|Judgment Seat of Christ - Leonard Ravenhill|
Leonard Ravenhill's legendary sermon "The Judgment Seat of Christ" is not a paltry call to mediocrit...
Sunday, 29 July 2012
I have listened this afternoon to the challenging words of Leonard Ravenhill about the Judgment Seat of Christ - a message often neglected and unheard today but for me it means so much. Click on the link to listen to this short message and be deeply challenged
The Brilliance of His Great Presence!
Our primary text for this teaching is Exodus 33:13-23:
"'If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You. Remember that this nation is Your people. '"The Lord replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. '"Then Moses said to Him, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that You are pleased with me and with Your people unless You go with us? What else will distinguish me and Your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?'
"And the Lord said to Moses, 'I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name. '"Then Moses said, 'Now show me Your glory. '"And the Lord said, 'I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,' He said, 'you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.'
"Then the Lord said, 'There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.'"
My Personal Testimony – An Invitation
One time when I was "resting" in the Lord's presence, the Holy Spirit said to me, "I want to teach you to release the highest weapon of spiritual warfare." I continued to listen, as I knew there must be more. I was eager to hear what He had to say on this subject as I had studied it for years. He continued, "I will teach you to release the brilliance of My presence." In a moment, it seemed all theological debate on the issues of spiritual warfare was answered. What is the highest weapon? Why, He is! He is the highest weapon of spiritual warfare. He wants us to be gatekeepers so we can release the brilliance of His great presence!
A Day In Your Courts
Yes, once you have truly tasted the goodness of the Lord's presence, nothing else will satisfy you! You are ruined for the rest of your life! It is true! Oh, how I have found it to be true! A day is better than the best this world could ever offer! Tell the Lord now that you want to be a gatekeeper – a gatekeeper of His presence. Psalm 84:10-12 says, “Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in You.”
NEEDED: A Hunger For His Presence
We need His presence more than anything in this life! This is to be the outstanding, distinguishing characteristic of God's people in all generations – His presence among us!
1. Exodus 33:12-23 says God gave Moses his request and revealed His glorious Presence to him.
2. Exodus 25:30 shows the bread of His Presence (or showbread) used by the priest in ministering to the Lord.
I want to tell you a dream that gripped my soul. In January 1999, while I was resting in the Lord's presence, the Holy Spirit visited me with a piercing dream that has helped to set my course of direction and I believe is a clear word to His people wherever they find themselves in life and ministry.
In this dream, I was holding long loaves of bread each wrapped in their own individual napkin. I was holding these loaves of bread close to my chest right over my heart. Then I got our youngest child's (Rachel's) blanket she had since birth. I now wrapped these loaves of bread in her dear baby blanket. I held the bread close to my heart and just kind of rocked the bread as you would a newborn child. Then I heard the words, "When My people will care for, cherish, nurture, and love the 'Bread of My Presence' like a parent does its newborn child – then revival will come." I then found myself awakened out of the dream only to find my arms were held out as though holding and rocking something. I heard myself prophesying out loud in the bedroom the same words I had just heard in the dream as the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit was lingering over my body. The Lord was emphasizing these words by having them be repeated twice!
This I know – He wants us to cherish and care for His Presence. Pray for His presence. Love His presence. Nurture His presence. After all, isn't this what you have longed for all your life? Isn't this what you were made and created for – to be a carrier of the most brilliant presence? Isn't this the answer to the Church's cry for help? We need more of Him!
When will revival come? When will a societal transformation occur? You got it! When we get up in the middle of the night – do the night feedings, hold the child close to our bosom, and wash the child of new beginnings with the love and compassion – then revival will come! Let His presence come forth!
For such a time as this – let pure worship arise! (James W. Goll)
Monday, 23 July 2012
This past few days Esther and I have been overwhelmed by the goodness of God and the love of His people. We have had a wonderful time celebrating our fortieth wedding anniversary, seen the Lord amazingly supply for our foster grand-daughter to enter university in Indonesia, seen the funds come in to cover the costs of a missionary conference we are hosting in Singapore and so much more. We are physically well, so blessed by our children and rejoice in all the love and goodness God has shown to us. This article by Bill Yount sums how we feel. Read it and be challenged and blessed. Let's change our mindset if necessary to an attitude of gratitude for God's goodness. Remember that frequently found phrase in Scripture, "God is good and His mercy endures forever." Let's celebrate!
Are You Being Convicted Of God's Goodness In Your Life?
While fasting recently, I was overwhelmingly convicted of God's goodness in my life. I was reminded I was healed of a brain tumor when I was seven years old. I survived a heart attack 10 years ago. My heart stopped three days after the heart attack while taking a heart test and they jumped my heart back to beat again. I owe everything to Him. Why He loves me I can't understand. It makes me weep. Sensing His daily constant goodness is leading me to a life of repentance and to be merciful to others. How Many of You are Glad to Be Anywhere? If it had not been for the Lord on my side, where would I be? When I stand up to minister I ask a question that never fails to release an atmospheric anointing of thankfulness into people's hearts: "How many of you are glad to be anywhere?" They laugh, but the anointing of thanksgiving has already begun to fall upon them to start counting their endless blessings. Then I tell them, "I am just glad to be."
Since the attack against my heart I now have a ministry of full-time breathing! Breathing qualifies us to worship! Looking back on my trials and life threatening events, I know now that I could have been thanking the Lord in them instead of afterwards. "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). When we stop thanking Him, we can take ourselves out of His perfect will.
I am learning what God wants to hear from us when we are in the fiery flame with no strings attached. In our sufferings we often attach strings to our prayers like: "If You heal me or let me live..." I learned quickly in that emergency room what He is after. "Father, I love You!" That's it, period! And when it's from our hearts, I can imagine all of Heaven stopping as He says to the angels, "Stay up here, I have a personal house call. I'm going down for the rescue!" Have you wondered how saints of old and present could give thanks, breaking into worship, when facing a firing squad or being burned at the stake? Could it be they were not praising God to move Him to do anything more? Instead maybe they were praising Him for what He had already done in their lives, the past miracles and deliverances, and for the fact that they were still here? Each day of their lives was a precious gift and eternity beat in their hearts. They knew they were always one heartbeat away from seeing the bigger picture of God's perfect plan for their lives. Their present fiery trial, stoning, or pointed gun was a reminder, "Absent from the body - present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8). They were fully convinced God was able to deliver but if He didn't, they would go out in a blaze of glory. "And they overcame him because of the Blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death" (Revelation 12:11).
DL Moody once said, "Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don't you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now."
And so will we who put our trust in Jesus Christ. We will be alive when the stars fall from their sockets and this earth is no more. For His goodness and mercy endures forever.
God's Goodness Flowing through His People!
I am also being convicted of the goodness of God that flows through His people. The closer I get to other Believers I find I am not alone in my struggles and battles. Everyone I know is fighting something major. Because of writing articles for this ministry, my name was sent around the world for prayer when my life was hanging in the balance due to my heart condition that morning in the emergency room. I believe many were praying for me. When God chooses to raise up our name to be known to people, it is not because we have it all together; He knows that we will need that many more people to pray us through. There came a moment in that emergency room when I heard the devil's voice whispering to his demons, "There are so many people praying for him, we have to let him go!"
Let's not miss the goodness of God that often flows to us and rescues us through the Body of Christ. I pray even now that you would reflect on His goodness over your own life – the struggles you've been through and what He's currently carrying you through. Let the conviction of His goodness sweep over you even now! (Bill Yount)
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Entering into God's rest has been a subject that has deeply challenged me in the last few years. This article by Francis Frangipane encompasses much of what the Lord has been saying to my heart. A few days ago I read this amazing thought - "Rest is a weapon in spiritual warfare."
A Place For Him To Rest
In the Kingdom, there are no great men of God, just humble men whom God has chosen to use greatly. How do we know when we are humble? When God speaks, we tremble. God is looking for a man who trembles at His words. Such a man will find the Spirit of God resting upon him; he will become a dwelling place for the Almighty.
Entering the Sabbath Rest of God
Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? Isaiah 66:1
God asks for nothing but ourselves. Our beautiful church buildings, our slick professionalism, all are nearly useless to God. He does not want what we have; He wants who we are. He seeks to create in our hearts a sanctuary for Himself, a place where He may rest.
In the Scriptures this rest is called "a Sabbath rest" (Hebrews 4:9). It does not, however, come from keeping the Sabbath, for the Jews kept the Sabbath but never entered God's rest. The Book of Hebrews is plain: Joshua did not give the Israelites rest (verses 7-8). And after so long a period of Sabbath-keeping, Scripture continues, "So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God" (verse 9).
The question must be asked then, "What is this Sabbath rest?" Let us explore Genesis in pursuit of our answer. "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work" (Genesis 2:3). Before God rested on the Sabbath, there was nothing special or holy about the seventh day. Had the Lord rested on the third day, then it would have been holy. Rest is not in the Sabbath; it is in God. Rest is a prevailing quality of His completeness.
Revelation 4:6 describes the throne of God as having before it, as it were, "a sea of glass, like crystal." A sea of glass is a sea without waves or ripples, a symbol of the imperturbable calm of God. Let us grasp this point: the Sabbath was not a source of rest for God; He was the source of rest for the Sabbath. As it is written, "The Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired" (Isaiah 40:28). And even as the Sabbath became holy when God rested upon it, so we become holy as we put away sin, as the fullness of God settles and rests upon us.
In our study, we are not associating God's rest merely with the sense of being rebuilt or rejuvenated, which we obviously need and associate with human rest. The rest we seek is not a rejuvenation of our energy; it is the exchange of energy: our life for God's, through which the vessel of our humanity is filled with the Divine Presence and the all-sufficiency of Christ Himself.
Enveloped and Permeated With God
The Hebrew word for rest is nuach; among other things, it means "to rest, remain, be quiet." It also indicates a "complete envelopment and thus permeation," as in the spirit of Elijah "resting" on Elisha, or when wisdom "rests in the heart of him who has understanding." God is not looking for a place where He can merely cease from His labors with men. He seeks a relationship where He can "completely envelop and thus permeate" every dimension of our lives, where He can tabernacle, remain, and be quiet within us.
When God's rest abides upon us, we live in union with Jesus the same way He lived in union with the Father (John 10:14-15). Christ's thought-life was "completely enveloped and thus permeated" with the presence of God. He did only those things He saw and heard His Father do. He declared, "The Father abiding in Me does His works" (John 14:10). There is rest because it is Christ working through us. Jesus promises us, "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it" (verse 14). How vain we are to think we can do miracles, love our enemies, or do any of the works of God without Christ doing His works through us!
This is why Jesus said, "Come to Me...and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). In a storm-tossed boat on the sea of Galilee, Christ's terrified disciples came to Him. Their cries were the cries of men about to die. Jesus rebuked the tempest, and immediately the wind and sea became "perfectly calm," even as calm as He was (Matthew 8:26). What program, what degree of ministerial professionalism can compare with the life and power we receive through Him?
You see, our efforts, no matter how much we spend of ourselves, cannot produce the rest or life of God. We must come to Him. Many leaders have worked themselves nearly to exhaustion seeking to serve God. If they spent half their time with Him, in prayer and waiting before Him, they would find His supernatural accompaniment working mightily in their efforts. They would become passengers in the vehicle of His will, a vehicle in which He Himself is both Captain and Navigator.
Cease Striving, Know, Then Obey
To enter God's rest requires we abide in full surrender to His will, in perfect trust of His power. We learn to rest from our works "as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:10). To "rest from our labors" does not mean we have stopped working; it means we have stopped the laborious work of the flesh and sin. It means we have entered the eternal works that He brings forth through us.
The turmoil caused by unbelief is brought to rest by faith. The strife rooted in unforgiveness is removed by love. Our fearful thoughts, He arrests through trust; our many questions are answered by His wisdom. Such is the mind that has entered the rest of God.
The Church needs to possess the knowledge of God's ways, for herein do we enter His rest (Hebrews 3:8-12). We gain such knowledge through obedience to God's Word during conflicts. As we obey God through the testings of life, we learn how to deal with situations as God would. Consequently, it is of the utmost value to hear what God is speaking to us, and especially so when life seems to be a wilderness of hardship and trials.
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness. ...Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways'; as I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'" Hebrews 3:7-8, 10-11
He says, "They always go astray in their heart...they did not know My ways...they shall not enter My rest." Let us understand: knowing God's ways leads to His rest.
We must see that there is no rest in a hardened heart. There is no rest when we rebel against God. Our rest comes from becoming honest about our needs and allowing Christ to change us.
Thus Jesus said, "Learn from Me...and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:29). Stop fighting with God and learn from Him. Let His Word put to death the torments of the sin nature. Cease struggling, cease wrestling against the Blessed One. Trust Him! For eventually His Word will plunder the defenses of your heart. Be committed to your surrender. In time He shall no longer use adversity to reach your heart, for you shall delight in being vulnerable to Him. Continue your diligent yielding until even His whisper brings sweet trembling to your soul. Far more precious than the men of a hundred nations is one man perfectly given to the Spirit of God. This man is God's tabernacle, the one to whom God looks...and with whom He is well pleased.
He says, "Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being" (Isaiah 66:1-2). Yet, incredibly, one man with one quality of heart captures the attention and promise of God. "But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word" (verse 2).
God looks to the man who trembles when He speaks. For in him the holy power of the Most High can, without striving, abide in perfect peace. He has learned the ways of God; he delights in obedience. He has chosen to give God what He asks: nothing less than all he is. In return, this man becomes a place, a holy place, where God Himself can rest.
Thursday, 5 July 2012
A dear friend of Esther and myself, Elaine Eleazer has sent out this very good, helpful article on relationships and I thought it was so good that I would like to pass it on to others. It contains such good and Biblically sound advice.
Key #1 to Healthy Relationships
Identify and Accept the Reality of Your Relationships
Number one, that relationship was only for season. Like those rocket boosters that lift you into the first atmosphere, they must fall off if you're going to make it to the next level. You keep trying to hold on to the relationship, but God is saying, "It's time for that relationship to fall off…"
Key #2 to Healthy Relationships
Don't Try to Be Someone Else's God
There's a huge difference between helping a person and carrying a person. You aren't the Holy Spirit. Don't enter into an enabling relationship in which you come to feel totally responsible for a person's success or failure.
"Not me," you say? You'd never try to play the part of the Holy Spirit in someone else life, right? You better look at your relationships a little bit closer and not assume that is the case. As long as we're trying to change someone, we're trying to be their God. It's so easy when we need to be needed to get in the way of God doing what He wants to do. And so you have to get out of the way for God to do the work He wants to do.
In fact, the truest form of the word submission means this. If you're a wife, you may have just broke out in hives when I mentioned the word. If you're a husband, you probably said, "Yes, preach on it!" So much emotion over that one biblical sentence from the apostle Paul: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:22). It's enough to cause many women to hyperventilate.
But if you understand what the words mean, you can take the brown paper bag off your head and breathe easy. It simply means, "Wives, duck" (my paraphrase). It means to get out of the way. We make the mistake of thinking we have to pray this way for our husband: "God, please turn him into Casanova. Have him bring me flowers and love me like I deserve to be loved. Let him be all that, and let him look like a Greek statue." Meanwhile, God's is saying, "I can't do anything." So we get mad and ask God, "Why?" After all, He is the Creator of the heavens and earth, and surely He can fix our husband the way we'd like him to be. But God shrugs His shoulders and answers, "Because you're in the way. The problem is not your husband. It's you."
Some of us keep getting in the way of God doing what He wants to do in our spouse or our child or our boss or our best friend. God may tell you that every time you give it over to Him, then you pick it back up and try to fix it yourself. So, duck. Get out of the way. First Peter 5:7 says, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." To "cast" means to roll it over and give it to God and then leave it there. Give it up and don't pick it up again, but leave it in the hands of God. And know that God is more qualified and better at doing the job and getting it done than you are. God knows exactly how to visit a person and how to change and transform them. He is God, and you are not.
And in all your relationships, don't demand from people what only God can give. Only God can give you a deep awareness of how infinitely valuable and precious you are to Him, and what a glorious destiny He has for you. Only God can see and meet the unfulfilled needs in your life that even you don't recognize. Only God can fix your heart. Only God can mend your mind. Recognize that no other human being can ever complete you, and you'll save yourself a world of hurt.
Key #3 to Healthy Relationships
Become Comfortable With Criticism
So what happens when we start to deal with these unhealthy relationships that don't bring us into the purpose God has for us? When you begin to grow and mature and get away from the unhealthy relationships, you better become comfortable with criticism. Why? Because not everybody is going to be happy about your decision. You cannot please all people all the time. And people are going to make fun of you.
To break away from unhealthy relationships, you need to be comfortable in your own skin and confident enough to know who you are and the God whom you serve. Some people are going to look you in the eye and say, "Oh, so you think you're better than us now? You're Miss Righteous, aren't you." There are people who are going to try to pull you back. The loss of whatever you've been giving these people is going to make them upset.
When you begin to walk away from unhealthy relationships, people who have controlled you, manipulated you, used you, abused you, and know how to pull all the strings that keep you in that unhealthy relationship are going to increase the pressure. They won't give up without a fight. And when they see you becoming whole and healthy, it becomes a mirror reflection of their sickness and their dysfunction, which will make them angry.
You will need to be rock solid in your conviction that you deserve better because God has shown you better. When you know better in your heart, you do better. And so you can say, "I love you, but I can't live with you this way. I love you, but I can't compromise my character for anybody. I like you, but I'm not going to forfeit my destiny. So I'm going to let God deal with you as God is dealing with me, and you can call me whatever you want. Do whatever you want to do. Say whatever you want to say. I really don't care. I'm going to love you. I'm not going to retaliate, because I am trusting God to take care of me as well as you."
Here's a visual of what you'll face. If you've ever seen a pot of live crabs, you know that when one crab starts trying to climb out of the pot, the other crabs try to latch hold of it and pull it back down. As you are getting healthy and pulling yourself out of the pot, most of the people in your life are not going to say, "Here's my hand, help me out, too." No, most of them are going to grab you by your foot and try to yank you back down. You have to have the utter conviction that you are going where God tells you to go. You're going to do what God says you can do. You're going to have what God says you can have.
Trust God to give you the courage to end the relationship, and then trust Him to give you broad shoulders and thick enough skin to take the criticism you may face for ending the relationship.
Key #4 to Healthy Relationships
Don’t Revisit a Relationship You Have Decided to End
Monday, 2 July 2012
I have been very moved and blessed today as I watched the following short videos and would like to share them with you. It is so good to see how the Lord is using Tim Paton in Cambodia and reaching the children and making a difference in that land. Tim's mother and father are pioneer missionaries in France, and have been involved in church planting in France for more than fifty years. We have known them and had contact with them for much of that time. They have two sons, both now in missions work. Do please take time to watch these videos pray for Cambodia.