To one, God may be like the man who left ninety-nine sheep to search for one sheep that had gone astray until he found it (Luke 15:4).
But to another, He is like the prodigal son’s father, who doesn’t go after his son and search for him, but instead He waits (Luke 15:20). He waits for him to grow up. He waits for him to humble himself. He waits for him to come to his senses.
The prodigal son knew what belonged to him and he went boldly to his father and asked for it. The problem was He left what he needed after he got what he wanted. Even after God gives you what you’ve been asking for, you are still going to need Him.
Just because the father didn’t search for his son doesn’t mean he didn’t love him, but it was time for his son to make a decision. What do you want? He had to make up his mind. Either he could stay where he was (apart from his father), toiling, but still hungry or he could go back to his father where there were hired servants and enough bread to spare (Luke 15:15-17).
God has better for you. You don’t have to stay where you are. You don’t have to struggle, but you’re struggling because you want to do things your way. The Holy Spirit will convict you. He will tell you what you need to do, but He is not going to do it for you and He’s not going to make you do it. This has to be your choice.
Elijah asked the question, How long will you halt between two opinions? (1 Kings 18:21). How long will you go back and forth? How long will you sit between who you were and who you are created to be?
There are some adult Christians who want God to treat them like babies. You want him to always pick you up and carry you, but it’s time to learn how to walk – by your own faith. You’re His child, but you’re not a baby anymore. God expects us to grow in our salvation (1 Peter 2:2). Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and He expects us to grow, too. At the age of 12, Jesus was being taught in the temple, but by the age of 30, He was teaching others.
Making choices is part of growing up and sometimes it will feel like making a decision is hard, but when you read the conversation between the serpent and Eve, we learn that God will tell you the type of ‘trees’ that are before you and He will tell you which tree to choose and which tree not to choose, but He is not going to choose for you (Genesis 3:2-3).
God gave you the power to choose, but choose rightly. Maybe you’ve made some poor choices in the past, but the days of being angry, blaming people, living in regret and feeling powerless or helpless are over. Maybe your parents didn’t always make the right choices concerning you, but you’re grown now. You can make your own choices. Choose to obey God and when you choose to do what God wants you to do first, then those things you’ve been worrying about and toiling for will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
Whether you want God to use you or you want what He has for you or you want to become like a planted tree that brings forth fruit, it is going to require growth, time and change. Do you really want it?
You don’t miss your water till the well runs dry.
My grandmother used to say that all the time. That was her way of telling me that I won’t really appreciate what I have until it’s gone or until I lose it.
Have you ever abused or misused something? Have you ever lost anything and you wanted God to give you another chance?
Maybe you messed up a good friendship. Or you cheated on a good man/woman. Or you left a good job. Or you squandered money. Or you lost a business. Because of your ways and your disobedience, you missed out on some great opportunities.
But the good news is that if you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful, but if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance (Proverbs 28:13, TLB).
For weeks now, I’ve been asking God to trust me again in certain areas.
But I’m not asking Him to give it to the person that I was when I lost what He gave me – selfish, unfaithful, immature and disobedient. No. I’m asking him to give it to the person who is filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding and knowledge – who will not do her own will, but the will of her Father.
God is giving you new strength for the new year. I’m not saying things will be easier next year, but as you obey God, things will get better.
My prayer for you is that you don’t faint before you see the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 27:13). May the areas you failed in during the previous years, you now succeed and overcome them in the upcoming years. May you be wiser this new year than you were last year.
You’re going to have work harder this coming year. Keep praying, but do not use prayer as a substitute for work. God has given you much and He requires much from you.
Whatever you stopped believing God for, I pray that you believe again and trust God again. May you enjoy the blessing of the Lord that makes rich and adds no sorrow with it. You know what sorrow feels like, but now you will know HIS joy.
To those of you who were deceived and tricked out of something or who had something stolen from them, may God avenge you speedily. For every year that was stolen, lost or missed (even from your childhood), I pray that He restores those years – in one year.
It’s not too late for God to do what He promised. He is faithful that promised. God began a good work in YOU and He is going to complete it.
Happy New Year!!!
There was a man who was given a great responsibility to help rear and train up God’s only Son and our Savior, Jesus.
His name was Joseph. He is described as a just man (Matthew 1:19). He was engaged and he respected his fiancée. He made the choice to wait until his wedding day, but while they were engaged, he found out that his soon-to-be wife was pregnant – with Someone else’s child. I’m sure he was hurt and disappointed by the news, but he didn’t embarrass or humiliate Mary. He didn’t publicly disgrace her. I believe he was afraid what other people would say or think of him (as they weren’t married yet), but he was also concerned about Mary – how she felt and how she would be treated.
Joseph had planned on calling off the engagement quietly, but God had a plan, too. Joseph was about to walk away from favor and from his ‘good thing’. He was about to give up before he received his deliverance, but before he could do anything, God sent an angel to Joseph. Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:20).
Joseph obeyed the angel. He didn’t push Mary away. He protected her. He endured the difficult times (with her). He didn’t leave her when she needed him. He didn’t allow her to have this baby alone in a stable. Not only did they go through some things while Mary was pregnant, but they also had to go through some things after Jesus was born. God gave Joseph and Mary what He promised, but it was a fight to keep, guard and protect the promise. Joseph couldn’t be lazy. He couldn’t procrastinate. He couldn’t do what God told him to do when he wanted to do it. He had to pick up his family and flee to Egypt during the night – when it was inconvenient, when others were sleeping – because Herod wanted to kill the One who would give life to many. When God told him to move, he moved (Matthew 2:13, 19).
Although the bible doesn’t tell us all that Joseph went through, I know it wasn’t easy. In fact, I’m sure he cried or wanted to cry sometimes, but he held on because he believed what God said. He believed that Jesus was born to save all men.
He cared for his wife, but he also cared for Jesus. Do you remember when Joseph and his family went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover? Jesus was twelve years old at the time. When they left the celebration, they didn’t realize that Jesus wasn’t with them. They turned back around to Jerusalem and after three days, they found him in a temple, hearing and asking the doctors questions. When they couldn’t find Jesus, this not only affected Mary, but it affected Joseph, too. His mother said to him, Son, why have you done this to us. Your father and I have sought you sorrowing (Luke 2:48). If Joseph could care for a child who was not his biological son, surely God can send a man to a single mother who will care for her children like they are his own.
God gives some the gift of a husband or wife, and others he gives the gift of being able to stay happily unmarried (1 Corinthians 7:7, TLB).
According to the above scripture, to be married is a gift, but to be ‘happily unmarried’ is also a gift. If God gives you a husband or a wife, He doesn’t want you to treat this gift as we would a toy or a new car. After a certain number of years, some of us want something new or something better, but God doesn’t want us to treat people the way we treat things. He wants us to value what He gives us because what He gives us doesn’t lose value.
This makes me think about the prodigal son. His older brother said he was living with prostitutes (Luke 15:30). When the prodigal son returned home, he told his father he wasn’t worthy to be called his son (Luke 15:19), but what he didn’t realize was the moment he humbled himself and repented to his father for what he had done, everything was restored back to him. And guess what? He was still his father’s son. His father hadn’t changed his mind about him. The reason why the prodigal son was doing the things he did with his body was because he didn’t understand his value, but the good news is he never lost his value. And he didn’t lose his position either (Luke 15:22). He just left it.
He that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:32).
The above scripture tells us what we should be doing while we’re single. Are we faithful to God in this area of our lives? What are we doing with this gift (of being unmarried)? Or maybe we don’t see it as a gift. Are we happily unmarried or are we only happy when we have someone?
Joseph was a good man, a good husband and a good father. He was the type of man that most women would desire to marry. To those ladies who God has promised a husband, there is a ‘Joseph’ for you, but why would God give us (I’m including myself) a ‘Joseph’ if we’re not willing to become a ‘Mary’? Have you ever thought that what you’re expecting from your future husband is what God expects from us, His bride? It was just as important for Mary to be obedient as it was for Joseph to be obedient. Ladies, there is nothing wrong with having standards, but it’s not right to desire for a man to be to you what you fail to be or become for God.
Mary didn’t allow herself to be used by different men, but she offered her body to be used by God. She may have not understood everything Gabriel told her and we know she was afraid (Luke 1:30), but she obeyed. She didn’t resist God. She didn’t fight God. She submitted to Him. Be it unto me according to your word (Luke 1:38). For some of us, that’s been the problem. We’ve been saying yes to what we should be saying no to, and saying no to what we should be saying yes to.
I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’ve gotten involved in relationships that I should have never been in, but so have some of you. I also know that just like the prodigal son’s brother, the enemy will condemn us, remind us of all the things we’ve done wrong and try to make us feel not worthy to be married or remarried again, but God is not looking at what you did then. He is looking at what you’re doing now.
Well, how much longer do I have to wait? I’m not getting any younger. Maybe you’re not waiting on your husband. Maybe your husband is waiting on you. James 5:7 speaks of the farmer who is patient. The reason why he is patient is because he believes that what he’s waiting for is ‘precious’.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, I just want to remind someone today that no matter what you’ve done in the past and no matter how many men have touched you,
You are still precious.
You haven’t lost your value.
And you are worth waiting for.
The apostles prayed for boldness (Acts 4:29-30), but the Lord didn’t give them boldness just to speak His word boldly, but to live His word boldly. Prior to this prayer, Jesus’ disciples scattered after he was arrested. And they all forsook Him and fled (Mark 14:50). Peter denied ever knowing Jesus – three times (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 18).
Some believers call it persecution when someone talks about them or doesn’t like them, but there were men of God that were threatened, tortured, stoned, sawn in half, beaten and imprisoned because they did miracles in the name of Jesus and taught in His name. Let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name (Acts 4:17). Despite the warnings and threats, the apostles kept speaking of what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20). And even after being beaten or sent to prison, they would rejoice and continue to preach the Lord Jesus Christ.
…and when they had called the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:40-42).
The enemy wants us to be afraid because when a person walks in fear, it’s hard for them to walk in power, love and a sound mind – and it is these three things that defeat him (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear has torment with worry, troubles and cares. Fear will even cause you to become silent.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent’ (Acts 18:9, NIV).
John the Baptist preached repentance. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2). And he didn’t care who you were, where you came from or what your title or position was. John the Baptist approached a king (Herod) and told him that what he was doing was wrong. It is not lawful (right) for you to have your brother’s wife (Mark 6:18; Leviticus 20:21). Although Herod and his wife wanted to kill John, he didn’t because he respected the anointing on his life so he placed him in prison instead.
And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet (Matthew 14:5).
Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he continually kept him safe. When he heard John [speak], he was very perplexed, but he enjoyed listening to him (Mark 6:19-20, AMP).
This wasn’t a situation where the surviving brother married his brother’s childless widow so that they may have a child to carry the deceased brother’s name (Deuteronomy 25:5). Herodias was not a widow and she had a daughter. This relationship started out as an adulterous affair.
John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery” (Matthew 14:4, MSG).
John denounced Herod’s marriage to her as adulterous (VOICE).
John the Baptist had now become an enemy to Herodias because he preached the truth to her. He preached something she didn’t want to hear. His message was a call to repent or change, but she didn’t want to change. Maybe John wasn’t telling them to divorce, but to repent for what they had done and to go back to the people they hurt and apologize.
God wasn’t condemning them. He wasn’t trying to humiliate or embarrass them, but people who get easily offended don’t really understand how much God loves them. God didn’t have to send a prophet to Herod and Herodias, but because He is longsuffering and doesn’t want any of us to perish, but instead come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), he sent John.
Herodias knew her husband wasn’t going to kill John so she waited for an opportunity to kill him. And when a convenient day was come (Mark 6:21). That day was Herod’s birthday. He invited very high officials to help him celebrate. During the celebration, Herodias’ daughter danced for him. Maybe you never thought about this, but what kind of dance did she perform that “pleased” her uncle/daddy (and all those men in attendance? And out of excitement and a good feeling, he promised to give her whatever she asked.
After he made this promise to his niece/daughter, she went to her mom to ask what she should she ask for. And she said, The head of John the Baptist (Mark 6:23). Herodias was led by the spirit of Jezebel. And unfortunately, she was leading, teaching and training her daughter to live and behave just like her. According to Revelation 2:20, Jezebel seduces God’s servants to commit fornication. (Her job is to bring down those whom God has exalted and to defile that which is holy and without blemish, leaving them with a spot or wrinkle).
This is the spirit that told Herodias that it was alright to be with her brother-in-law. This is the same spirit that ‘used’ Herodias’ daughter to dance before those men and to kill a prophet. The enemy (in Herodias) knew he couldn’t touch John the Baptist, but all he needed was a body, a willing vessel – someone ignorant and easily deceived – to carry out his plan.
The enemy wasn’t just after John the Baptist because he was a messenger or a prophet, but he wanted to silence him because he was ‘the voice’. He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord (John 1:23).
This is what God has called us to be – the voice! And He doesn’t want us to be afraid of their faces (Jeremiah 1:8). I know sometimes we don’t speak up because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we don’t want anyone to be mad with us, but what we don’t understand is that sometimes our silence is mistaken as agreement. When you refuse to speak against it, they will think that you must be for it. ‘Speaking the truth in love’ doesn’t mean that the truth won’t hurt your feelings or that a person is supposed to speak to you in a sweet, soft voice, but it does mean that someone loves you enough to tell you the truth.
Let me be clear because I don’t want anyone to misinterpret or misunderstand what I’m saying. This blog isn’t about being bold enough to tell people about themselves. This is about taking a bold stand for righteousness. This is about being holy because God is holy.
I remember one day making a comment at work (that wasn’t nice) and the coworker who heard it, laughed, but then she said, ‘I wasn’t expecting that to come out of your mouth’. You talk about conviction. I had to repent. We may not quote scriptures or carry a bible around at work, but people are watching me and they are watching you, too. They know there is something different about you. They are watching how you live and if Jesus could see the faith of the men who brought the paralytic to Him through the roof of a house, then people can see our faith. They may make fun of you or distance themselves from you because of what and Who you believe, but don’t take it personal. They are not distancing themselves from you, but they are distancing themselves from the Light. For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned (John 3:20).
I think about the many times I compromised truth just so that people wouldn’t be angry with me or in hopes that they would like me, and you know what? All those things I did to ‘keep the peace’, gave me no peace. I’m not telling you that fear will not come, but speak anyway – and not just through word only because sometimes the Word you live speaks better than the Word you speak.
Let your life speak. Do not be silent.
[Reference scriptures: Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29]
And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you (1 Samuel 1:11, NLT).
Elkanah had two wives.
Well, that was the first problem.
The second problem was one of his wives, Hannah, was unable to have children. Can you imagine having everything you need to conceive (reproductive organs) only to be unable to produce or to give life? The scriptures never mentioned that she was in this condition because of something she or her parents did or that the devil did this, but it was God who had shut up her womb (1 Samuel 1:5-6).
This woman was unable to do the one thing she should have been able to do for her husband – give him children. Some women don’t know what it’s like to become pregnant while others know what it feels like to carry something inside of them that was once alive only for it to later die. Either way, it can be very disappointing for a woman who desires to be a mother.
Maybe your physical womb isn’t shut up, but maybe there are words or promises that God gave you that seem to be ‘shut up’. Usually when someone uses the term, ‘shut up’, they want you to stop speaking and maybe right now it feels like that vision, dream or promise will never speak (Habakkuk 2:3).
Peninnah isn’t just described as Elkanah’s other wife, but she was also described as one of the names to describe the devil – adversary (1 Samuel 1:6; 1 Peter 5:8). I don’t know how many years this went on, but year after year, her adversary made fun of her. She made her feel bad about not being able to have children and she would provoke her trying to get a reaction. I’m sure Peninnah said things such as:
Elkanah doesn’t really love you.
You will never be a mother.
You will never have children.
Hannah never talked back to her adversary like Jesus did when he was tempted of the devil in the wilderness and soon the words of her adversary made her fret (to be worried, anxious, easily annoyed or irritated). She stopped eating and cried all the time. She was sad and depressed and there was nothing Elkanah could do or say to make her feel better. When Elkanah gave a sacrifice to the Lord, he gave portions of his sacrifice to Peninnah and her children, but because Hannah didn’t have any children, he gave her a worthy or double portion. He loved Hannah more than he loved Peninnah, but that didn’t comfort Hannah either. (That could be one of the reasons why Peninnah hated her so much. Hannah had something (love) that she could never earn despite having many sons and daughters for Elkanah).
You can be married to a wonderful person, but sometimes your spouse doesn’t know what to say or do. Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons? Elkanah meant well, but he just didn’t understand. He was talking to her about something he had never experienced. He already had children. He knew the joy of having children. Hannah didn’t.
But one of the things I love about Hannah was her persistence. When it was time to go to Shiloh every year, she got up, got dressed and went with her husband. She did this faithfully for years. She could have decided to stay home because of her adversary. In fact, that’s exactly what Peninnah wanted her to do, but Hannah didn’t give up.
The next thing that I love about Hannah is she stopped feeling sorry for herself. When she had enough, she got up (vs 9) and did something about her situation. She was bitter, she was angry and she was hurting, but in spite of how she felt, she went to the temple and prayed to the Lord. Only babies cry when they want something because they aren’t able to form words yet, but Hannah wasn’t a baby and it was time for her to grow up. It was time for her to stop crying (about what she didn’t have) and to start talking.
There was nothing wrong with Hannah wanting a child, but why did she want a child? To shut Peninnah up? To say to her, How ya like me now? One of the reasons why our prayers may go unanswered isn’t because God didn’t hear us, but we may have prayed amiss (James 4:3). In other words, we asked for things that would only please us instead of asking for things that would please God.
If, in fact, she did have selfish desires, her desires soon changed. Hannah no longer wanted this child for herself and she promised God that if He gave her a male child that she would give him back to Him. She asked God to give her something that HE could use for Himself and for His glory.
To some people, it may seem harsh that God would shut a woman’s womb, but there was purpose in what He did. God knew exactly what He was doing. If her womb hadn’t been shut up, Hannah would have never sought God the way she did. Sometimes asking isn’t enough. You have to also seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8). And yes, it was a fight. Do you think she always felt like walking to Shiloh with Peninnah alongside her? You don’t think she thought about giving up? It had now been a long time of waiting, but she kept pressing. She kept getting up. She didn’t run from the fight and she didn’t quit when it seemed hard. Instead, she learned how to fight. Lord, teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight (Psalm 144:1).
I told you earlier that Hannah’s husband couldn’t comfort her, but the word did. While Hannah was in the temple, Eli saw her lips moving, but he couldn’t hear what she was saying. Eli assumed that Hannah must have been drinking because of the way she was carrying on in the temple, but the only thing she was pouring out was her heart to God, not wine. After Hannah explained to Eli that she wasn’t drunk, he gave her a word. Go in peace and the God of Israel grant you your petition that you have asked of Him (1 Samuel 1:17). She heard and she believed him. It’s not that the things you are hoping for is impossible. It may be that you got weary and stopped believing along the way. If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believe (Mark 9:23). Hannah had lost hope, but after she received the word, Hannah ate and she was no longer sad. The next morning, they got up early, worshipped the Lord, returned home and she put her faith to work (vs 19).
Elkanah went to the temple every year to sacrifice to the Lord, but I believe Hannah gave a better sacrifice. Before Hannah gave God her son, she gave something better – herself. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. You see, God had a plan, but He needed a willing and obedient vessel to get His plan here on earth. For years, Hannah was just going to the temple, but now she was becoming HIS temple – a place where God could live and do what He wanted to do. Because of the sins of Eli and his sons, God was raising up someone who would do what HE wanted him to do. Samuel was going to be ordained as the prophet of the Lord.
To give something back to someone means you must return it to its owner. So just in case you didn’t know, ‘it’ all belongs to God. I think sometimes we look at giving (and not just money) as a loss – that once we give it away, it’s gone and we’ll probably never get it back again, but that’s not true. If you don’t give what you have, that’s all you will ever have. Look at Hannah. All she prayed for was to have one male child, but the moment she gave him to the Lord, she received more than what she asked for. Hannah gave her ‘first’ and only child to the Lord and He gave her five children (1 Samuel 2:21).
So many times, we want God to give us something, but what are we willing to give to HIM for all that He has given to us? You may want a new car because you’re tired of the old one, but God may want you to use it to transport others. You may want a home because you want your own place and you want some privacy, but God may want you to use that home to start a bible study. You may want more money so you can buy more things for yourself, but God may want you to use that money to care for the needs of others. Some of us think that material things are the blessing, but no – you are the blessing!
Now think about the thing you’ve been constantly praying for. Why do you want it? Remember, God doesn’t want to give us anything that we will honor more than Him. He wants to only give us those things that causes us to remember Him, not to forget Him.
And if God gives it to you, will you give it back to Him?
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:27-28).
honor: to grant someone respect and authority in your life; high esteem made public; to treat with submission
Eli had two sons, Phinehas and Hophni. They were sleeping with the women in the temple, lying and taking the sacrifices that belonged to God for themselves. When it was brought to Eli’s attention what his sons were doing, he rebuked them, but he allowed this wickedness to continue. One day, a man of God went to Eli and reminded him that out of all the tribes of Israel, God chose the tribe (Levi) that he was born into to be priests for Him, to sacrifice upon His altar, to burn incense and to wear priestly robes as they served Him. God made a promise to his ancestors that the tribe of Levi would always be HIS priests, but because Eli honored his sons more than he honored God, his family would die prematurely.
In the meantime, the Israelites went to battle and were defeated by the Philistines. The elders of Israel had this idea to take the ark of the covenant to the next battle in hopes that it would save them. The people carried the ark of the covenant and Eli’s sons stayed with the ark. Isn’t that something? Phinehas and Hophni wouldn’t honor or respect God with their bodies or with their substance, but now they wanted to honor Him – because they wanted something from Him.
But God doesn’t overlook sin. Eli was warned. The people described in Romans 1:18-24 reminded me of Eli’s sons. They exchanged the glory of God for an image that wasn’t of God. They did what they wanted to do. They thought they were wise without Him. They used their bodies for their pleasure, but not for God’s pleasure. Because God didn’t do what they wanted Him to do, they created in their minds ideas of what God was like and what He wanted them to do. They worshipped the god they made instead of the God who made them.
Because the sins continued, the glory of God departed. As a result, Israel lost to the Philistines, the sons died and the ark of the covenant was stolen by the Philistines. When Eli heard the news, he fell backwards off of the seat and broke his neck. When Eli’s daughter-in-law heard about it, she died during childbirth and the baby was named Ichabod, meaning the glory is departed from Israel.
Someone once told me, God is everywhere. He is at every church.
God is everywhere, but His glory isn’t.
Everyone likes to have ‘good church’, but God desires us to be a ‘changed church’. The glory of God is described as God’s greatness, presence, power, beauty and character, but in 2 Corinthians 3:18, we read that the purpose of God’s glory is to change us into His image. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Sometimes when people read that scripture, they read it as something that will happen after we leave this earth, but this is what God wants to do in us now.
When the glory of God appears, we see God as He is. In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the Lord (Isaiah 6:1). He also saw seraphims crying to one another, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. He not only saw the image of God, but he saw himself and the people he hung around. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5). Revelation just doesn’t come so you can have knowledge of something, but it comes to bring transformation. He saw who he was, but he also saw what he should become. This is why we need His glory.
After Isaiah confessed his sins, one of the seraphims took a live coal from the altar and laid it on Isaiah’s mouth and said, This has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged (Isaiah 6:7). If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And that’s what He did for Isaiah upon his confession. After Isaiah spoke, God spoke. Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Because of the change that took place in Isaiah, God knew that when Isaiah spoke, he would be speaking for HIM and for all of heaven. God needs someone who will say what HE said and not what they want to say.
But I don’t want to confine God’s glory to a temple (the church building) because our bodies are also called the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (1 Corinthians 6:16).
It has always been God’s desire to live in us and to walk in us, but we must first do something. Come out from among them, and be ye separate (remember Isaiah was in the midst of a people with unclean lips), says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:16-17). In other words, change. Change your ways. Change who/what you hang around. Change what you’ve been doing. Change what you’ve been listening to. Change what you’ve been speaking.
Have you ever lost something good and wished you could get it back? Can you imagine what it was like when the Spirit of God departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14)? I don’t want you and I to ever know what it feels like to not feel God’s presence or to not hear His voice. So, we must do what Eli didn’t do.
Paul urged children in Ephesians 6:2 to honor their parents. How do children honor their parents? By obeying them. And just like a parent, God is honored when His children do what He tells us to do. This people draw nigh to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me (Matthew 15:8). Honor is not just spoken. It is shown.
Prayer: Lord, help us to honor You in everything we do and not just what we say.
[References: 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-36; 1 Samuel 4; Isaiah 6:1-8]