THE LION AND THE LAMB

Rev. 5:5,6 – And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 

I read this sermon, THE EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST, by Jonathan Edwards for the first time flying across the ocean returning from a ministry trip. This is one of my top 3 favorite messages. I wept most of the way through this message the first time I read it, struck by the diverse excellencies of Jesus, the lamb of God and the lion of the tribe of Judah. This is exactly what brought the Apostle John to tears in his vision of the lion and the lamb, to see such strength and weakness in the same person takes your breath away. That is what Edwards built on in this sermon; justice and mercy, submission and sovereignty, all sufficient and dependent, holy and intimate, jealous and kind. To see these opposite qualities displayed in Jesus, the Son of God changes your entire perspective of this person, Jesus Christ. Here are a few quotes from Edwards sermon, THE EXCELLENCY OF CHRIST.   

“Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth: for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven. So great is he, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him, all nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance; yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before him. He is so high, that he is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we cannot be profitable to him, and above our conceptions, that we cannot comprehend him. And yet he is one of infinite condescension. None are so low, or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of them. He condescends to take notice of beggars, and of servants, and people of the most despised nations…”
Have you seen Jesus like this for yourself. Even though He is holy and unapproachable, He is calling us into intimate fellowship with Himself. Even though He is glorified on His throne and given a name above every name, He has called us to be seated with Him on His throne. Despite the fact that our sins are many and disgusting, He sees us with mercy, acceptance, and love. Justice and mercy are seen clearly in Him, justice and mercy have reconciled at the cross of Jesus. Take a look at Jesus again, maybe you will see something of what John saw, the Lion and the Lamb

CHRIST IN ME

He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine
and making it known to you.

John 16:14
Our life is drastically different from the unsaved population of the world. It is way different than any of us can even perceive. We taste the edge of what has happened in our lives and it is annihilating. What makes our lives so different? We are actually inhabited by Christ. His Spirit is in us and on us, there couldn’t be anything more profound. The scary thing is this, some people think Christ is in them and are casual about it, how can you be casual about the greatest of all beings, the creator Himself, inhabiting us? He has brought us into the most profound life possible, we share the very life of Christ. His life in us should change everything; our purpose, our loves, the things we enjoy. He has not only given us life, He has become our life. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray about this supernatural existence we share. 
“The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Christ in order that the life of the Godhead might dwell in us. All this is in Christ. Our entire life exists in union with Christ. As the branch is in the vine, so we are in Christ and He in us. Each new day we must begin with this conviction: Christ lives in me and the Holy Spirit will make this a reality for me. Count on the quiet, unseen working of the Holy Spirit in your heart. This truth is so profound and so divine that it is almost beyond our grasp. Yet the Holy Spirit, who is God, will reveal it to us. Cling to Christ in childlike faith and trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in you in order that Christ living in you can be a reality. In childlike faith, fix your heart upon Christ on the cross and upon Christ on the throne. As you do this, the Holy Spirit will reveal Christ to you and in you. You will be able to confidently say, ‘Christ lives in me! Christ is my life!’”

So make a choice today, that from this day forward you are going to take advantage of this treasure that has been entrusted to you. Stir up His presence in your life; read your Bible with anticipation, drink in His presence in worship, pray in the Spirit. Make a determination that today, and everyday, you are going to enjoy this life that has been given to you. 

WORK TO ENTER REST

Is. 26:3 – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. 

Let’s face it, the world is filled with trouble. People are filled with trouble, and if we aren’t careful, their troubles will swallow us up. It is a promise but a tricky endeavor to be in the world but not of it. Have you found the key to that kind of life? It boils down to this, you have to be filled with a supernatural peace to be unaffected by the world. How do you get there? That’s the tricky part, the Bible says to labor, even strive, to enter that rest. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes it. 
“In the old creation, the week began with work and ended with Sabbath rest. The resurrection week begins with the first day-first rest, then labor. So we must first cease from our own works as God did from His, and enter into His rest. And then, with rested hearts, we will work His works with effectual power. But why labor to enter into rest? See that sailing craft-how restfully it glides over the waters, its canvas swelling with the wind and borne without an effort! And yet, look at that man at the helm. See how firmly he holds the rudder, bearing against the wind, and holding her steady to her position. Let him for a moment relax his steady hold and the vessel will fall listlessly along the wind. The sails will flap, the waves will toss the craft at their will, and all rest and power will have gone. It is the fixed helm that brings the steadying power of the wind. The steady will and stayed heart are ours. The keeping is the Lord’s. So let us labor to enter and abide in His rest.”
So maybe, even probably, you are facing some kind of stormy seas in your life. The Master is at the helm, we can rest in His care. How can I be sure? That is where the laboring part comes in. We have to press in to the peace of God. Seek Him in the Bible, seek Him in worship and prayer. Draw near to Him and allow His peace to become yours. Before you know it the tension in the world will be all around you but not in you, then you know you have begun to enter the rest of God. 

DRUNK AGAIN

Eat, O friend; yea, drink; yea, be drunken.
SOS 5:1
I often think of a revival video of Kenneth Hagin that was recorded not long before he went to be with the Lord. He was ministering at what seemed to be a minister’s conference when the anointing fell on him powerfully, actually it fell on almost everyone at the meeting. Brother Hagin was incredibly intoxicated and filled with joy, he was obviously enjoying the presence of the Lord. One thing that I vividly remember from the video was him stoping in front of several prominent ministers and crying out, “Drunk again!” It was really quite funny and seemed to be setting everyone off, the more they laughed apparently the drunker they got. That is one of the things about spiritual drinking or spiritual intoxication. There is actually no such thing as overdoing it. With worldly behavior moderation is the key. There is no such guidelines when it comes to spiritual intoxication. It seems like more is actually better. Jonathan Edwards actually came to the same conclusion. Here are some of his comments from today’s verse. 
“If the greatest good that God gives them is himself, what can God give more than himself? He gives himself with all his attributes, power, glory, dominion, and majesty. And he gives himself in the highest possible enjoyment to his people, as much as they can desire, or are capable of. And he gives himself to fully satisfy their happiness. For giving himself, he gives all things. Therefore Christ says to his people, “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved”. There is no such thing as excess in our taking of this spiritual food. There is no such virtue as temperance in spiritual feasting.”
If you think about it, the Lord loves to display His glory and His goodness. How does He do that? The greatest way is in the life of His sons and daughters. We used to delight in other things (those other things were often sketchy at best). Now that we have tasted that the Lord is good He has actually become our highest joy. The more we delight in Him the happier we become. Direct contact with the Lord through worship, prayer, the word, or ministry sometimes causes our cup to overflow. This can result in strange, somewhat intoxicating behavior. Before you get all judgmental or self righteous judging something you have never experienced just stop for a moment. Maybe, just maybe, there is more available to you in Christ than you know and maybe it is all about His glory and your joy. 

PEACE FROM ANOTHER WORLD

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you. 
John 14:27
There are different kinds of peace that we can enjoy in this world. There is the peaceful calm at the sunrise, sometimes its like the world is waiting in silence for God’s next great adventure. Then there is a peace that comes when it appears by natural circumstances that we are in a place of provision and safety. There is also a peace that comes after a fruitful day of hard work, gratification that your labor will be well rewarded. All of these things are natural and subject to change without notice. The peaceful sunrise can give way to a catastrophic storm. Our peaceful circumstances can be blown away in an instant by a barrage of bad news. Our labor can be swallowed by famine or thievery; in all of these cases our peace is more of a facade than a place of refuge. Today’s verse describes a different kind of peace, the peace of God Himself that has nothing to do with our circumstances. Watchman Nee describes this peace in his comments on today’s verse. 
“It is not just a question of peace but of “my peace.” It is not only that God gives me peace but that “the peace of God,” the deep undisturbedness of God, keeps my heart. We get troubled when things go wrong, but let us realize something else. God chose this world to be the arena of His plan, the center of what He has set Himself to do….He is not afraid to wait another thousand years if need be. That is the peace which is given to us. Paul says the peace of God should be a garrison for my heart. What does that mean? It means that a foe must first fight through the garrison to reach me. The garrison must be overcome before my heart can be touched. So I dare to be as peaceful as God, for the peace of God—that peace which is keeping God—is keeping me.”
So don’t allow good times or bad times to deceive you; both are liars that turn our hearts away from the source of peace that is bigger than all of our fears. There is a shelter from life’s storms which ultimately conquers all of the storms of life. What is that shelter? Of course it is the peace we find in the very arms of God. 

HE HEARS OUR PRAYER

Psa. 65:1,2 ¶ Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed. O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.   
Did you ever think that prayer was a little unusual? You talk to someone who is unseen as if He knows everything and can do anything. Actually, He can and He does. He knows our struggles, our worries, our doubts, and even our temptations. He can actually relate because He has been there, He became a man and was tempted in all ways like we are. He is still a man praying for you every day. Somehow, even with 7 billion people, He listens to our individual prayers. He not only listens but He answers. He hears and answers your prayers. Here are some powerful thoughts on prayer from Charles Spurgeon. 

“All the bread your soul has eaten has come down from heaven, and all the water of which it has drank has flowed from the living rock-Christ Jesus the Lord. Your soul has never grown rich in itself; it has always been a pensioner upon the daily bounty of God; and hence your prayers have ascended to heaven for a range of spiritual mercies all but infinite. Your wants were innumerable, and therefore the supplies have been infinitely great, and your prayers have been as varied as the mercies have been countless. Then have you not cause to say, I love the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplication? For as your prayers have been many, so also have been God’s answers to them. He has heard you in the day of trouble, has strengthened you, and helped you, even when you dishonored him by trembling and doubting at the mercy-seat. Remember this, and let it fill your heart with gratitude to God, who has thus graciously heard your poor weak prayers. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”
So what do you stand in need of today? God loves our need of Him. He delights in answered prayer, He is glorified and our joy is made complete by answered prayer. Do you need strength to overcome temptation? Tell Him. Are you facing health challenges or financial distress? Call upon Him in your time of trouble, He will answer. Do you feel all alone and abandoned? This is where the Lord really shines, He loves to come to you Himself, He is a very present help in times of trouble. 

Restless

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS- 

“My bowels, my bowels! I writhe! The walls of my heart! My heart is restless within me, I cannot keep silent, for I hear [in] my inner self the sound of a horn, [the] alarm of war.” Jer. 4:19

Living upon this planet at this moment in time should aways captivate our hearts for more. Why were we born? What is my purpose? Have I gotten caught in the here and now? Do I, or have I surrendered to His will and let things become weightless? Kevin Ott calls it “Inconsolable motion” (the motion that refuses obstinately, passionately, religiously to be comforted or lulled into slowing or stopping. It refuses to settle and fears self-contentment. It’s always straining to see what’s beyond the horizon. Its eyes are “impregnated with distance”.) My friend there is always more that God wants to reveal of himself in us and through us. Not that we try to gain more in this world, we gain more of Christ. We become enlarged in our restlessness. 

I have always loved the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, where Jesus meets up with some disciples right after his resurrection. After they brake bread together Jesus vanishes and their eyes were open. Did not our heart burn within us…? (Luke 24:32) When the uncomfortable comes knocking, open the door because more than likely he is up to something big. Oswald Chambers says, “We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, fires are set ablaze, and we are given wonderful visions; but then we must learn to maintain the secret of the burning heart— a heart that can go through anything. It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart— unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.”

Kevin Ott goes onto to say, ‘this humble longing, will take you to something grand. It will grow to massive proportions. You will suddenly want to look along the beam of creation itself, to see the grand tapestry of meaning that encloses on every side and to see how everything in the caused world, from the galaxies beyond the Milky Way to the sea stars in the tide pool, work as point-markers to the Uncaused Someone behind it’. 

Lets not get to settled on this side of heaven nor get caught up on the rabble of voices. Become impregnated with God.