Monthly Archives: March 2017

God’s Providence and Protection

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God’s Providence and Protection

Esther 9:18 NKJV
“But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as on the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another.”

God’s name does not appear once in the book of Esther, but the hand of God, working on behalf of His people is seen throughout the entire book. God’s plan of deliverance saved the Jewish people from a plot to destroy them.

The feast of Purim is an annual reminder of God’s faithful on behalf of His people. It is celebrated on the fourteenth and fifteenth day of Adar.

We can learn many things from the story of Esther and from the feast of Purim. As a child of God, we too, are in the hand of God’s providence and protection. God intervenes on our behalf. As we look back on our life we can see where God has been working on our behalf.

Psalm 37:23 NKJV
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.”

Just like the Jews in the book of Esther, we too, have an enemy that is out to destroy us. However, God has planned a way of deliverance for us from Satan, our enemy.

I Peter 5:8 NKJV
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Preparation

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Preparation

There are 232 times that the word prepare is mentioned in the Bible (prepare to give an offering, prepare for battle, prepare to take possession, prepare your hearts, to prepare to meet with God….). The dictionary describes preparation as the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty.

Everyone is praying for something. Everyone wants revival. We know that in God’s presence miracles happen, needs are met, chains are broken and restoration takes place. Church as usual is not going to help or meet the needs of those who are dying spiritually, bound by addictions, physically sick, emotionally hurting, with feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, rejection, financially desperate, or needing God’s direction.

We must have God’s manifest presence. But are we (not the pastor, but everyone that calls them self a believer) preparing for God’s presence? Are we preparing a place for God to dwell, not visit, but dwell. We must be a carrier of God’s presence, our homes must be a dwelling place for the presence of God and so must the churches.

Examples Of Preparing A Place For God’s Presence From The Bible
1. Shunammite Woman

2 Kings 4:8-10 NKJV
“Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, ‘Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.’ And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.”

Because she had prepared a place for the presence of God, when trouble came she was able to stand. She knew the promise that she was given and when circumstance said different she was able to say, “All Is Well”.

The woman was able to carry her dead son to Elijah’s room – to the dwelling place of God’s presence. When we prepare a place for God’s presence we will be able to carry our dead promises, dead dreams, dead relations and everything the enemy has tried to kill in our lives there for God to breath life into them.

2. Esther

Esther 5:1-3 NKJV
“Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.
And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”

Esther had already established an intimate relationship with the king before the desperation arose. Some people wait till a crises arises then they begin to draw close to God. Like Esther, if we already have an intimate relationship with the King before trouble arises we will have instant, direct access to the King. Our relationship with the King will change circumstances, if we draw close to Him, instead of away from Him.

In order to go into the presence of the king, Esther was willing to risk everything. Esther prepared herself to go in before the king by putting on the things that she knew he liked (her royal robes) and the perfume that she knew would get his attention. Prior to becoming queen, Esther had spent a whole year in beauty treatments and in all likelihood the king knew her smell from all others. Esther stood in the outer court and waited until she had His undivided attention and then she was able to go into the throne room.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

In the above verses the word KNEW refers to an intimate relationship with Jesus, not a general knowledge of or a casual relationship with. What are you doing to establish an intimate relationship with the King of Kings?

We too, must prepare to go into the King’s presence. We must put on our royal robes (the robe of righteousness) and the fragrance of worship.

John 4:23-24 NKJV
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The dictionary describes spirit as the life force of person or the vital force that characterizes a human being as being alive. It also describes it as enthusiasm and full of energy. Truth is described as honesty, sincerity and loyalty. If a person wants to be a true worshipper their entire life must reflect their love, reverence and respect for God. Your life (words, thoughts, actions) must show what you believe about God.

God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is not seeking people to worship Him with their mouths or even with their hands. Worship is a matter of the heart.

Like Esther…
…. we too must prepare to go into the King’s presence. We must put on our royal robes (the robe of righteousness) and the fragrance of worship.
… once the aroma of our worship reaches the King we have His attention and may go into the throne room.
… we must capture God’s attention. When we capture His attention He will ask us what we need or desire.
… our relationship with the King can effect others.

3. The Parable Of The Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:1- 13 NKJV

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

 

In the parable of the ten virgins we see the importance of being ready for Christ’s return as well as the importance of preparation. All ten were waiting for the bridegroom to return. When they heard the cry, “The bridegroom cometh,” they were to go out to meet him. Since it would be dark, they were to use the light from their lamps to find their way to the bridegroom. After waiting for a period of time they finally heard the cry that their hearts longed for. They arose to go out to meet him, but five of them had not prepared ahead of time for this moment. As a result they could not go out with the other five (those who had prepared) and ultimately they were shut out of the bridegrooms presence.

 

4. The Man Invited To The Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1-13 NKJV

“And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

The man failed to prepare himself for the wedding feast – He had ignored the obligation that was expected of him. He was obligated, by accepting the invitation, to wear clean, spotless clothes. In many cases a wedding garment was provided for each guest, but it was up to them to put it on and keep it clean. It would have been insult to show up without a wedding garment or with stains on the wedding garment.

The king, when he saw the man, instructed his servants to cast the man out. The man’s failure to take preparations seriously cost him everything.

 

5. The Tabernacle In The Wilderness
We can look at the pattern that the tabernacle in the wilderness gives us to see that there is a pattern for experiencing the manifest presence of God, the glory of God.

* The Gate
The people had to first come through a gate.

We have to enter through a gate also and that gate is Jesus Christ. Repentance only comes through Jesus.

Luke 13:24 NKJV
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’

Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

* Brazen Altar
The brazen altar was in the outer court. Everyone was allowed in the outer court. There was a lot of work going on in the outer court. Everyone could see this part of the tabernacle. It was a place of sacrifice and a place of cleansing. The people then gave their offering to the priest to place on the brazen altar for them. It was in the outer court that the priests ministered to the people.

We must give to our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, ourselves. We must lay all our plans, hopes, dreams, and ideas on the altar. We must totally give ourselves to God. Worship and intimacy with God did not and does not take place in the outer court.

* Bronze Laver
The priest would get their hands and feet dirty just by performing their daily activities and jobs. Before the priest entered the holy place (each and every time) he would wash his hands and feet. Before the priests entered into the presence of God they hade to have clean hands and feet. The laver that the priest washed in was made out of bronze mirrors.

Exodus 30:17-21 NKJV
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
“You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it,
for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it.
When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die.
So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”

Exodus 38:8 NKJV
“He made the laver of bronze and its base of bronze, from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.”

The laver ( the mirrors and the water) represented the Word of God. We must look into the Word of God and see ourselves the way we truly are. Then we must allow the water of the Word to wash over us and to cleanse us. We must allow conviction and repentance to be a daily part (ongoing process) of our lives .

 

John 13:1-17 NKJV

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

 

After the Passover meal Jesus took a basin and began to wash the disciples feet, giving them an example to follow concerning serving and servanthood. During the conversation with Peter, Jesus makes the comment, “…“He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet…”. These words are often overlooked. Could Jesus have meant that a person who has accepted salvation (he who is bathed) still needs to keep themselves clean by the washing of the Word (wash only his feet) ?

Before we enter into the presence of God, we too, must spiritually have clean hands and feet. We too, get dirty just by performing our daily routines. Job 22:30 gives us a glimpse of why clean hands and feet are important.

Job 22:30 NKJV
“He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

* The Holy Place
The holy place was one of two parts of the tabernacle hidden in a tent. Once the priest entered the holy place he ministered to God by the light of the lampstand. The priest offered up incense to God and ate from the table of shewbread. The holy place was a place of prayer, praise, worship and communion. Pure and obedient worship took place here. The priest ministered to the Lord in the holy place. Only those who were ministering to the Lord were allowed in the holy place.

We too must minister to God by the light of the Holy Spirit. We are to offer up incense to God through our prayer, praise and worship. As we partake of communion we are eating from the table of shewbread. Pure and obedient worship took place in the holy place – the priests ministered to God in the holy place.

Luke 1:5-22 NKJV
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,
according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple.
But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.
So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.”

As Zacharias was burning incense before God and receiving communion (bread and wine), he was having an intimate relationship with God. It was during this time that God sent an angel to tell him that his wife would have a baby. God meet Zacharias’ need when Zacharias was in the holy place worshipping Him. God wants to minister to us just like He did Zacharias. God wants to meet our needs, but first, we must minister to Him.

We must prepare ourselves and minister to God, by the light of the Holy Spirit, before we can enter into the manifest presence of God. We are to offer up incense to God through our prayer, praise and worship. Just as the priest partook of the elements on the table of shewbread we do the same thing when we partake of communion.

Ezekiel 44:10-16 NKJV
“And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity.
Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them.
Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord GOD, “that they shall bear their iniquity.
And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed.
Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.
“But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD.
“They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge”

There are two different types of ministry – ministry to God and ministry to people. Worship (ministry to God) and works (ministry to people) are not the same thing. Worship is expressing great love and reverence to God. Out of the intimacy of our worship will come works. A person can work for God and not worship Him at the same time. People can work for God with sin in their life. People can even work for God and not love Him.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
“ Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

One day there will be people standing before God who have done many wonderful works for Him, but who did not have an intimate relationship with Him. They did not know Him and He did not know them.

Luke 10:38-42 NKJV
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Ministry to people (works) and ministry to God (worship) are both important, both are needed. However, worship is described as the good part.

* The Holy Of Holies
The holy of holies was the second part of the tabernacle that was hidden by a tent. It was there the very presence of God, the shekinah glory of God, came to dwell.

Shekinah, Shechinah, or Schechinah, is the English transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning “dwelling” or “settling” and denotes the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God.

Once a year the high priest went into this part of the tabernacle and God communicated with him. When the priest went in to God‘s presence, it had to be the way that God had instructed them.

Ezekiel 44:17-18 NKJV
“And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they put on linen garments, no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.”

The priest could not enter into the presence of God any way he liked. Only after the priest had prepared himself and ministered to the Lord would he then go into the holy of holies where the manifest presence of God was.

There was a certain way to enter then and now. We too, must prepare ourselves and minister to God before we can enter into the manifest presence of God.
We prepare to enter the presence of God by…
(GATE) entering through the gate which is salvation through Jesus Christ
(BRAZEN OFFERING) totally giving ourselves to God.
(BRONZE LAVER) allowing the Word of God to wash us and change us.
(HOLY PLACE) offering pure and obedient worship unto God.

A few examples of the presence of God, the shekinah glory of God
1. Moses and the burning bush

Exodus 3:1-6 NKJV
“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.”

2. The pillar of fire and a cloud
The Lord appeared in a cloudy pillar in the day and a fiery pillar by night:

Exodus 13:20-22 NKJV
“So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness.
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”

3. God spoke to Moses out of the pillar of cloud

Exodus 33:7-11 NKJV
“Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.
So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle.
And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.
All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.
So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.”

4. God’s glory passes by Moses

Exodus 33:18-23 NKJV
“And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.
So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.
Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

5. The ark of the covenant was brought to Jerusalem

1 Kings 8:1-11 NKJV
“Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the City of David, which is Zion. Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month. So all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. Then they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up. Also King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen that could not be counted or numbered for multitude. Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles. The poles extended so that the ends of the poles could be seen from the holy place, in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside. And they are there to this day. Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.”

6. The glory of God shone around the shepherds

Luke 2:8- 12 NKJV
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

Preparing Our Homes To Be A Habitat For God’s Presence
Each one of us should ask ourselves, “Is there life or death in my home?” There are different things in our homes that can (and will) bring about a spiritual death in our homes. The home is the heart of the family. Ultimately, spiritual death in our homes means spiritual death in our church.

It is important to prepare for God’s presence. There is a difference between visitation and habitation. In the natural, we prepare our homes different if someone comes to visit as opposed to someone coming to live with us. If we do not clean up our homes, and keep them that way, the glory of God will not inhabit our church. God will not have a double standard. He expects the same standard at home as He does in His church.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’
Therefore
‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty’ ”

Job 22:30
“He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

1. Recognize The Holiness Of God.
The holiness can be described as absolute perfection, absoluteness, majesty, absence of fault or impurity. Holiness carries the meaning of set apart—sanctified, consecrated, hallowed

Holiness is not merely an attribute of God- it is at the core of all that He is and all that He and does. How you view the holiness of God will effect every aspect of your life – everything with which you are involved.

Leviticus 11:44 NKJV
“For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.”

Leviticus 19:1-2 NKJV
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”

1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

We are to reflect God’s likeness in righteousness and in love. We must have clean hands and a pure heart. Personal holiness is a work of gradual development – it is an ongoing process.

We are to see things as God’s sees them. Our homes must reflect the holiness of God. Our focus should be on our love relationship with God. When you are truly intimate and in love with someone your relationship with them will restrain you from doing things that hurt or displease them. Love restrains in a good and positive way. We don’t keep God’s commandments out of fear or a have to attitude, it is out of love.

John 14:15-24 NKJV
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

2. With The Help Of The Holy Spirit Clean Up Your House Spiritually
The week before Passover, the Jewish people cleaned their houses and all leaven (yeast, baking soda, baking powder…) was removed. When we see the word leaven in the Bible it refers to sin. The night before Passover the family would conduct a search for leaven. This was their way of teaching the children to examine their lives.

All the lights would be turned off and they would search for leaven in the house by candlelight. They used a candle, a feather, a paper bag, and a wooden spoon. If leaven was found they used the feather to brush it onto the wooden spoon and the wooden spoon was then placed in a paper bag and tied shut. The next day all the people would take their paper bags and place them in a pile, then they were all burnt.

* The candle represents Jesus, the Light of the World (the very Word of God)
* The feather represents the Holy Spirit.
* The paper bag represents the tomb.
* The wooden spoon represents the cross.
* The fire represents Hell (and the lake of fire)
* The leaven represents sin.

Today we don’t have to go through our houses and remove all the yeast, baking soda and baking powder, but we must examine our homes and our lives and remove all sin. If people were found with leaven in their homes during this time, they were considered unclean and they would be cut off from the rest of the people.

God desires for us to go through our homes and lives, with the Holy Spirit, and remove (forsake) all sin. Just like the whole house had to be searched and cleaned, our whole house must be also.

John 14:26 NKJV
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

A little leaven (a little sin) if left unrepented will grow and grow.

1 Corinthians 5:6 NKJV
“….Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

Each believer needs to go through their home (and life) with the Holy Spirit and use the Light of the World (the Word of God) to guide them. Everything that causes the Holy Spirit to grieve must be removed.

Ephesians 4:30 NKJV
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Just like Esther, we will stand before the King and what we hear will be based on: Have you clothed yourself with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and have you prepared yourself to come into His presence? When we bow before the King of Kings will you hear, “ Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter in” or will you hear “Depart from Me. I never knew you.”? Will you be allowed to stay in the presence of the King or will you be cut off from His presence?

3. Words Are Powerful
A famous quote says…
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Proverbs 18:21 NKJV
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Words contain authority ( power to influence or command) and they are binding (confine, restrain, or restrict). Luke 7:1-9 gives us an example of the authority of words.

Luke 7:1-9 NKJV
“Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

The more you say something, the more you will believe it. And the more you believe it, the more you will say it. Words are like seeds. They come out of your mouth, find a lodging place and evenly grow and produce fruit. The kind if fruit will depend on the seed.

Positive words assist, provide good (godly) advice or direction, are useful, make things easier or better, can prevent something negative from happening. Positive words bring life.

Negative words injure people, cause people to experience pain, upset, cause negative effects, cause a person to experience difficulties or setbacks. Negative words kill.

Concerning words, as believers we should…
* Read God’s Word aloud in our homes.

* Spend more time examining the kinds of things that come out of your mouth, especially in moments of crisis or irritation.

* Be careful with the words allowed in our homes – through conversations, music, television, internet …

* Protect against negative words in your homes ( from yourself, your family and visitors in your home.)

* Praise and worship God aloud in our homes

* Pray aloud in our homes

* Set the tone in our homes using worship music

You Are A Carrier Of God’s Presence
Not only should we prepare our homes to be a habitat for the presence of God, but there will be places that we go where we must have God’s presence – other people’s lives depend on it.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NKJV
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

We must be a carrier for God’s presence – Other people can sense when you carry God’s presence. People could sense that Peter was a carrier of God’s presence and it caused the people to seek him out for help.

Acts 5:12-16 NKJV
“And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

Being a carrier of the presence of God requires (or flows through)…
… preparation. Part of being dedicated (committed to a cause or person) is being prepared. Just as the priests
would take time to consecrate and prepare themselves for God’s presence, so must we.
… a life of continual sanctification. Sanctification is an ongoing process.
…that we walk in purity, holiness and humility (see yourself as God does). Purity, holiness and humility are a must if we
want to be a carrier of God’s presence in such a way that it touches and changes the world around us.
… a contrite heart.
… a lifestyle of worship.

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Review

1. Everyone has a different view about what the glory of God and revival mean.

How would you define the glory of God?

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How would you define revival?

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2. What is the difference between visitation and habitation?

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3. How are you preparing for God’s manifest presence

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4. On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the spiritual condition of your home?

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5. List some things that you are praying for and believing for God to do.

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6. What dead promises, dead dreams, or dead relations do you need God to breath new life into?

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7. What has the enemy tried to kill in your personal life?

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8. What has the enemy tried to kill in your family?

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9. What has the enemy tried to kill in your church?

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10. Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

In the above verses the word KNEW refers to an intimate relationship with Jesus, not a general knowledge of or a casual relationship with. What are you doing to establish an intimate relationship with the King of Kings?

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11. How has your relationship with God changed negative circumstances in your life?

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12. God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is not seeking people to worship Him with their mouths or even with their hands. Worship is a matter of the heart. What does worship in spirit and truth mean to you?

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13. The people had to first come through a gate. What is our gate to the presence of God?

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14. What plans, hopes, dreams, and ideas have you laid on the altar?

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15. It has been said that the beginning of revival is the judgment of sin and bad habits. What sin or bad habits ( or attitudes) do you need to lay on the altar?

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16. How are you allowing the Word of God to wash you and change you?

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17. How does Job 22:30 relate to your spiritual cleanliness.

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18. Who was allowed in the holy place?

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19. God wants to minister to us just like He did Zacharias. God wants to meet our needs, but first, we must minister to Him. How can you personally minister to God?

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20. Only ministry to God took place in the holy place. What is the difference between ministry to God and ministry to people?

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21. We prepare to enter the presence of God by…

(GATE) entering through the gate which is salvation through ________________.

(BRAZEN OFFERING) totally giving ourselves to __________.

(BRONZE LAVER) allowing the Word of God to wash us and change us.

(HOLY PLACE) offering pure and obedient _______________ unto God.

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22. How would you describe God’s holiness?

 

23. What instructions does God give us in 1 Peter 1:13-16, Leviticus 11:44 and in Leviticus 19:1-2 ?

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24. What does be holy in your conduct mean?

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25. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of an importance do you place on spiritually cleaning your house with the help of the Holy Spirit?

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26. Just like Esther, we will stand before the King and what we hear will be based on have you clothed yourself with the __________________ of Jesus Christ, and have you prepared yourself to come into His presence.

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27. What does authority mean?

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28. What do positive words do?

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29. What do negative words do?

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30. Concerning words in your home, what areas do you need the Holy Spirit to help you change?

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31. God expects the same standard at home as He does in His church. What does that mean to you personally?

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32. Knowing that we are a sacred temple, how should we live?

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33. Being a temple of God, a carrier of the presence of God, is a great privilege that is accompanied by great responsibility. What are some of the responsibilities?

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34. Do you think people will sense it when you carry the presence of God?

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35. From your personal experience, give examples of where the presence of God changed a circumstance.

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The Awesomeness of God

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The Awesomeness of God

God truly is an awesome God. When we come into His presence we are filled with great wonder and reverence, because of His beauty, sublimity (excellence, grandeur, majesty),and power. There is none like God.

Exodus 3:6 NKJV
“Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Isaiah 6:5 NKJV
“So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.’ ”

Acts 9:5 NKJV
“ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ ”

God has a pleasant nature. He delights in giving pleasure to His children. Everything He does (or allows to happen) is fair and just.

Psalm 90:17 NKJV
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.”

God is superior to man in every way. He is magnificent (splendid, grand, stately, noble, impressive in beauty, brilliance, excellence). All of the universe (everything and everyone in it) is instructed to praise the wonders of God and His majesty.

Psalm 8:1 NKJV

“O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!”

God is full of power and strength. We are to submit to His authority and come under His control, and we are to praise His power, strength and ability. As we submit to God and His authority, He will fill us with His strength. Believers are to declare the power of God.

Psalm 145:10-12 NKJV
“All Your works shall praise You, O Lord,
And Your saints shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom,
And talk of Your power,
To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts,
And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.”

Even nature, speaks of God’s power. All of creation (everything that was ever created) testifies of God’s great strength, authority and control.

Romans 1:20 NKJV
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”

Go and Serve

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Go and Serve

Experiencing the glory of God will create a great desire within us to be the hands and feet of God. Our desire to serve others will be greater than ever before.

Exodus 3:10 NKJV
“ ‘Come now, therefore, and I will send you to the Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’ ”

Isaiah 6:8-9 NKJV
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying
‘Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?’
Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’
And He said, ‘Go, and tell this people…’ ”

Acts 9:6-9 NKJV
“So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord what do You want me to do?’
Then the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’
And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither are nor drank.”

Acts 9:17-20 NKJV
“And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, ’Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”

When we are available to God we can be used by God for whatever He desires and wherever He desires. We should feel compassion on those of faith, those who are lost, both the grateful and the ungrateful.

Colossians 3:23 NKJV
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”

Faithful To Your Calling

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Faithful To Your Calling

God requires His people to be faithful to what He has called them to and to use what He has given them to fulfill that calling. The last servant mentioned in the above passage did not fear his master. He was lazy. In fact, he was so lazy that he did not even bother to deposit the money with the bankers. He did not use what God had given him and in the end he lost it. He was an unprofitable servant because he failed to be faithful to the task given to him by his master.
We will either use what God has given us or God will take it away and give it to someone else who will use it. We will either be blessed or we will loose out – we will not share in the rewards or the blessings of God. The rewards and the blessings that we receive will be based on our faithfulness.
The servant wanted to take the easy way out. His mind was not on using what God had given him for his master but only on keeping what had been given to him. To often people want to take the easy way out. Their mind is not always on using their talents to increase the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 4:10 NKJV
“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Every believer has been given gifts, talents and abilities. We are all managers of what God has entrusted to unto us and we will be held accountable for using our gifts, talents and abilities. We must us our them in the best interest of God, for advancing His kingdom – for reaching the lost, for encouragement to the saints and for helping other Christians grow.

What Are You Doing With Your Gift

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What Are You Doing With Your Gift

Matthew 25:14-30 NKJV
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.
Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
But the lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.
For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ”

Some people spend a lot of time gaining knowledge, skill, and perfecting their talents, only to let it all go unused. They have a lot of input (knowledge) but not enough output (productivity). There are many excuses that we can give for not using the talents, gift and abilities that God has given us to us for His glory, but that’s all they are, excuses. There is no excuse in allowing what God has given you to go to waste or left unused. One day each of us will give an account to God for how we used the things (gifts, abilities, skill, wisdom, provisions) that He gave us.

Revealed By Fire

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Revealed By Fire

1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives to us richly all things to enjoy.”

Each of us must remember that only God can provided for all our needs. Those who are materially wealthy are commanded to recognize and honor God as the source of their wealth. The blessings that God has given these people are to be used for the advancement of His kingdom, not for self-centered living. Their blessings are to be shared with others and enjoyed by many.

1 Timothy 6:18 NKJV
“Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share”

Our obedience to God (even concerning money, blessings) builds a good foundation for the time to come (eternity).

1 Timothy 6:19 NKJV
“storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

A Christian’s works (deeds) will be evaluated in heaven.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NKJV
“…each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

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Dear Father,
Thank-you for providing for my needs. May I not trust in uncertain riches but in You, the living God, who gives to me richly all things to enjoy. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may I use what I have been given for the advancement of Your kingdom – may I be rich in good works, ready to give, and willing to share. When I stand before You let my works endure testing.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.