Jesus found in John 17: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:16-26).
Special announcement:Mark March 11th, 2017 on your calendar. We will be hosting "The Unity of the Spirit Conference" which will be held at The Annex in Harrison, Ohio (135 Harrison Ave, Harrison, Ohio 45030). The doors will open at 4:00 PM. Conference will run from 5:00 to 9:00. On March 10th, Friday night, from 7:00 to 9:00 we will have a special time of praise and worship in preparation for the conference. This includes a time of prayer and soaking.
Do you really believe the Word of God? Do you stand on what He says to you? The secret to victory over the world is found in faith. 1 John 5:4For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. The reason some haven’t experienced victory, or least in some areas of their life, is their hearts are not fully converted. That’s not to say they’re not saved; rather, they have not come into full belief or agreement with God. They have not come to a place of full repentance, which in essence, is an ongoing process. You might ask, “What do you mean by that?” Simply this: repentance means to change the way you think or to change your mind. So yes, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you ceased being a sinner by changing your mind about sin. You turned away from darkness and turned to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, so that you were able to receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (see Acts 26:15-18). However, the way you think still needs to change to conform to His way of thinking. This is known as the renewing of the mind. Romans 12:2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. The more time you spend communing with Him, the more you read the Bible and listen to His voice, the more your thinking will align with His.
One aspect of belief that is worth serious consideration is His Word for you personally. For example, the Bible clearly says God loves you. You have to take that personally, regardless of your life experiences. “He loves you” (or “us”) is not some generalization that’s been watered down to mean, “Oh, God loves everybody.” His love is not flippant; it is deep! The God of the universe seriously loves you, which means what He says to you is trustworthy. 1 John 4:10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation concerning our sins.
Psalm 56:12Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. God takes His vows seriously. He does not break them. They are binding like a legal contract which cannot be broken. His Word is praiseworthy; in fact, a sign of our belief is our praise of His Word. Psalm 56:10-11 In God, whose word I praise, In the Lord, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid . . . Part of praise is declaration. This is where the rubber meets the road. There are times circumstances contradict the reality of His promises. When your world is collapsing around you, it is time to remember what He said to you in the Bible and by word of prophecy. Zero in on it, and maintain a firm conviction. We live by faith; not by sight. Declare it out loud in the face of adversity.
Where people lose hope, which shipwrecks faith, is when they use negative circumstances against the Word of God. “Look at the mess I’m in, I thought God said He was going to bless me!” Did you forget about the trying of your faith (see James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9).
Are you now saying God is no longer good because everything has turned upside down? Maybe, just maybe, He is in the process of turning you right side up. The purpose of our faith is the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9); not having things our way.
Regardless of how one wound up in the situation he finds himself, God didn’t cause bad things to happen. He knows the ending from the beginning, and has prepared the way to your purpose.
Think about King David for a moment. The Lord had the prophet Samuel anoint him to be king over Israel (see 1 Samuel 16:1-23). Did he immediately become king after he was anointed? No. How long did he have to wait? It took approximately 15 years to get him there. That journey included Saul, with his army, chasing David all over the country in order to kill him. David spent his time running and hiding on the way to the throne. At one point, those who joined him talked about killing him as well. That did not look very promising, did it? What did David do? He encouraged himself in the Lord (see 1 Samuel 30:5). Have you ever felt afraid? Consider Psalm 56:3, When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. What’s the result of deciding to trust the Lord at such times? Just as we read in verse four: In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
Getting back to your circumstances. Things could be all hunky-dory, you could be in the pits, or somewhere in between. Regardless of where you find yourself, praise Him for His Word. Use His Word against anything negative, instead of the other way around. “I don’t care what it looks like. God said!” Declare His promises in both good times and tough times; especially, in tough times. The pits are the perfect place to praise! That’s trust and that’s an act of true worship!
Total surrender is the key to greatness. It does not matter what your abilities are, unless you are submitted to the Lord, they will never produce their highest potential, nor will you experience the heights to which He wants to take you. The reason some lack confidence is that they they’ve been relying on their own abilities, instead of God. He can reveal more clearly how your gifting is designed to work. There are some things inside people they possess that they’re unaware of because there’s a disconnect between them and the Father. When you are unaware of your purpose, you won’t look for the plans and available tools to fulfill it. It’s impossible to complete a jigsaw puzzle that has missing pieces. Even if you have them all, without a picture to see how it’s supposed to look when finished, the more difficult it will be to put together. Likewise, without a vision, it is harder to see where you’re supposed to go. It is hard to stay on course when you don’t know where you’re going. Our Father has a vision for you, and He has everything required to accomplish your purpose.
Do you feel like you’ve been drifting aimlessly through life? Those who have no sense of a purpose find it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning than those who do. Without a purpose, there’s no reason to get up. We were created to worship, and part of worship is doing what we are designed for, and doing it well. Our greatness is not dependent on our occupations, or accomplishments for that matter.
There are seasons in life when some are not doing what they’re called to do; however, they are doing what they’re supposed to be doing while they wait to fulfill their calling.
What does that mean? Simply, there is a process that we go through in order to reach our destiny. Keep Philippians 1:6 in mind when you feel like you are nowhere near it: For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. While there are things for you to do on your end, God has things He is doing to ultimately get you there. It is a partnership in one sense. Sometimes, the only thing you’re supposed to do is wait. Other times, He may give you specific instructions to follow. He may actually give you something to do while you’re waiting for the next step. Please, don’t confuse that with the proverbial “busy-work” some people do at their jobs. In God’s economy, everything serves a purpose. Regardless of whether or not something appears useful or productive, doing it as unto the Lord with excellence is an act of worship.
If you embrace the moment you’re in, and squeeze out all “the juice” it has to offer, you’ll be in a better position for the next thing.
It still comes down to faithfulness. Luke 16:10He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
Try to find the treasure in the field in which you are laboring. More often than not, gold and silver can only be found by digging. Seeking God’s face in the season you find yourself will yield much more fruit than if you go it alone. Sometimes, He will take you to uncharted territory. It can be uncomfortable to pass through unfamiliar places, but it is necessary to reach your destination. Have you ever followed a map or GPS to find a destination where you’ve never been? Did you recognize all the roads along the way? Some of you followed lines on a paper or a voice from a box or smartphone in order to navigate your way to some new location. You actually trusted it enough to drive through foreign places, and arrived at your objective. You relied on someone else’s knowledge to get there, even though he or she (or company) had limitations. God is unlimited. If you will listen to His voice and follow His directions, you’ll get where you’re supposed to be. Even if you miss a turn, He can get you back on track if you keep your heart right before Him – “Recalculating!”