A poem for reflection-please click on the title of the poem to reveal.
When we worship Father God and Jesus we worship them in heaven. Father seated in heavenly places and the glorified, risen Son. Jesus doesn’t leave heaven to meet with us He has already done that two thousand years ago.
What God does is open heaven and allow us to enter into His home. He makes a way into His holy presence for us. He lifts us up and seats us in heavenly places alongside his Son Jesus.
18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[c] 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”[d]
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12
We come to where he is, where the he dwells. He allows the veil between earth and heaven to grow so thin mankind can peep in. God makes the divide between heaven and earth Velcro thin. When Jesus died we see the dramatic rendering of the veil that divided the two dimensions of earth and heaven. The veil was violently ripped open and God left a light velcro fastening attaching the two sides of the veil together to stop it flapping in the rushing wind of the Spirit going back and forth. If you push through in worship it isn’t long before you boldly enter His throne room.
Why then do we not see clearly into the heavenly places? Why does it seem so dim? Could it be the same effect as driving through a long dark tunnel? Looking into the dark for so long our eyes cannot cope with the bright light on coming out of a tunnel. So might is be with heaven after looking at the world for so long in darkness our eyes are blinded by the glory after heaven and we see very little? So what is the answer? Become accustomed to gazing on the Glory of God. Make your time in the heavens so common place your eyes become able to see angels, beauty and the vision before you. Then our faces will soak up and reflect the glory we see – just like Moses’.
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit Ephesians 5:18 (NLT)
Be filled with the Holy Spirit. What does that mean? It means we are not filled with us.
Filled to the full = fulfilled. If we are ever fulfilled with ourselves, what we do, with what we have achieved how can we rely on God? There is nothing inside us with any capacity to host the Holy Spirit
Why would we ever rely on God if we have enough resources for our lives? Why and wait for Gods presence if we can rely on our own judgement and wisdom?
Today: Are you filled with you? Be filled with the Holy Spirit
The question that raises in my head is can we position ourselves for an encounter with God? Are there things we can do so we can put ourselves in the ways of encounter. I guess it would be like walking repeatedly around Hollywood to put yourself in a place more likely to bump into a film star or director.
In the bible there seems to be quite random encounters with God. Many are to do with God choosing to reveal His plan and purpose to mankind. God can do what he likes. He gives us what we don’t deserve and can meet us in power just where we are. We can encounter Him after following no principles just because He loves us. But we are asked, however, to boldly seek His face so we must consider what are the ways we can seek a face to face encounter. The following are just principles that I am pondering.
Being prepared and expectant – There is something deliberate and steadfast about longing for God’s face. It is for those who have set aside their hearts ready for it and who, having a right view of God’s desire for relationship with us, know He is ready to come. There needs to be an expectation that heaven is only a breath away.
Keeping our hearts humble – This would include keeping our hearts right with God, pure and malleable. God opposes the proud and will not make his home with them.
Leaning in in intimacy – John the disciple was the disciple who felt loved by God. He positioned himself next to Jesus, leaned in and put his head on Jesus’ chest. This is the best place to encounter God. Those who want to see His face can lean in toward God and all He is and place themselves in a place near Jesus. It is the desire to share affection with Him.
Waiting on God – those who encountered often were sat with time looking towards heaven. We find David waiting for God again and again. We know waiting on God renews our strength but it also places us ready for an encounter with Him. If we say busy and distracted like Martha we could miss Jesus’ smile our face. If we sit quietly at Jesus’ feet and become familiar with the place of receiving we will be ready for his smile.
Paying the cost – Many of the encounters with God or heaven (angels) came with new revelation and purpose. Moses, Gideon, Abraham, Joshua, Mary etc had a challenge set before them. Sometimes we think that God’s call to ‘be’ means doing less or nothing, I feel it means being and doing all that is you and from a place of fullness and peace. God will come to those who He knows will say yes.
Having the character that can hold heaven – God will not blow us out of the water by appearing in his fullness and power because that will damage us. He protected Moses from the full force of His glory. Neither will he cast his pearls before swine. He can only give as much as our character can take. The deeper and greater the character the greater capacity to hold heaven within us.
Being where he is – we are called to follow him, to walk where He is. We cannot choose the time, the place or the situation. We meet Him on His turf, on his conditions where he is. He has already come to earth to meet us now we follow Him to the heavenly places to meet Him in His fullness.
Being in unity with those who are hungry – there is something so special about being united with the church in worship. His presence is far more tangible when the body is together. It is important we learn to worship together and not just as separate individuals with separate stories standing next to each other. He loves us for who we are but He is not coming back for you as an individual, but His bride made ready.
‘God could trust Moses with this level of revelation because his heart had been tested. In His mercy, God gives us the level of revelation that our character is prepared to handle. At the same time, He continues to reveals himself in order to expose our character and invite us to know him more.’ Bill Johnson Face to Face with God p88
We are all loved completely. He presences himself in all of us by his Holy Spirit in His fullness (for those born again). Many of us experience His manifest presence in times of worship but it clear that some people experience a greater revelation of God’s presence than others. John saw into the heavens and found himself standing in the very throne room of God. The whole of the book of Revelations is about what he saw. John witnessed so much it would make your eyes pop out ; angels, beasts, a lamb, things with many heads, a scroll, a dragon, trumpets and worship. Just imagine what it would be like seeing that kind of revelation!
God is calling us higher, to see more and the only person who can stop you seeing as much of God as you like is you. With each revelation there comes responsibility. It takes character to carry this responsibility. With each powerful encounter God has to make sure our spirits can take it. Our hearts and character must be ready.
It says in the bible that we can grieve the Holy Spirit. If we want God to manifest His presence to us we need to be sure that we do not hinder a full outpouring by grieving the Spirit. He is sensitive to rebellion, bitterness, doubt etc. Like a dove He will not land in fullness where He feels aggrieved. Let us check our hearts for habitual sin, proud hearts, bitterness and unforgiveness. Let us walk with our hearts right with God and expect a full outpouring of His presence.