James 1:17 – Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
I love the way the Lord constantly goes out of His way to show Himself to the world. You ever wonder how long the sun has been shining. It is constant, consistent, and unrelenting. It is a great picture of the radiant light that shines continually from the Lord. The Message Bible states this verse like this, “Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle”. But just like any picture of the Lord it is imperfect at best. The sun is limited in its radiance, as James says, there are shadows of turning with the sun that are non-existent with the Lord. His rays are more uniform and encompassing than the rays of the sun. Here is how Albert Barnes describes this characteristic of the Lord.
“(The sun) rises and sets; it crosses the line, and seems to go far to the south, and sends its rays obliquely on the earth; then it ascends to the north, recrosses the line, and sends its rays obliquely on southern regions. By its revolutions it produces the changes of the seasons, and makes a constant variety on the earth in the productions of different climates. In this respect God is not indeed like the sun. With him there is no variableness, not even the appearance of turning. He is always the same, at all seasons of the year, and in all ages; there is no change in his character, his mode of being, his purposes and plans. What he was millions of ages before the worlds were made, he is now; what he is now, he will be countless millions of ages hence. We may be sure that whatever changes there may be in human affairs; whatever reverses we may undergo; whatever oceans we may cross, or whatever mountains we may climb, or in whatever worlds we may hereafter take up our abode, God is the same.”
There is a constancy with God that is called in the scripture, light. He is the light of the world. It’s in His light we see light or revelation that is the source of all our life. In Him there are no shadows or changes, He brings light and awakening to every part of our lives.
Ps.36:9 – For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.
I see the world differently than I used to. The light that revealed Christ to me has literally changed my view of everything. Things like marriage and money and football; my way of looking at all of those things has changed. I can’t even go for a drive or a walk in the neighborhood without being taken back by this glorious world of light. You see when Christ turned the light on in my life He lit up the whole world. Just think about it, when blind Bartimaeus was first awakened from his sleep he not only saw Christ, he saw his whole world differently. He had never been able to see children or waterfalls, he never saw an apple or a butterfly, he had never gazed into the sky or had seen the blazing glory of the sun; now his whole world was lit up. This is a great description of what happens to all people who are born again. Their world which was once dark is now ablaze with light. Everything is different now; church is different, the Bible is beaming with light, even our every day ordinary stuff caries a new shimmer of life. Christ has lit up our world. Here is how C.S. Lewis describes this.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
That pretty much tells the story, I now see everything else by this light that has awakened my soul. I can never look at my world in the same way that I used to, before I was feeling my way through life, now it is alive with the glory of the Lord.
That is the funny thing about being awakened from the slumber of spiritual darkness; we are blind and dysfunctional and don’t realize it. We think we are doing okay when we don’t even have a clue what real life is even like. We are stuck on survival in this physical world when the unseen world is just under our noses. Bartimaeus would never go back to those long dark days again, neither will I. He was too busy enjoying and exploring this world of light; like Bartimaeus, we live in a different world now.
Rev.22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
The fact that humans get thirsty proves there must be something somewhere that will quench our thirst. Thirst is basic to being human and water is the basic substance that quenches that thirst. Is it possible that there is a spiritual parallel? I believe there is. The fact that our soul gets thirsty shows that there has to be something to quench our soul thirst. You may not identify the correct substance to satisfy your thirsting but our thirst for God is basic to our human condition. To those who meet Christ there is a taste of this living water but this taste is more of a tease than a completion. The times we encounter living water in this world points to something greater, a completion or fulfillment that awaits in the life to come. The world offers only substitutes, Christ offers a drink that is a foretaste of life to come. Here is how C.S. Lewis describes it.
“What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy. As St. Augustine said, the rapture of the saved soul will “flow over” into the glorified body. In the light of our present specialized and depraved appetites, we cannot imagine this torrens voluptatis, and I warn everyone most seriously not to try. But it must be mentioned, to drive out thoughts even more misleading—thoughts that what is saved is a mere ghost, or that the risen body lives in numb insensibility. The body was made for the Lord, and these dismal fancies are wide of the mark.”
I have to admit I have been quite surprised at the abundance and power these tastes often provide for sons and daughters in this world. I can only imagine the immensity of what these moments point to. To see Christ for myself and drink at His fountain in eternity is beyond my ability to comprehend. So the conflict still goes on inside of me, I thirst and drink and I am grateful. I know what I taste now is just a drop of the ocean of love that waits in His kingdom come.
Jn.4:35 – Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
Sometimes the unthinkable happens. The planters are overtaken by the harvesters. Jesus may have had Amos’s prophesy in mind when He was describing this supernatural harvest. Amos 9:13 – “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it.” Amos was describing the harvest at the end of the age, Jesus was saying that this time had come. Here are some thoughts from Barclay on this supernatural harvest.
“For once, it is the contrast between nature and grace of which Jesus is thinking. In the ordinary harvest men sowed and waited; in Samaria things had happened with such divine suddenness that the word was sown and on the spot the harvest waited. H. V. Morton has a specially interesting suggestion about the fields white for the harvest. He himself was sitting at this very spot where Jacob’s well is. As he sat, he saw the people come out from the village and start to climb the hill. They came in little batches; and they were all wearing white robes and the white robes stood out against the ground and the sky. It may well be that just at this moment the people started to flock out to Jesus in response to the woman’s story. As they streamed out in their white robes across the fields, perhaps Jesus said: “Look at the fields! See them now! They are white to the harvest!” The white-robed crowd was the harvest which he was eager to reap for God.
Jesus went on to show that the incredible had happened. The sower and the harvester could rejoice at the same time. Here was something no man might expect. To the Jew sowing was a sad and a laborious time; it was harvest which was the time of joy.”
So maybe these are the days we are living in, the days when the reapers catch up with the planters. When that begins to happen look up because the Day of the Lord is at hand. Maranatha !!!
Ps.119:103 – How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
It hasn’t always been that way for me, I haven’t always loved the Bible. I guess you could say there was a day when I hated the Bible. I hated it because of the demands I thought it placed on me. I had no idea that it was in the Bible that I would actually find freedom from the bondage that sin and the law had placed on all of us. Now don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not saying that we can do whatever we want without ramifications. I am saying that the word of God produces a change in us that could be a self fulfilling prophesy. God’s word places a demand and then enables us to fulfill that demand and actually like it. What a deal, He places His word and His Spirit in us, the word of righteousness and the power of God to live it. Here is a glimpse from Luther’s famous intro to Romans that shows his love for God’s word. This is the intro that Wesley read that strangely warmed his heart.
“This Epistle (Romans) is really the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel. And it is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes….
Faith, however, is a divine work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God (John 1); it kills the old Adam and makes altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Ghost.”
So have you tasted this sweetness that Luther is describing? It is the sweetness of the Word of God. Like all of us, Luther didn’t always have a taste for the scriptures. That happened after he too was born again. One day he hated it, the next day he loved it. Maybe you don’t take time to read the Bible, maybe you think its boring or dry. Taste it for yourself, you may be surprised at the sweetness of its taste.
Acts 3:16 – And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
The resurrection changed just about everything. Jesus was raised from the dead for us, that’s why Paul called it firstfruits, Jesus was the prototype. One day all of us will be raised from the dead. When Jesus was raised from the dead all authority was given to Him by the Father as a man. That’s what changed everything, a human was given all authority over demons, sickness, and death. Jesus turned around and gave that authority to us. That’s what it means when we were given authority to act and pray in His name. In today’s verse Peter is used to heal a lame man in the Name of Jesus. I guess what all of us need to determine is this, have we too been given authority to minister in His Name and what would that mean. Here is how Maclaren describes it.
“The name of Christ, then, is the representation or embodiment of that which Christ is declared to be for us men, and it is that Name, the totality of what He is manifested to be, in which lies all power for healing and for strengthening. The Name, that is, the whole Christ, in His nature, His offices, His work, His Incarnation, His Life, His Death, Resurrection, Sitting at the right hand of God—it is this Christ whose Name made that man strong, and will make us strong. Brethren, let us remember that, while fragments of the Name will have fragmentary power, as the curative virtue that resides in any substance belongs to the smallest grain of it, if detached from the mass….yet in order to realize all that He can be and do, a man must take the whole Christ as He is revealed.”
So Peter made it very clear that day, that lame man was healed by the authority given to him to act in the Name of Jesus. In other words we have been given the power of attorney to act in behalf of Jesus. If that is true, it is not our resources that are important but the resources invested in the Name of Jesus.
Eph.5:18,19 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
Being drunk in the Spirit is not some new bizarre twist on Christianity forged in the halls of charismania. Spiritual intoxication is as old as communion or any other sacred part of our Christian faith. Even though this intoxication is often characterized by laughter and extreme joy it is saturated with the very holiness of the Lord. Actually it has erupted throughout church history often scandalizing segments of the body of Christ. It has often been connected to critical seasons for the church, equipping Christians for the persecution and temptations that are rampant in the world. Here is how Augustine described spiritual intoxication and drinking in his day.
“The Holy Spirit has come to abide in you; do not make him withdraw; do not exclude him from your heart in any way. He is a good guest; He found you empty and He filled you; He found you hungry and He satisfied you; He found you thirsty and He has intoxicated you. May He truly intoxicate you! The Apostle said, “Do not be drunk with wine which leads to debauchery.” Then, as if to clarify what we should be intoxicated with, he adds, “But be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart”. Doesn’t a person who rejoices in the Lord and sings to Him exuberantly seem like a person who is drunk? I like this kind of intoxication. The Spirit of God is both drink and light.”
Many have left the church in our generation because of a dissatisfaction that has developed in their souls. Churches have scrambled and morphed into a culturally acceptable model to try to keep the crowds. The changes in church hasn’t helped meet the nagging thirst that is in the dissatisfied souls of this age. The solutions are as old as the gospel itself, man is thirsting for God and nothing less will do. The solution for today’s world is the same as the one that has surfaced throughout history. Man is thirsty for living water, the water that becomes a veritable fountain in our souls.
Lk.6:19 – And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.
The healing power of Jesus reminds me of one of the last Old Testament prophecies, Mal.4:2 – “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings;”
The healing rays of His anointing are like the rays of the sun, they are everywhere and effect everyone. During His earthly ministry His anointing flowed out from Him and healed all who came to Him. Today His power hasn’t diminished, if anything it is increasing. This anointing shines out from Him like the beams of the sun touching and healing all who come in faith. Here is a powerful statement from a Catholic charismatic, Raniero Cantalamessa, on the healing power of His anointing.
“This power, which is the Holy Spirit, still now comes out of Jesus. Now that He is resurrected and is “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness”, that power comes forth from Him even more truly and more powerfully, if we can say that, than when He walked the earth. This power heals everybody. This is the decisive point we need to understand and to believe right now. We should say, as Jesus did in the synagogue at Nazareth, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled!”. The Holy Spirit does not have problems with numbers. A human doctor in front of a crowd of people with many and varied ailments would throw up his arms and say he was unable to heal everybody. But not the Holy Spirit. Just as the sun can bring light to one person or to a billion people, so too the Holy Spirit can do the same in the spiritual realm.”
Do you believe this is true? The healing power of the Holy Spirit is unlimited. He is everywhere and moving in the power of healing to all who come to Him in faith. He is literally being poured out on all mankind in these last days. Are you in need of a healing miracle? Step into His anointing. If you are having trouble receiving get into an atmosphere where His Spirit is welcomed and moving. Allow believers to pray for you. You too can experience the healing power of His anointing.
Matt.8:3 – And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
The healing power of Jesus is just as real today as it was the day the leper reached out to the Lord. Leprosy had taken away this man’s money, his family, and his hope. If something didn’t happen soon it would take his life. Maybe he had heard about the miracles of Jesus. He concluded Jesus had the power to heal, the only nagging question; would he heal him? Any fear of rejection gave way to his desperation. Sometimes desperation comes really close to faith. He bowed down in worship before the Lord, “I know you can, I’m just not sure you will heal me”. That was it, Jesus reached out his hand and his skin was cleansed. The leprosy was gone. Maybe you have questions today, “He did it for others, would He do it for me?” Why don’t you ask Him for yourself, He may just give you an answer. Here is how Spurgeon describes this scene.
“Anyone else would have been defiled by touching a leper; but the healing power in Jesus repelled pollution. He touches us by the finger of his humanity, but he is not thereby defiled. His touch proves his condescension, his sympathy, his fellowship. It was no accidental touch: “Jesus put forth his hand. ” Our Lord has come to us by his own act and effort: he was determined to come to us in all our loathsomeness and pollution. After the touch came the word: “I will. ” One has well observed that Jesus never says, “I will not.” He wills, whether ether we will or not. “Be thou clean ” was the royal word of one conscious of abundant power.
What a work, to cleanse a leper! Yet it is easy enough to our King, seeing he is divine: else unbelief would be most reasonable.
With what pleasure Jesus spake! With what joy the leper heard! With what curiosity the bystanders looked on! They had not to wait: the miracle followed the word without a moment’s delay. The cure was instantaneous.”
It’s one thing to believe miracles happened somewhere else and in some other place. The shocking good news, He is here now and His miracle power hasn’t diminished. Today He just might be reaching out His hand to you.
Eph.5:18 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,
There have been seasons of renewal all throughout church history. There are many similarities but also differences that can be observed. Two of the things that influence the way we receive and define renewal is our cultural bias as well as our theological bias. There was a powerful outpouring of the Spirit in the Roman Empire during the 3rd century after Christ. Imagine what a different world they were part of, totally different from the one we are part of today. Their view of Revival was effected by their culture just as ours is in our modern world. During the outpouring in the 1990’s I observed how theology could effect our view of Revival. I experienced the Vineyard version, the Assembly of God version, and the word of faith version; you can connect the dots. Here are two accounts of Revival from the 300’s from Cyril and Ambrose.
“They are not drunk in the way you might think. They are indeed drunk, but with the sober intoxication which kills sin and gives life to the heart and which is the opposite of physical drunkenness. Drunkenness makes a person forget what he knows; this kind, instead, brings understanding of things that were not formerly known. They are drunk insofar as they have drunk the wine of that mystical vine which affirms,“I am the vine, you are the branches”.”
“Every time you drink, you receive the remission of sins and you become intoxicated with the Spirit. It is in that sense that the Apostle said, “Do not get drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit”. He who becomes intoxicated with wine staggers, but he who becomes intoxicated with the Holy Spirit is rooted in Christ. How truly excellent is this intoxication which produces the sobriety of the soul!”
Even though there are differences in the way people respond and define outpourings of the Spirit, they are all essentially the same. Notice the similarities to what many of us have experienced. The things that stand out to me are the emphasis on joy, spiritual intoxication, the scriptures, redemption, and an emphasis on Christ Himself. People may respond differently under the anointing and have different interpretations of what it may mean; at the end of the day God has come down and refreshed our souls. Come and visit this generation Lord!