The Glory of God

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Why does God need Glory?”  I used to because I would hear phrases like “for the glory of God” or “praise God” and so forth.  It sounded like God needed some glory for some reason.  This was because my understanding about glory was wrong.  I thought that glory was a lot like a compliment or praise.  I did not know that glory was inherent and radiated out from within.  It was always there but was not seen.  It’s like an uncut diamond that looks like just another rock.  The beauty of the cut diamond was always present in the uncut diamond but was not appreciated because it’s many facets were not exposed.  It’s ‘glory’ remained unknown until the diamond cutter exposed it.  So it is with God, His glory (beauty, wonder, love, power, forgiveness, etc.) is not appreciated because we only see God from one or maybe even a few perspectives.  We need to see God from His infinitely faceted perspectives.  The more we know God, the greater we perceive His glory.  It was always there but it remained hidden until it was exposed to us.

Glory is not recognition for greatness, but greatness beyond our recognition.  The glory of God always has been the same.  It doesn’t become more just because we discover another facet of it.  You do not not increase His glory when you praise Him, either.  God is not trying to gain recognition, but rather He desires us to know Him for who He is, and not some shallower concept of Him.

If it were possible to know God as He really is; we would see the entirety of His glory.  Should that happen in our natural state it would kill us.  Remember what He told Moses, Ex 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.  It is not that God didn’t want us to know Him as He is, but He wanted to preserve man so that he could be transformed in such a way that he could see God, face to face.

This transformation takes a lifetime but there are times when we draw closer than we have ever been before.  At these times we are transformed to be more than we were before.  Remember what happened to Moses after he was hidden in the cleft of the rock as God passed by. Ex 34:29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.   His face shone so bright that he had to wear a vail on his face while he talked with Aaron and the rulers of the congregation.  Ex 34:33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.  

We have to grow in our grace and knowledge of the Lord.   2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.  Furthermore, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can “experience” a right understanding of God’s will.  Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  

By the time God has finished His work on us, we will be like him in His image, likeness and dominion: (Gen 1:26)  we will be sanctified in body (a new body), soul (new mind and way of thinking) and spirit (indwelling of the Holy Spirit) (I Thess 5:23).  1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Purpose Phrases

As I study the Scriptures, I have come to notice certain statements that I term “Purpose Phrases“.  These are phrases that define the ‘why’ of a passage.   One such passage is found in I Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These Purpose Phrases often begin with the word ‘that’ and invariably reveal the answer to an oft ask question.  I couple them together with other similar passages and have found some amazing revelations.

Let me illustrate this phrase, “that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” in the above verse.   Other passages include;

  • Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
  • Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
  •  Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 
  • Colossians  1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:  
  • 1Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.  
  • 1Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  
  • Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  
  • Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless  before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,  

These do not encompass the whole of the idea but they illustrate my point.  When I was first saved I was told that we should try to be like Jesus, but then they added, of course we will never make it.  That left me thinking, then why try.  I have since learned by a careful study of the Scripture that we will make it.  God will deliver us without blame before Him in love.  I am not talking about sinless perfection in this world but of the final results of God’s work on us and how we will arrive in glory.  God is going to make good His promise to deliver us a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  We are going to make it!

 

Tending Fire

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I had the privilege of growing up in a very depressed area in Southern Missouri during the post WW II era.  I was privileged because I got to see first hand, what it was like to live without modern conveniences.  We didn’t even have a radio (battery) until I was 5 years old.  When I was 7 we got electricity.  We drew our water from a well and raised our own food.  We never had indoor plumbing until we moved to Colorado when I was 10.  These are things that most of Americans have never experienced, except for short periods of time, but it was our life style.

One of my memories is that of our one heating stove in the living room.  The fuel was wood which we cut from the stand of trees along the back of our property.  I learned about the importance of keeping the fire going at a very early age as it was our only source of heat during the winter.  Our house was not insulated so keeping the fire going was a constant need.  My chores included keeping  plenty of wood stacked on the porch for easy access, and carrying the ashes out every morning.  I learned a lot about what it takes to start and maintain a fire to keep warm.

Today’s post deals only with maintaining a fire once it is going.  The first thing that I learned was that you need a bed of coals.  This will enable the wood to catch fire as it is being added as it raises the temperature to assist in ignition.  If the wood is wet, it will dry it out.  It is a bridge between the wood and the flame.  A bed of coals begins with dry tender and then you add kindling (small pieces of wood or paper) to gets the fire going.  Because it is very dry and has a lot of surface area, it burns fast and hot which kindles the larger wood into flame.  The bed of coals is the wood that is already burning and its flame enables the larger wood to catch fire, just as the leadership in a church helps the new member to find their place of service in the fellowship.

Keeping the fire going is called “tending the fire“.  As the fire burns it needs “Stoked” from time to time.  Stoking the fire is moving the logs closer together so that they will burn better.  As a fire burns, the space between the logs gets larger and the benefit of one log helping another burn becomes less so that the fire will die down and produce less heat.  By stoking the fire you move the logs closer together and the fire will burn hotter.  Because change is constant, there will always be a need for stoking the fellowship to enhance it’s effectiveness.  We used to do this with periodic revival meetings, mission conferences and other such efforts but in today’s society we have moved further apart and hardly even know the other members. Unless this is corrected, the fire will die out and the church will be left cold. The fire needs stoked more now than it ever did before and as we approach the coming of the Lord it will become even more important.

The story is told about a church who had a member who had begun to attend less and less so the pastor dropped by one day to visit him.  The two of them sat by the fire and never spoke but after a while the pastor got up and went to the fire and pulled one of the sticks of wood out of the fire but let it set on the edge of the opening, by itself.  Pretty soon the flame that was going so well when it was first removed, began to lessen until it finally died out completely.  After a few minutes the pastor got up to leave without ever saying anything.  As he got to the door, the man said to the pastor, I got the message and I will be in church this Sunday.  People who know how to tend fire, know how to be the live coal to rekindle the flame in others.

His Keeping

Having spent many years in the construction industry, I have faced many very dangerous situations.  One thing I learned is the importance of safety equipment and procedures.  There is one piece of safety equipment that I am particularly fond of and that is the safety harness.  It is a piece of equipment that will keep you from falling even if you loose your grip or even consciousness.  It has one job and that is to restrain you from falling.  The reason that it is so effective is that it is strapped onto you and holds you within it’s confines.  You are dependent on it and it is not dependent on you.

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

So many times I hear people ask the question, “How do I keep from falling away from God?”  A similar question is, “How do I keep from sinning?”  Another is, “How do I keep on the straight and narrow?”  These questions have some thing in common that reveal the real problem.  First, they all begin with the phrase, “How do I …?”  We humans like to be in control and think that our success is dependent upon us.  Though there are some things that we are responsible for,  our keeping is not one of them.  Your effort to deliver yourself is a waste of time.  Your holding on to God is as futile as willing the sun to not rise in the morning.  Try as you may, you just cannot do it.  It is a humbling thing to realize that you are totally dependent upon God to deliver you and to keep you from falling.  It is His hold on you and not your hold on Him that is certain.  Your grip can be broken, but not His.  You are as secure as God, Himself is secure.

But not only is His grip secure, but He is the one who will present you to the Father, faultless.   Did you get that?  He will not only get you there but will deliver you there without a fault.  If you need cleaning up, His blood washes as white as snow;  if you owe debts, He paid it all;  if you have bad language or bad thoughts, He gives you a new heart and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  You are His workmanship and God don’t make no junk.

It is not a burden to the Lord to make such an investment in you.  Our verse testifies that He does it with exceeding joy.     Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.  Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.  He doesn’t hold back either.  He desires to give you the whole kingdom.   Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  All good and perfect gifts come from Him.  He loves doing for you because He loves you and values you above all of creation.

The keeping is His part, the believing and trusting is your part.  Just do your part.

How Can I Know God?

Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

When Moses had the encounter with God at the burning bush, God sent him to deliver the Hebrews out of slavery and into the promised land.  Moses asked God, whom shall I say sent me?  God’s answer is found in Exodus 3:14 (above).  That sounds like a strange name, but it isn’t a name at all, it is an attribute of God.

The purpose of a name is to distinguish one person from another, but in God’s case, there is no other to contrast Him with.   Psalms 113:5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high  Jer 10:6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.  Anytime you find His attributes it is always Him and no other so a name is not needed.  If you want to know God then you must discover what He is like.  Even when you find a name of God, such as Jehovah Jireh “The Lord Will Provide”; it describes something about God rather than a distinguishing name.  God is distinguished because of His attributes and not by His name.

One of the problems is that we try to picture God as a being like we are, limited by time and space.  He is not like us and therefore does not have the same limitations.  He does not act or react as we do.  Take His response of I AM THAT I AM”, and notice that God revealed something of Himself that is unique only to Him, that He is eternal.  He exists outside of time.  He is present in the past, as well as present now and is present in the future.  Also notice that if He is always existent throughout time, so He never changes, which is what we find in the scriptures.  Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.  Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

God is always revealing Himself to man but man has great difficulty understanding God who is past finding out.  You cannot exhaust the limits of God because He has no limits.   Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  Though you cannot exhaust His ways, you can begin to grow in your understanding.  It is something like a baby knowing its mother.  It begins with instincts but those instincts are enhanced by experiences, then by knowledge and further on by understanding and so forth.  So also we know God in a graduated way and the more we come to know Him the greater our understanding of Him becomes.  I was 10 years old when we moved to Colorado, from Missouri.  My parents told me about the mountains and I had actually been there when I was about three but my memory and knowledge was so little that I didn’t have a good concept of them.  As we approached Colorado, we began looking for them and even wondered what they were like.  Finally, dad pointed them out in the distance.  They were so small on the horizon that I was unimpressed.  I wondered why all the fuss.  But then a strange thing happened, they began to grow.  At least they seemed to grow and reached higher into the sky.  This continued until we were driving in the mountains and they had become so large that I couldn’t comprehend how big they really were.  Of course they didn’t really grow, they were the same size all the time but my perspective continued to change, the closer I got.  The same thing is true about God.  The closer to Him you get the greater He appears.  The truth is that He never changes but our perspective of Him does.  James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Blameless

1 Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blameless is not the same as guiltless.  It is not the same as sinless either.  Other words with a similar meaning and are sometimes used interchangeably, but wrongly  are:  forgiven, sinless perfection, righteous, to name a few.  If we are to properly understand and teach the Word of God correctly, we must understand the relationships of these words and their specific meanings.  Lets look at the similarities and the differences of these words.

Guiltless:  means literally without guilt, innocent.  Having no knowledge or experience.  Since the Scripture is clear that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, this word does not describe any of us, in fact, of no one other than Jesus, Himself.  The fact that our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus and that He has made full payment of our sins can never remove the fact of our sin.  In other words, reverse history and remove the act from ever happening so that we are not guilty.  Even though we are forgiven, it does not remove our guilt.  We are all guilty of sin, but there is good news.

Sinless:  This word is not so easy to explain as the previous  word.  In it’s simplest form it means ‘without sin’.  There is another sense that the word is used in the Scriptures and that is ‘without chargeable sin’.  That is sin that has been committed but has been paid for and is no longer chargeable to the one who committed the sin.  Once the sin has been paid for, it is no longer charged to the individual and he is therefore without sin that needs to be paid for.  Please note that the payment (wages earned) for sin, is death.

Forgiven:  When sin is forgiven it means that the payment was paid by another.  To forgive will cost you something and death is the only payment for sin.  This price was paid by Jesus when He died on the cross for all sin, past, present, and future.  Yet it is not appropriated until it is confronted, confessed and concluded.  The woman at the well who was caught in the act of adultery, faced her accusers and then was sent away with the instruction to sin no more.  It is one things to feel the guilt of your actions.  Yet, without confession (that is to take ownership of your own guilt) the heart has not been transformed and it will be repeated time and time again.  The stubborn will must be subdued.  The conduct will remain unchanged until this happens.

Sinless Perfection:  is a false doctrine and cannot be validated either by Scripture or by reason.  Consider a gallon of poison.  If you add a gallon of pure water, it is still poison, just not as strong.  No matter how much pure water you add, you have not neutralized the poison and it remains.  You do not purify a substance by only adding nonpoisonous substance.  The poison must be eradicated. The Scripture states that without the shedding of blood (death) there is no remission.  Therefore we can never get good enough that our sin becomes of no count.

Righteous:   A right heart produces right actions.  A righteous  person is one who operates out of a right heart and a right spirit.  To be righteous is to be on the side of what is right.  The Scripture states that there is none good but God, therefore to be righteous is to have a heart and spirit that acts with God and not the spirit of this world of sin.  It is not to be understood as one who is perfect but on who endeavors to follow after rightness.  Whenever one gets off the right path, he make a course correction to align himself anew with God.

Blameless:  I love this word because it holds all of the possibilities of God’s favor and promise.  It means simply that my sin account has been drained and there is not a single sin remaining in my account that has not been covered by the blood of Jesus.  It does not mean that my guilt didn’t happen.  Nor, does it mean that the degree of my sin  is so great that the blood of Jesus won’t clean it.  It means that in spite of my guilt, I have the only remedy for sin and that brings hope and promise to know that I will be accepted into the family of God as His child.  Take a look as some of these scriptures with the view of being blameless.

Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Colossians 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

1 Thessalonians 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

When trials Come

It has been a few days since I last posted so I want to offer you an explanation.  My schedule ihas been quite full with the Senior Adult Bible Conference,just completed along with the upcoming events such as out of town guest coming, the visa application that I just got off on Saturday and a trip to North Carolina which I am currently at.  It is .5:05 AM on Tuesday.  The trip began on Sunday when we were scheduled to leave Dallas at 8:20 PM but never left until 9:00 PM.  The flight was good but there was a heavy thunderstorm when we got to Raleigh, NC and we had to circle for 45 minutes while waiting to find a time we could land.  Then after we landed we had to wait on the plane for another 45 minutes until  the lightening stopped so we could  d board and then wait some more for our luggage.  In short, we got to bed around 3:00 AM.  Then it was the day of figuring out how to tie in two roofs that were at odd angles to each other and at two different elevations.

Isn’t that just like life,  all our plans are frustrated and then we are pushed to our limits.  I am happy to report that we never let it control us so that we forgot who is in charge.  I am thinking of Jonah.  He was directed to go to Nineveh, but made plans to go the other direction and wound up in the belly of a whale for three days and nights.  Have you ever wondered what Jonah was thinking while he was there in the fish’s belly?  If he were in today’s world he might of thought, how did I get in such a mess.  There was no warning about the upcoming whether change that messed up the voyage.  Then there was that crew that tossed me into the sea.  You’d think they would have had more compassion for me and my needs.  And if that wasn’t enough, instead of my needs being met, I wound up being breakfast for this huge fish.  He must really be desperate, mixing me up with all of this sea weed.  You see, Jonah was thinking of himself instead of his responsibility and God’s plan.  Sometimes things go wrong because God is trying to turn us to the right direction.  That wasn’t the problem for us so why would it be so difficult.

Another reason that things can get messed up is that God is developing our faith.  That is an ongoing work of the Lord.  We need to know that no matter how impossible the circumstances become, our God is bigger than the problems are.  So much of the time, we slip into the thinking that this situation is too big for God.  We forget that He who made all that is, is the same one who reign over all that is and He has the power to change anything.  I am sure that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednrgo gained a new perspective about God’s power.  God is greater than the laws of nature.  When you are walking with Him, even the laws of nature must bow to His authority.

A third reason that things may not go as planned is that God is using you to illustrate to others who are watching, how a Christian should act under pressure.  Sometimes we do a good job and sometimes we don’t.  In this situation I am not sure why the situation was so difficult but I am seeing some things.  On the first day of our work here, I have been impressed at how God has guided each thing we have attempted.  It seems that the ability to see through the complexity of the situation has been over powered by God and we have been able to make the very difficult cuts that established the beams, on which everything sets.  This reminds me to make sure the foundation because the superstructure works right, only if the foundation is right.  By following God’s plan, I have always found that anything and everything that was needed, has been provided.  Even to the extent of adequate rest.  I am amazed how well I have made it without adequate rest.  Then last night I just ran out of energy and was in bed by 8:30 but then awoke this morning at 4:05, rested and ready for the day.  Now I have time to meet with the Lord and even write this blog.

To sum this up:  sometimes things get messed up to get us in line with the Lord; sometimes they  become difficult as God is working on us; and sometimes trials are ours so that God can use us.  Really it is not so important that we see the why, as much as it is that we simply trust Him and know that He is able to keep that which I have entrusted  to Him:  and that is me.

Thinking of Eternity

I was just thinking of God and what it will be like when we stand before Him in Eternity.  I have heard a thousand thoughts of what others think it will be like.  Some think that they will still be in charge of something and will ask God their deepest questions about why did He  —-?  Others have the idea that Eternity will be linear, like it is here and our existence will be much the same.  (Example: Ten thousand year)  Another idea is that all our loved ones will meet us there and they will be much the same but just stop growing old.  One of the most popular is that it is”a better place”, without any explanation as to what that means.  Many understand that there will be no more pain and sorrow but do not understand why.  Most think that there will be memories and even regrets of what could have been but never was.  Sadly, most of our concepts are just wild guesses, carried out to several decimal places or just simply figments of our imagination.

The Bible gives us many clues as to what it will be like but they are meaningless until they are seen through the eyes of faith and the record of God’s Word.  Last week, I preached a message out of John 6, entitled I AM the Bread of Life.  The “I AM” is the same as what God told Moses when he asked God what His name was.  God replied, I AM that I AM.  Tell them that I AM sent you.  When Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life” He used the same phrase, claiming Himself to be very God.  He did not give His name but one of His attributes, His self existence.  The reason is that a name is used to distinguish one from another of similar features or specifics.  When you come to God, there is no other like Him.  He is one of a kind, unique, different from all others.  So to know Him is to know His attributes.  In this case it is His eternal self existence.  No other living being has eternal self existence so the identification is made by that characteristic.  Because he is self existent, He is not subject to time.  The conclusion is that in Eternity, time does not exist.  We, who exist in linear time, do not think of a timeless existence so we superimpose our understanding of time into Eternity and come to a false conclusion of what Eternity is like.  To truly know what Eternity is like is to know it from an eternal position which still awaits us.  We see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face.

What will it be like?  I don’t really know what it will be like, but I know that it won’t be like now any more than the world of time and space is like the world of the womb.  There is even more difference between this present world and the world of Eternity.  I get a clue of something of what it might be like as I look at others who have been very close to God.  Moses saw Him from behind and his face glowed so bright that he had to wear a veil.  Jacob wrestled with an angel of God and it changed him forever and he had a limp the rest of his life.  The three Hebrew children walked with Him in the fire and it had no effect on them except to free them from their bonds.  Many saints came before Him and fell on their faces, unable to stand without His help.  When Isaiah saw Him on His throne in the temple, he saw himself as unclean and without hope until the Lord cleansed his sin.  Paul was knocked to the ground when he met the Lord and it change his life, permanently.  When John saw the Lord, He was the glorified Christ and he fell at His feet as dead.  The result of that meeting is the book of Revelation.  On thing is certain, when we find ourselves before the Lord our God, we will see Him as He is and we will be changed.

PreparingThe Message

The Senior Adult Bible Conference has concluded and now I want to do a review of the process that went in to the preparation and delivery of the message.

Having been a part of this Bible Conference for three years, now, I look forward to it more every year.  This year was no exception.  When I was asked to be a part again this year, my first thought was, what does the Lord want me to say?  To preach for the Lord is to speak that which He would say if He were present in His earthly body.  That is such an awesome responsibility.  It genders many questions such as, Where are the people at in their lives?  What does the Lord have planned that they need to prepare for?  What problems are people struggling with?  What doctrine needs to be clarified? Etc.

And so it begins.  How do you discover the mind of God, for He alone knows where we are and what is ahead?  This necessitates prayer.  I never know until He reveals it to me so I have to go to Him as ask.  Sometimes it takes a lot of self-examination to make sure that there is nothing in my life that will hinder the message from being understood properly.

Once the receiver (me) has been properly prepared, then comes the receiving.  I make it a point that I never single out individuals, but stick to the principles laid out in the Bible.  It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to do the job of convicting and applying.  It is my job to properly present, clarify, and explain the Scriptures.  Each message is unique as to who is there, the times, the need, etc.  This combination of events has never happened before and it will never happen again and that is why you can never preach the same message twice, though you can present the same truths, repeatedly.

The next step is the selection of the Scripture.  There are a number of places in the Bible that a specific Doctrine, truth, circumstance or other application can be found.  I try to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and let Him direct me to the place He wants to speak from.  After all, it is His job to direct me into all truth.  He does it in many ways.  Sometimes He uses circumstances, but more often than not He will bring a particular Scripture to mind repeatedly, or show me a truth about that Scripture that I simply must share with others.  He works in many ways that I do not understand but I trust Him and His leading.

The final step of preparation is the soaking in the message.  That is reading and rereading, reviewing, listening for the still small voice that I have come to recognize by many years of hearing.  It does to me what happens to food when you marinate it in a specially prepared mixture of different flavorings.  The preacher must receive the message first as the Scripture says, they that preach the gospel, must live of the gospel.  Only then am I ready to preach.  How long does it take?  The answer  is all your life.

Then we come to the delivery of the message.  Nerves are present, the mouth is dry even if you just took a drink of water, the mind races, you are introduced, and you begin to speak . . .  It seems that I always forget some details that I intended to include and I add a few things that I never thought of in my preparation.  How was the timing?  Did I accentuate the point correctly?  What could I have done better? Etc.  This is all part of the preparation of the next message.

Dwelleth

John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

[Greek – enoikeo, en-oy-keh’-o – to occupy a house, i.e. reside (figuratively,                                  inhabit, remain, inhere); by implication, to cohabit:–dwell.                                              –  meno, men’-o – a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or                     expectancy):–abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand]

In the above text there are two words that are translated dwelleth as listed above.  They are quite similar in their meaning and invoke the idea that there is an ongoing or repeated action.  You will notice that the word ends with an eth ending which meant that in the original language it was either an action t that continued indefinitely or that it was an action that was repeated indefinitely.

In our modern world, we think of our will, that is what I want so our concept of Christianity is often slanted to the idea of convenience or desire.  The Bible knows nothing of that type of relationship for the Christian.  We give as it is convenient but the Bible teaches that we give 1. as we are prospered, 2. according to opportunity, 3.  the demand of necessity, and 4. as an act of faith in God.  Our service may come from duty, responsibility or desire but all too often it is because of selfish reasons rather than to deal with the old nature of sin or allow God to affect change in us.  We desire the blessing when we should desire the one who is blessing.

The concept of dwelling with God is not a duty or even a responsibility, it is a privilege and an opportunity.  It is a privilege because the infinite God desires to be with me.  It is an opportunity for me to become what I could never be without Him.  It requires us to open ourselves to him in prayer and faith.  It requires time in His word that He might speak to us about eternal things.  It requires sharing our lives with Him as He shares His life with us.  Dwelling with God is a life style not an occasional visit.

Notice that in John 6:56  that is a communion or participation together in the events of life (eating and drinking) or consuming the life of God.  The eth ending is attached to all three; eating continually, drinking continually, and dwelling continually.  Also notice in Romans 8:11 that the Holy Spirit is not only present with you continually but also is constantly quickening (making you alive) continually.  And finally, in I Corinthians 3:16 that you are the residence or dwelling of God.  The only place that will satisfy God as a residence is the heart of one who loves God back.  He loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die in our place.  Do we love Him enough to dwell with him in this life, as well as for eternity?