Jun 14, 2017 3:54 AM
An Israeli priest named Ezekiel was thirty when one day in June he said, “The heavens were suddenly opened to me and I saw visions from God.” (Ezekiel 1:1-3 TLB)
Merriam Webster defines the word revelation as being “a surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way, and the divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something relating to human existence or the world.” When God shows up, all our meanings of the word apply.
It was Ezekiel’s first vision in the land of Babylon, and it was an awesome sight. A whirlwind swept toward him from the north, the color of amber, filled with fire and supernatural light. In the middle of this swirling cloud were angelic beings that he described as best as he could.
In reading this account I had a revelation of my own. Ezekiel 1:12 as it describes the angelic beings states, “Wherever their spirit went they went, going straight forward without turning.” It is a picture of perfect union and focused intent.
This verse points out two truths (at least) revealed from the Kingdom of God.
First, the spirit of a man leads him. Whether this spirit is the Holy Spirit or the spirit influenced by the world, it draws him forward. Psychology has long tried to answer the question, who owns the mind? Modern psychology and scientific studies are discovering that the mind follows the heart. Dr. Caroline Leaf has written much on this topic, and I recommend her books.
Second, it is God’s will that we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and that we not deviate from this path. The angelic beings were moving as one with the Spirit, not procrastinating, not distracted and not changing their focus. The word spirit is rȗach which implies wind, breath or exhalation. It is the same word used in referring to the Holy Spirit. The word went is halak from a root word meaning to walk. Wherever the Spirit walked, they walked.
All of our life is one in this type of walking relationship. We do not turn aside from our path in God when we are with unbelievers or the uncommitted. We do not compartmentalize our life into work, home, school, leisure and church. In the Kingdom all of life, all our walk, is sacred and it is to be led by the Spirit.
Pluralism separates the sacred from the common. But this was not the theology of the Hebrew culture because it was not the theology of God. Many indigenous cultures share this theology, a common root to their Creator, the idea that all levels of life, all actions are sacred. God’s perfect will involves a life lived in the light of obedience to the exhaled truth and leading of the Holy Spirit.
What does this mean for you and me in our daily lives? It means waking to the prayer, “God fill me your Holy Spirit,” every morning. It means reading the exhaled word of God, aka the Bible, and asking God to make us sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. It also requires doing— moving in obedience. If you’d like to know more about walking in the Spirit, click here and scroll down for our free download, How to Walk in the Spirit.
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Jun 6, 2017 1:31 PM
Lots of people struggle with knowing God’s will. Skeptics ponder the goodness of God if He lets so much evil happen in the world. This uncertainty causes mistakes in our thinking and doubt in our Creator.
First, if you want to know what God’s perfect will is, check out heaven. This is a place where God’s will reigns supreme. What do you find? The absence of everything we struggle with like sickness, disease, poverty, evil, mayhem, etc. When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, Jesus included this statement, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-13) Jesus wanted what He knew in heaven to be manifested on the earth. We can conclude then, what surrounded Jesus was not God’s will.
So— if God created the world and He said it was good, how did it morph into something Jesus needed to pray over and save us from? Did God screw up? Send Jesus to clean-up the mess? Hardly. But one thing He inserted into creation was a gamechanger: free will. We have the free will or choice to obey Him or not. Adam had it. Eve had it. And one wily angel, bent on rebellion knew it. It may sound like a fairy tale but that is because the fairy tales are based on this event found in Genesis chapters 1-3. All cultures contain a concept of this struggle between good and evil. The truth is Adam and Eve screwed up by trading God’s perfect creation for the lie that they would become as wise as God. Men have strived to have full knowledge of their world ever since.
It probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal to eat a piece of fruit God told you not to, but it set into motion a force that permeated all of creation. It is the law of sin and death. In fact the first human death was a murder. This then is the earth we created. God did have a back up plan and that was a covenant and that was Jesus.
Knowing God’s will for your life includes Jesus, but He will also reveal to you His choices for you on a day to day basis. Click here to find out more about Knowing the Will of God.
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Jun 2, 2017 6:14 AM
One of the best tips for writers and speakers is to know thy audience. In Luke 5:17 we read that one day when Jesus was teaching, teachers of the law and Pharisees from every town in Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem came to hear him. Jesus knew His audience and had a message just for them.
Jesus was so popular that He drew crowds wherever He went. Strange happenings followed. Miracles like the lame walking, the blind regaining their sight and lepers being healed were stirring up talk that this teacher might be the Messiah. The news concerned the religious hierarchy, and they came to see for themselves this famed miracle worker and hear what He had to say to their church members. They didn't know that He had a message especially prepared for them.
The verse states that the home in which Jesus was teaching was packed with people, inside and out, and the Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there listening to Him. When the roof was opened and a paralytic was lowered on his mat through the roof by his friends, it probably caused some excitement. But not as shocking, at least to the religious experts, as Jesus’ next words. He said, “My friend, your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5:20 CEV)
The religious professionals were offended, but too politically savvy to say so out loud. "Who does this guy think he is?" they thought. "Only God has the power to forgive sins!"
But Jesus knew their thoughts, and presented to them the message He wanted them to hear. “Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and walk? But now you will see that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth.” Jesus then said to the man, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk home.” (Luke 5:23-24)
Jesus is able to speak to us at the point of our need in a way packaged just for us. He is a personal God who is able to speak our language, speak through our culture and communicate with us despite our idiosyncrasies. He loves us and takes the time to speak to us in the way we know with the message we need to hear.
But do we listen in prideful arrogance? Does the message offend us? It takes courage to accept the truth about ourselves, and it takes humility to be taught. Some of the religious experts let His words sink into their traditions and melt their resistance to His message. Others hardened their stance. The choice was theirs. Today it is ours. Let God speak into your life this moment. It will be a message of love, forgiveness and freedom, and just like the paralytic, you will rise up with a strength you didn’t have before.
If you would like an opportunity to help others meet God in their language and through their culture, consider donating to Wiconi Living Waters Family Camp. It is a ministry that we support where Native families have the chance to hear the Gospel together in a way that ministers to them.
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