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Archive for the ‘God’s love’ Category

I hope you are well and that you will be encouraged and blessed this morning!

I had quite a vivid dream last night…

silhouette image of person praying

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

At one point in my dream, I found myself in a large room with many other believers. I had the distinct impression that we were gathered together due to the prevailing challenging circumstances. We were all praying in the Spirit. There was some passion and urgency in our prayers, I guess it was proportional to the amount of pressure we were all under (oh, the wisdom of pressure that can, if we choose, push us into the Father’s heart).

I remember I had this song bubble up in my heart and out of my mouth…

Praise Him, He is here!
Praise Him, He is here!
Praise Him, He is here!
Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!

It was at this point that I woke up.

Then I started bumbling around with my smartphone, pressing wrong buttons and waking up my wife (always not a good thing). I was trying to write down the above  simple song that not only praises Jesus but acknowledges His presence. I knew I wouldn’t remember it in the morning. I finally succeeded.

It took me a while to go back to sleep but as I pondered and sang this song (in my head) I remembered the scripture where Jesus has a conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well.[Luke 4:1-26] In particular, Jesus, at one point says to the woman (verse 22)

…”You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know”…

As this woman found out, an encounter with Jesus radically transforms our praise and worship. We begin to praise and worship what we know, or rather, who we know, instead of who or what we don’t know. We go from worshiping in ignorance to worshiping in truth. What a great revelation and freedom this is!

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (not where but who) (not ignorance but truth):
…21 “Believe Me, woman,” Jesus replied, “a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him.…

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Thoughts about ‘Praise’:

(Inspired by a message given by Chrishan Jeyaratnam(Hillsong Church State Leader – Western Australia/Bali) entitled ‘The Leper King’ – Sunday 26/07/20)

Chrishan spoke about the story in the Bible of the 10 lepers and how 10 were healed but only one came back to praise and thank Jesus. Luke 17:11-19

I want to particularly focus on a quote Chrishan gave from C.S.Lewis which greatly spoke to me. This quote was originally taken from C.S.Lewis’ book ‘Reflections on the Psalms’ [P93-97] but is also reproduced here in a devotion from the C.S.Lewis Institute. Here is the C.S.Lewis quote…

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed […] The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. But we shall then know that these are the same thing. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.” – C.S.Lewis

There is a revelation moment here for me. There is something deeper here to be grasped. C.S.Lewis is able to form into words something quite profound about praise.

“Praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment” – praise is the completed work of enjoying God. It’s the end product of knowing Him!

“Praise is the appointed consummation” – what a marvelous way to describe praise! God isn’t demanding us bow and praise Him for some kind of vane reason – no! – God is not like that! – no, no – praise expresses the completed (and ongoing) revelation of enjoying Him and “we delight to praise what we enjoy”. 🙂

“In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him” – AMEN!

 

 

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And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [afternoon breeze] of the day, so the man and his wife hid and kept themselves hidden from the presence [face] of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” [Gen3:8 AMP]

What Does God Sound Like?

I often wonder what would it sound like to hear God walking in the garden…would there be a mighty roar of wind?…would there be a gentle rustling of leaves?…would there be the sound of God’s footsteps?…or perhaps ‘the sound of the Lord’ relates to a sixth sense, a ‘spirit to Spirit’ sense that Adam and Eve were aware that the Lord was in the garden. Indeed, God did create them in His image [Gen 1:26-27] – which would include a spirit, as well as the soul and body.

God Confronts Adam and Eve

And the mystery of God’s presence being in the garden (more than in any other place) really points to God having a form which, for me, points to Jesus. So my long bow with this verse is that from time to time, or probably daily (knowing the love and character of God), Jesus would walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening (as He also did with His disciples when He was here on earth). You know, I believe sometimes we can get caught up in the harshness of the Old Testament and we can really miss this altogether – How great is the Father’s love is for His creation and how He longs and loves to fellowship with it (and how disappointed He must have been that Adam and Eve were attempting to hide from Him).

In any case (even if you do not agree with the above), Adam and Eve were familiar with the ‘sound of Lord’ and they knew He was in the garden and yet they did not go to Him as I suspect they usually would have, because of their sin. Fellowship and relationship with God was broken that day and instead of perhaps running to Him they hid from His face. This was a very sad day for humanity and for God!

But here is the Good News :-)…

Jesus came to restore everything that was lost through Adam at ‘the fall’!

(‘the fall’ = the fall of humanity through the sin of Adam and Eve)

To understand what has been restored through Jesus let us have a look at what has been lost through Adam.

Through Adam relationship and intimacy with our Heavenly Father have been lost. Our inherited sinful nature rebels against God and His Word. The penalty for our sin and rebellion is death and Hell. We are lost, we are condemned, we are without hope, we are without a purpose, we are without a future, and we are completely powerless and helpless to do anything about where we are heading. There is no way of escape and, because of God’s perfect judgement, nor do we deserve a way of escape.

Now putting the bad news aside here is the Good News :-)…

Jesus came to restore everything that was lost!

Through Jesus and His death and resurrection, our judgement and condemnation has been fully paid for through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. We are no longer lost but we are saved by God. We are no longer hopeless but now have great hope in our Saviour and we live in the purposes and calling of our Heavenly Father which He has planned for us before the beginning of time. We are no longer powerless and helpless against the schemes of the enemy but we have given given authority in the name of Jesus through his great victory over the devil at the cross. The authority that had been forfeited by Adam has been restored by Christ. The devil doesn’t even have the keys to His own jails anymore. He is rendered powerless! All he has is lies and tricks. All authority has been given to Christ and to all who are in Christ, Jesus has given His authority. So if we don’t fall into a rebellious life or we are not tricked by the devil schemes we are truly free, free indeed [John 8:36] by the finished work of Jesus on the cross!

Additional reading here Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

A Life of Abundance!

Even further, as if this was not enough, Jesus came to give us far more than we could ever hope for or imagine[Eph 3:20]! Jesus calls us not to a life of mediocrity but a life of abundance!

In John 10:10 Jesus says “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”

When I mention abundant life I am not overlooking troubles that can come our way from time to time that can place great demands on our faith and our character. In John 16:33 Jesus was aware of these and said there will be “tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]  and He said this so that in Him “we may have [perfect]peace.”

This abundant life that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10 is created by the Author and Creator of life himself. The One who gave us life is the One who can give us our best life. God knows all about us and He has made each one of us a perfect and abundant life plan for our lives – imagine a life to the max – a life overflowing in abundance! A life of perfect peace! How can this be possible?

Getting Back to the Garden

What was life like in the Garden of Eden before the Fall and how do we get back there?

Here are a few observations about the Garden of Eden before the fall. The Garden was:

  • a place created by God for Adam and Eve to live and enjoy.
  • a place where God could enjoy and commune with His creation.
  • a place for Adam and Eve to fellowship with one another and to fellowship and commune with God.
  • a place for Adam and Eve to rule and to have dominion over all of creation.
  • a place that displayed the magnificence, creativity and glory of God.

I’ve had a revelation (which I don’t mind if you accept or reject) the Garden of Eden is no longer a physical place but a Spiritual place.

If the Garden of Eden is no longer a physical place but a Spiritual place how do we get back there?

Just before Jesus ascended He said to His disciples “don’t leave Jerusalem until you are baptized, empowered and united with the Holy Spirit” [Acts 1:4-5].

The key here is a life empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit comforts us, gives us peace, teaches us, counsels us, encourages us, exhorts us, gives us wisdom, gives us Spiritual gifts to help others, helps us to worship God, convicts us of sin, gives us strength, shows us the truth, guides us, helps us to pray, produces fruit in our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, and is always with us everywhere we go.

The Garden of Eden or Utopia or Shangri-La or Paradise or any other place of contentment or peace or rest are not found in a physical place but found in a place in our heart where Jesus comes to live with us by His Spirit.

Jesus says:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” [Matt 11:28-30]

True contentment or true peace or true rest for our souls is found in Christ alone. This is not a physical place (like the Garden of Eden) but it is a Spiritual place. It is a position or posture of our heart to receive the Good News about Christ, and to receive the infilling of His Holy Spirit. Then, as God’s Word says, “our new, real life is hidden with Christ in God” [Col 3:2-3] – the safest, most peaceful, most restful and most contented place we can find!

This life is available to everyone but not everyone finds this life:

See why in Matthew 13:1-23.

Chapter 1: Life in the Garden or Getting Back to the Garden
Communication and fellowship as it should be – life in the garden.

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