Imagine a deer who is out in the scorching sun, wandering looking for a shade and a drip of water in the summer.
Now, feel the palpitation and throbbing heart of that same doe in her all consuming thirst for the water brooks.
Imagine the soldier and his wife who have been apart during his deployment. Their souls longing to be united and their thoughts occupied with each other.
Now, picture the glorious homecoming and the elated lover fainting at the sight of her knight in shining armor. Heart and flesh crying out with overwhelming love and passion.
Imagine your 8 year old self on Christmas Eve. Your tiny frame possessed by excitement and anticipation for the opening of your gift the next day. Your bed is no longer a place of rest and solace, but rather a temporary holding ground to contain your restless energy. Sleep is impossible and improbable.
Apart from the contemporary references that I added, thats how David described his all consuming, passionate obsession and fixture with his creator, lover, King & God!
Psalms 42:1-3, Psalms 84:1-2, Psalms 132:3-5
Are you hungry for God?
Have you tasted enough of his goodness to want to have more? “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Do you desire to fellowship with the Holy Spirit? “Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”
Are your waking up and laying down marked with praising Him? “From the rising of the sun to its going down the Lord’s name is to be praised.
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.”
Come and drink from the living water. Come all you who are weary and heavy laden, he will give you rest. Come and let the Holy Spirit take residence in you.Come and let him fill you with divine peace, joy and light. Come to Jesus.
It’s the classic question that all of us have to answer. The wisest man to walk the earth , King Solomon, uttered these words and they still ring true thousands of years later.
“What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 1:9
Injustice has been happening since the creation of the world. The first murder happened because of Jealousy( Cain & Abel) in Genesis 4. We see The first documented case of racism , discrimination & Gods judgement ( Moses, his Ethiopian wife , Miriam & Aaron) in Numbers 12. So Injustice is not new. It’s as ancient as the Bible.
How do you deal with Injustice? Do you speak if you have nothing to lose but keep silent when your own well being is at stake? Do you quietly pray but take no action? Maybe God would send a brave soul to speak up or do something but not you, right?
Let us look at 3 people and what they did when they saw injustice.
Exhibit A: Moses tells pharaoh to Let His people Go!
….“Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; 10 come, let us deal shrewdly with them, …11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens….12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. 13 So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.” – Exodus 1: 8-14( NKJV)
The Egyptians were afraid the growing foreigner population in Egypt, namely the Israelites. So they set out taskmasters over them to crush their spirits, mind & body through cruel and labor intensive work. They oppressed them and built their wealth on their backs. The Israelite looked unto God and God relented.
God tells Moses I am going to send you as my spokesman to stand before pharaoh(King & god of Egypt) and tell him to “Let my people go!”
Moses naturally felt unqualified, wanted to cop out but God had picked him. With the assurance that God will go with him, he took a step of faith and confronted pharaoh. After many plagues, miracles and debacles the Israelites are FREE!
Result: God stayed true to His word and Moses led over 1 Million slaves out of Egypt. Miracle you say? Miracle, indeed!
Exhibit B: Queen Esther Saves Her People by risking her life
The poor orphan, Esther, who was raised by her older cousin Mordecai was beautiful! One day King Xerxes summons his wife, but she refuses to come. Inebriated and under the influence the Kings Pride was hurt. He counseled his lawyers and her fate was sealed. She was to be made an example of and executed for disrespecting the king.
After a while loneliness got the best of the King and he started looking for a new wife. Who else but the godly, gracious and beautiful Esther? The search commenced throughout the kingdom, but there was no one like Esther.So, Esther becomes the Queen.
During Esther’s reign as Queen a plot was brewing to destroy the whole race of Jews. This came from someone high up in the Kingdom. But Esther was safe because didn’t tell anyone she was a Jew.
She faced two choices
1- She could go to the King uninvited and try to avert the plot. We know what happened to the last Queen who disrespected the King. What if the same thing happens to Esther? Bold but very risky move.
2- She is in the palace. She is the Queen and no one knows she is a Jew. She is safe. 1 Jew alive is better than no Jew alive, right? She will pray for them but what’s the point of trying to do the impossible? She should just mind her own business.
Result: After a stern warning from her guardian, Mordecai, Esther asks for prayer but does the right thing. With a meticulous plan the plot was averted, the culprit shamed, the Jews saved and her Cousin & Guardian Mordecai promoted.
Exhibit C: God punishes Miriam by leprosy for looking down on Moses’s Ethiopian Wife.
Moses was a Jew. His wife was not. His wife was Ethiopian. Ethiopians are dark skinned. Jews are not. When Moses married an Ethiopian, his siblings Aaron and Miriam, who were a priest and a prophetess respectively , spoke against Moses.
God didn’t like that. He summoned all three. With Miriam being the instigator, Aaron and Miriam thought since God has spoken to Miriam and Aaron , they felt they felt they were in a position to speak against Moses.
They must have said: “Who is he to think he can marry an Ethiopian?”
God told them, I have spoken to you through parables but I speak with my servant Moses face to face.
I can imagine God saying “How dare you speak against him? How dare you open your self-righteous,I-am-so-important-and-I-am-better-because-of-how-I-look-ignorant-mouth and speak against my Ethiopian daughter? She is also my beautiful daughter. Is your skin color the source of your pride Miriam? I’ll give you something to be proud about! You are going to be a leper(A chronic, curable infectious disease mainly causing skin lesions and nerve damage).
Result: “So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. 10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. ” – Numbers 12:9-10
I think the evidence is clear. As the above exhibits indicate, God is just and he always does what is right. What would he have us do? Do the right thing!
It is often an inconvenience to speak up for the oppressed, the poor, the powerless, the mistreated, the not so well connected, the underprivileged and the marginalized of society.What would i do? I know what I would do. What would you do? I’ll let God’s word be the Judge.
“He who gives to the poor will not lack,
But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.” – Proverbs 28:27
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with Joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” – Psalms 16:11
Some people can’t wait to be at a football game. They anticipate it and get excited thinking about it, they are exhilarated and ecstatic at the moment and they look back and cherish the memories and get excited again!
To others it might be a TV show, a concert, a family reunion, a trip across the world, a reunion with friends or a party. I don’t know about you, but I know what excites me the most. It’s none of those things.
“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.” – Psalms 27:4
When I think about being in His presence I get excited thinking about it, the amount of Joy that I have when I am in his presence is out of this world! ( Well Duh, it’s heavenly :)) and as I reminisce of all the times where I traded my sorrows for joy, where I came with a heavy heart and the Lord made me forget all my troubles I start to sing:
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
In the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.
There is no one holy like the Lord;
There is no one besides you;
There is no rock like our God.” – 1 Samuel 2:2-3
Beloved every other God is an Idol. If it takes priority or comes first place before God, it’s an idol. sports, family, education, money, career, relationship, people, ministry, popularity — idol. There is one true God and his name is Jesus. He doesn’t want to just be your savior. He wants to be your Lord and Savior. He doesn’t want to give you a part of Himself, but he wants to dwell in you and live in you. And as we willingly submit our wills, desires and affections to him, he fills us with Joy in His presence.
Just as He did for my King, he will do for you as well. Come and taste the goodness of the Lord. Come and bask in the Shekinah Glory of God. There is fullness of Joy in His presence 🙂
“You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” – Psalms 45: 7
Lord Jesus, I thank you that you are a God of Joy! Lord you desire to fellowship with me your child and to share the Joy and fellowship you have with the Father and your Holy Spirit. Lord I am laying down all my idols and coming before you desperate, saying I need you God! Teach me to desire your presence more than anything else. Draw me to you and I will respond. Remove any thing that has exalted itself above you in my life in Jesus’ Name! Thank you papa! Amen!
Have you ever felt that you were in a wilderness? A quick search on google for the definition of wilderness gives you these 3 definitions.
1) An uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
2) a neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town.
3) A position of disfavor, especially in political context
Wow! I feel like that describes the spiritual wilderness I felt like I experienced these past few weeks/ month.
An uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region? Check. The Lord has been pinpointing areas in my life that I thought were cultivated and surrendered to him and exposing them to let me know that He’s still working on me, his son!
A neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town? Check. I had neglected my prayer walk with Him! I had neglected seeking His will in His word diligently. See, I used to get Joy from reading His word and I never read the bible out of a sense of religious duty or some holy ritual. It was always because the word of God was life to my soul!
“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63 (NKJV)
What do you do when you feel like the Holy Spirit is no longer speaking life into you? It’s scary. Nothing is worse than to feel like that God has abandoned you or His Holy Presence is not tangible anymore. So it is very easy in those times to abandon your secret place of prayer and seeking His face on your knees.
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Mark 14: 37-38 (NKJV)
It’s so tempting and easy to hit the snooze button, when you feel like you are in a wilderness where God’s presence is absent.
The third definition of wilderness was a position of disfavor, especially in a political context. If I were to modify the definition to apply it to this context, it would read something like “a position of disfavor in the context of God’s kingdom, where the Lords face seems to have turned away from you, and his joy, peace and grace feel to have disappeared”.
However, I am learning that the wilderness (literally or metaphorically) is God’s favorite place to work on His sons & daughters. Take a look at John the Baptist:
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’” – Matthew 3: 1- 3 (NKJV)
Jesus would later speak of John the Baptist saying that in Matthew 11“among those born of women there has not risen one greater than john the Baptist…”
And as we also see in Matthew 4, Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit before he started his earthly ministry (Matthew 4: 1). So the wilderness, although it may not feel like it, is a place where God is preparing us. He is emptying us out of worldliness and purging everything that is not from him. He is teaching us to completely and utterly rely on His every word and voice for our sustenance. He is giving us revelation for what’s to come. He is showing us that He is still with us even when it doesn’t feel like it.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20 (NLT)
The desert or the wilderness is a place of death and oblivion for a lot of plants. But Friend, Just as Jesus spoke in John 15, if we abide in him and remain in him we will live and flourish even in the wilderness. There’s one plant that is different from all other plants in its ability to withstand dry and arid conditions with minimal water. It’s the cactus. The person who abides in God’s will and trusts in Jesus even in the dry seasons and the wilderness is like the cactus! Actually, that person is much better than a cactus and more like a tree planted by streams of living water!
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
May you become like a tree that is planted by a riverbank! May El Shaddai, the all sufficient one sustain you in the coming days, weeks, and months! May Jehovah Jireh, your provider, provide all your needs according to His riches. (Phil 4:19) May Jehovah Rohi, your great shepherd, lead you by still waters ( Psalms 23, John 10). May Jehovah Rophe, God your healer, heal you from all pain, ailments, sickness, disease in Jesus name!( Isaiah 53:5)
He hasn’t abandoned you! He sees you, He cares and His love is powerful than the wilderness you may be going through right now 🙂
The Harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few- Matthew 9:37
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2(NIV)
These are the words of King Solomon from the book of Ecclesiastes. Guess what time it is now?
“For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”- 2 Corinthians 6:2(NIV)
If we are not careful and attentive to the word of God and the leading of His Holy Spirit, we might waste time and energy in the vain attempt of sowing seeds in the season of Harvest. In the United States, Corn crops are planted around April and harvested by the time October rolls around. Wouldn’t it be foolish if someone was trying to sow seeds and plant corn crops in October when the season and time is more suitable for harvesting what has already been planted?
Today is October and not April in the Season for Harvest of Souls into the kingdom of God!
I believe that we are in a season and a time where we are to usher in people into the kingdom of God! We are to reap the harvest that Jesus has sown (Matthew 13:37). We are to believe and by faith claim our families, schools, workplaces for the kingdom of God! “Because without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”(Hebrews 11:6)
My earnest prayer and desire is to see His children abandoning phrases such as “I’m praying for you brother” or “I’ll be praying for you sister”. Nonsense! They are empty words that reveal our lack of faith and hope in the situation. How about you pray right there and then with that person? How about you trust the Holy Spirit to give you a word of knowledge as you become obedient and stand in faith? What if you are an answer to that person’s prayer, and God wanted to speak through you? Didn’t God use a donkey, yes a donkey, to rebuke God’s prophet and bring him to his senses? (Numbers 22:28-35). How much more can God use you and me, who are made in His image and are temples of His Holy Spirit?
Today is the day to trust Jesus and take him at his word!
Today is the day to stand in faith and bring in the harvest that is ripe and ready for the barn!
Today is the day to love people into the kingdom of God and get off our high horses of self-righteousness!
My friend mentioned this once in a bible study and it has so much wisdom in it. The measure of your Holiness or how close you are to Jesus is not the number of scripture verses you can quote verbatim, or the number of bible studies you attend or your position in the church but it is the extent you can show God’s love to those who hate you. It’s the degree to which you can show God’s grace to those who afford you none. It is the amount you can be spat on and persecuted for the sake of the Gospel and still respond with love like Jesus as in Luke 23 or like Stephen in Acts 7:57-60. Even when Jesus was on the cross and being crucified He still reeked of divine Love. Right after He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”(Luke 23:33), He ushered a criminal who was on his last breath to the kingdom of Heaven (Luke 23:43). And I believe Stephen’s prayer must have had an impact on the apostle Paul, because Saul before he becomes Paul was a participant and a spectator in Stephen’s stoning.
What am I really saying?
Jesus read in Luke 4:17-19, 21 a paraphrase of Isaiah 61:1, 2 which said: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor….. And he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”. Let us seek to see Heaven come down on earth and people on earth come into God’s kingdom! Stop uttering faithless prayers, but instead trust God in the here and the now for the Salvation and healing of his children. Let us seek His kingdom first and trust that all else this world has to offer will surely follow, because the Man and the Son of God said so! Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4). Stop being drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:15-18). See wine doesn’t always have to be red and come in a bottle from somewhere fancy in France. Wine can be anything that has intoxicated you and anything that doesn’t not progressively lead to holiness but leads to sinful indulgences. Turn off the TV and instead be in tune with what God wants to broadcast to you and through you! Love more, have more grace, and above all Seek God’s Kingdom first! See for yourself if God doesn’t shower you with many blessings, the greatest of which is His very presence!