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Saturday, August 20, 2016

8/20/2016   The Pride of Life

I've been reading "Men of Integrity" for a while,now.  It's a magazine of daily readings designed to help men get on the right track with God drawing from information from many authors.  Sometimes I don't read it every day, but when I pick it back up I catch up with my reading.  Fortunately it is short reading - two to three paragraphs including a 'key verse' (for reference) and the associated verses that go along with for it each day.

This AM as I was just getting started with my usual time with Father, He said "read it (Men of Integrity).  I had missed three days so I did (read it).  The title of today's (8-17-2016) passage was "Worship Conquers Pride".  Coupled with Monday's (8-16-) reading "Humbled by Greatness I said to myself "Whoa!", and Father said that's what I want to talk about for this entry.  I quickly defended myself with "Father, You'e just talking to me - and not about me -  right?"  He didn't answer me.

 In Monday's writing, Author Stephen Miller reflects on his high school basketball team in Texas a few years back.  He said that they were blowing all the other teams away and became High school champs that year.  Then their coach brought in the players from the Dallas Cowboys (yes, the football team) for a benefit game and this championship high school basketball team was totally smoked by a bunch of professional, get 'em as you can, football players. Talk about getting things into perspective (football player over basketball players)!

Today (8/17) as I'm writing this, Stephen shares how as we focus on worshipping Jesus Christ, our own lives quickly come into perspective.  Stephen's reference verse is Revelation chapter one and the final words of verse sixteen "and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength."  This, of course, is when the apostle John, the beloved, encounters Jesus and describes what he saw (Rev. 1:1-17) and is the foundation for the rest of the book.

John tells us that he was 'in the spirit' when he heard a voice which sounded like many trumpets and Jesus tells him what He wants John to do.  I'd like to remind all of us verses 12 through 18:  I turned o see who was taking to me and I turned and saw seven golden candlesticks.  In the midst of these candlesticks was like the Son of man wearing a garment down to His feet with a golden girdle about HIm.  The hairs of His head were white like wool and white as snow.  His eyes were like the flame of a fire.  His feet were like fine brass, burned in a furnace and His voice sounded like many waters.  He held seven stars in His right hand and a two-edged sword came out of His mouth and His countenance (His face) was like the sun shining in its strength.  I fell at His feet as if I were dead and He laid His hand upon me and said "Fear not, I am the first and the last.  I am He who lives and was dead and behold, I am alive for evermore.  Amen, and I have the keys of hell and death."  (how's that for an intro?)

I can imagine how this high school basketball team felt having confronted this professional football team.  Stephen relates how his whole team was totally awestruck in the presence of the pro athletes, many household names around the nation.  I can imagine how much they could relate to John, also totally awestruck in the presence of our Lord and Savior.!  The basketball team pressed for autographs and whatever else they could get from he pros and probably ran home to tell everyone they ACTUALLY met and played against them.

Somehow, I don't think John begged Jesus' autograph, but he has shared, with all of us, a record of that event.  He was so overcome by the presence of Jesus, as he tells us, he dropped like a deadman to the ground at His feet.  I can relate to this, somewhat.  When Father shares things with me, I don't feel any different while He's sharing, but once He has stopped and I try to get up ... just call me spaghetti legs.  I feel the Holy Ghost all over me, my strength is sapped.  My physical strength is literally drawn from my body.  I have a most difficult time standing up and at times I can do nothing more than literally sit there for a while before I am able to stand up and even then walking can be a formidable task. I suppose though that this is nothing compared to what John felt (in the natural).

The phrase "fear not" is used 55 times in the Old Testament and 16 times in the New Testament and most of those times it is God reassuring us not to be afraid of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  Point is that when God/Jesus appears before us, in the Spirit or otherwise, we are seriously impacted.  We are overcome by His presence, whether it be actual fear because we are afraid of what we are experiencing or because we are so totally humbled and awestruck we are driven to our knees.

Here, we relate four accounts of when man meets God and their reaction, Moses, Daniel, Saul and of course John when the Lord says "fear not".

When Moses meets God for the first time in Exodus chapter three (Exod. 3:5-6), God tells him to take off his shoes for he is standing on holy ground so Moses hides his face for he was afraid to look upon God.  The Jews knew that one didn't look upon God and live.  But he also knew that he was encountering someone a whole lot greater than himself.

Daniel encounters God in Daniel 10:5-12.  Daniel had just received a vision from God pertaining to the "end times."  He was fasting, praying and had anointed himself when a man dressed in linen and whose loins were girded with the finest gold stood before him.  His body was like beryl (like looking into a prism, many facets like a diamond), his face was like lightening, his eyes were two fiery lamps, His arms and feet were like polished brass and His voice, like the voice of a great crowd.  There were people around Daniel who were so shaken they ran and hid.  Daniel says that his strength left him, his good qualities became nothing and he hid his face towards the ground when the 'man' spoke.  The 'man' touched him and spoke soothingly to Daniel and Daniel stood up, trembling and the 'man' says "fear not".

These two Old Testament passages give a clue what happens when we are in the presence of the Lord.  Moses finds himself on holy ground and is afraid to look upon the Lord.  In Daniel, the 'man' was at least an angel of the Lord if not Jesus, HImself.  In verse sixteen Daniel describes Him as one like the Sons of man.

Saul's encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9) a bright light shined about Saul and he fell to the ground as he was astonished and trembling.  and those who were with Saul stood speechless for they heard the voice but saw no one.  Oh, yeah!  And Saul was blinded for three days from this encounter.

And of course, John's encounter in Revelations (1:1-17).  Something happens when we are in the presence of God Almighty.  We ARE humbled greatly.  Moses, Daniel, Saul (Paul) and John all experienced something AWESOME, whether they were 'awake' or in the 'Spirit'.  We are humbled in the presence of God, the Father or Jesus, the Son because their presence, their magnitude is just so much greater than we.

When we worship Father, we express our acceptance and understanding of that greatness and magnitude of His power.  We come to understand exactly who He is, our perspective to Him and our relationship with Him and THEN we can come before Him and worship Him as we should.

The beginning of the bible and the end describe God's parameters - so to speak.  The first four words in the bible, in Genesis 1:1 read "In the beginning God ...".  Genesis 1:2 begins "and the earth was without form and was void ..." Colossians 1:16 tells us "... for by Him all things were created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities or powers, all things were created by HIm and for Him (in reference to Jesus, see vs 7 & 13) and verse 17 continues "He is before all things and without Him nothing consists (stands, exists).  Revelation 1:11, one like the Son of man spoke (vs13) and said "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last ..."  And, finally, Colossians 2:9 says "For in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead, bodily (Him, of course is Jesus [2:6])

Our Lord, God, is one God and nothing exists that He hasn't created.  He says "I am Alpha", the beginning, first, nothing before Him and "Omega", the end, the last nothing after Him.  All things exist because He created them, anything we can imagine - and then some.

This alone should be reason enough to worship Him, and Him alone!  When Father tells Moses "I AM" (Exod. 3:14) He means "I AM -everything we need and everything we should desire.  There is nothing that we could truly want outside of Him.  He is 'Jehova Jireh', our provider - of everything that we need (Gen. 22:12-14).  We praise Him and worship Him for all that He is.  It is easy to acknowledge Him 'intellectually', but remember, the devil knows who God is, also.  And he knows better than we do.  Soooo, when we acknowledge God for who He is, we must remember John 4:23-24, "The time is coming and is even now when true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth for the Father seeks such to worship Him.  God is Spirit and they that worship HIm must worship Him in Spirit and in truth."  That is from our heart, with all our heart.

We just said God is Jehova Jireh, our provider, how has he provided for us?  Consider when God delivered Israel from the hand of the Egyptians (Exod.14 and chapter 15) where the Moses and the children of Israel sang a song to God recounting the victory.  Throughout the Old Testament when God delivered Israel out of the hand of their enemy, they built an altar and sang praises to God recounting His wonderful work of salvation.

Paul and a ship load of people were saved from the tempest called Euroclydon (Acts 27:13-44) off the island, Melita.  Think about what Father has done for us - great or small.  When I was younger it seemed as though I was always robbing Peter to pay Paul bust since retirement and living on a fixed income and I can speak for myself , my needs have always been met.  I thank and praise God for that, always.  A sister in Christ and I were talking recently sharing how Father has 'saved' us from dangerous situations and some of those which could  have had deadly outcomes.  And yes, we gave God the glory for delivering us in those situations.  How often do we stop and reminisce how Father has delivered us from situations, and giving Him the praise and glory?  Even when we have already thanked Him for victory, we can be like the children of Israel and give Him praise and glory, anytime for those victories.  When we offer up those praises, it strengthen us for what may yet lie ahead - because we remember what He has already done and God doesn't operate on a 'one to a customer only' basis (PTL!).

Coming to Him with the right attitude makes a huge difference with Father.   The bible tells us that not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" shall enter into the kingdom  of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father (Matt. 7:21-23).  Many will say "Lord, Lord, haven't we prophesied in Your name?  In Your name haven't we cast out devils?  And haven't we done wonderful works in Your name?  And Jesus will profess to them "I never knew you.  Depart from me you who work iniquity."  Jesus was saying that even though they did right things, they did them for the wrong reasons,. with a wrong heart.  Perhaps for man's praise, perhaps to get rich, nonetheless it was to build themselves up.

When we praise and worship Father/Jesus we should remember Psalms 150.  With every thing at our disposal and with all our energy we should magnify the Lord.

Psalms 95 tells us to come before God with an open and pure heart.  Psalms 96 says that we should be bold in sharing our faith with those around us, recite the qualities of God to ourselves and those around us.  To be joyful.

Sharing God with those around us is worshipping Him as Paul did on Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34) by explaining to the Greeks who this "unknown" God is and with those who don't know Him.

We should be like the 24 elders (Rev. 4:10-11) casting their crowns and falling down before Him who lives forever and ever praising Him for His worthiness.

We should be like the angel who proclaimed with a loud voice "Fear (give utmost respect) God, give Him glory for the hour of His judgment is come.  Worship Him who has made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the fountains of water." (Rev.14:7)

We should praise God for His mighty works and His just and true ways, for He is King of the saints (Rev. 15:3)

A right attitude means seeking God's doctrines and not being clouded by the doctrines of man (Col.2:16-23).

For we are risen with Christ, who sits at the right hand of God.  Set our affections on things above and not of the earth for we are dead to the flesh and our lives are hid in Christ (Col. 2:1-4)

We need to seek the kingdom of God first (Matt. 6:33) and do that which edifies and builds up those around us (Ephesians 4:12).

And we need to pray without ceasing (1Thess. 5:17) and no, this doesn't mean  being on our knees 24/7 (being in that kind of prayer, what good would we be?) but it does mean being in a prayerful attitude in all that we do that is seeking His will in what we do and say and not being afraid or  hesitating to ask His direction when the situation calls for it.

All this being considered, when we have the baptism of the Holy Ghost, He draws us even closer to the Father because He intercedes for us with groanings which cannot be uttered because we don't always know how to pray (Romans 8:26) and when we pray in the Spirit, He edifies us (1 Corinth. 14:4).

All these things help build a right attitude when we worship Father, but don't limit yourselves to these passages, there are many more ways in which we can approach Father and worship Him.  We need to acknowledge Father for who He is, what He has done (for us) and to lift Him up before men. We can demonstrate our willingness to walk in His love be letting that love not only flow into us, but through us and out to those around us. All of this helps us to keep a proper perspective in our relationship with Father so we can be in a 'worshipful' attitude continually.  And when we pray in the Spirit (our spiritual prayer language, tongues) we find that our relationship strengthens as we draw closer to Father through Jesus Christ our Lord because the Holy Ghost is alive and well in our hearts.

As we humble ourselves before Him, we discover that we can praise and worship Him in proper respect and true adoration and gain that closer relationship by praying spirit to Spirit, eliminating unnecessary interference.


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