THE PLACE WHERE THE SUN DOESN’T SHINE

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

This may come across as strange to you but one place the sun doesn’t shine is heaven. Now don’t take this the wrong way, heaven could never be a place of darkness. Actually it could be called the City of Light, the only place that never has shadows. No sun, no shadows, how is this even possible? The answer, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is that there is no need for a sun because Jesus Himself is the light of the city. After all, the natural sun is just a picture or image of the real light. The real light is Christ Himself, the light of the world. Heaven will not need a sun, or streetlights or lamps on the inside of any building. The light of heaven will penetrate every crack and crevice of every life. We will see the fulfillment of the last prophesy of the Old Testament, Mal.4:2 – “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall”. Here are some thoughts from R. C. Sproul on today’s verse.

“Revelation 21 and 22 describe the holy city coming down out of heaven. Strangely, it is described as a place where the sun does not shine. There are no candles nor moon nor artificial source of light. You would think that such a place would be bathed in perpetual darkness, but the author of Revelation tells us there is no need of sun or artificial light in heaven because the glory of God and the radiance of his Son bathe the holy city in light perpetually. The glow from the face of God—the manifestation of his glory—illuminates every inch of the kingdom of heaven. The light of the glory of God is never extinguished, which is why the apostle says “. . . to whom be glory forever.” The glory of God began in eternity and will continue for eternity. When we come into God’s presence to worship him, the only appropriate response is reverence, awe, humility, and submission. The contemporary church all too often displays a cavalier approach to worship. Many have no idea about the one they are dealing with, the one for whom the angels themselves have to cover their eyes when they sing of his glory.”

Heaven is going to be better than any of us could ever know. It is the City of Light. As we finish our journey on earth we must remember, this life is almost over; the real life is about to start.

HOLINESS SUITS YOU

Ps.93:5 -Your testimonies are fully confirmed; Holiness befits Your house, O LORD, forevermore.

Just as Israel kept being pulled into the world’s quagmire, the church tends to struggle with the foolish distractions of this world’s culture. This scripture shows the foolishness of falling prey to this culture’s allurements. What is the solution? Why its right there in today’s verse; holiness befits you. In other words, you wear holiness well. This reminds me of the shocking changes that began in my life when I was converted at the age of 21. No one gave me a list of the do’s and don’t’s of Christianity, I think the “list” was written on my heart. The things I had lived for; alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity; became unattractive to me. Rather than being driven for my next high, I began to find pleasure and comfort reading the Bible and being with my new Christian friends. There was an about face in my life that was not dictated but was flowing from deep within, holiness had settled down deep into my life. Here is how Spurgeon describes today’s verse.

“As in providence the throne of God is fixed beyond all risk, so in revelation his truth is beyond all question. Other teachings are uncertain, but the revelations of heaven are infallible. As the rocks remain unmoved amid the tumult of the sea, so does divine truth resist all the currents of man’s opinion and the storms of human controversy; they are not only sure, but very sure. Glory be to God, we have not been deluded by a cunningly devised fable: our faith is grounded upon the eternal truth of the Most High. Holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever. Truth changes not in its doctrines, which are very sure, nor holiness in its precepts, which are incorruptible. The teaching and the character of God are both unaltered. God has not admitted evil to dwell with him, he will not tolerate it in his house, he is eternally its enemy, and is for ever the sworn friend of holiness. The church must remain unchanged, and for ever be holiness unto the Lord; yea, her King will preserve her undefiled by the intruder’s foot.”

So the church does not have to dress itself up in the popular attire of this world to make it attractive, it is beautiful dressed in the garments of the Lord. So go ahead and dress yourself up today. How do you do that? Draw near to the Lord and He will cloth you with His beautiful garments.

ENTER THE HOLIEST

Heb.10:19 – Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,

This is the ultimate treasure available to all of us, we have been called to enter into the holiest of all. To the Old Testament Hebrew this is unthinkable. The holiest was the inner sanctum of the temple only accessible once a year by the High Priest. He would come in on the Day of Atonement and offer blood for the covering of their sins. The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus did this one time so that anyone who believes in Him could enter into the holiest, into Christ Himself, and make this his new home. We don’t need a priest to go in for us, we can go in ourselves and live in this new way of life. Unthinkable!!!. Here is how Andrew Murray described it.

“The blood of the Lamb! Oh think what it means. God gave it for your redemption. God accepted it when His Son entered heaven and presented it on your behalf. God has it for ever in His sight as the fruit, the infinitely well-pleasing proof, of His Son’s obedience unto death. God points you to it and asks you to believe in the divine satisfaction it gives to Him, in its omnipotent energy, in its everlasting sufficiency. Oh, will you not this day believe that that blood gives you, sinful and feeble as you are, liberty, confidence, boldness to draw nigh, to enter the very Holiest? Yes, believe it, that the blood and the blood alone, brings you into the very presence, into the living and abiding fellowship of the everlasting God. And let your response to God’s message concerning the blood, and the boldness it gives you be nothing less than this, that this very moment you go with the utmost confidence, and take your place in the most intimate fellowship with God.”

This is why Jesus became a man, He offered His blood and entered into heaven itself on our behalf. Now man can not only approach the throne of God to receive answers to prayer, we can come into His presence and live in this new and living way. Christ opened up heaven for us, this is way more than just everlasting life, it is life in the immediate presence of Almighty God. This is a brand new way to live our lives.

NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

Thou shalt call his name Jesus.

Matt.1:21

 

The angel’s message to Joseph so many years ago has brought hope to every generation and to every tribe and tongue. ‘Call His Name Jesus’. This Name has become the Name above all names. His Name is like a song or like oiled poured out. This Name brings peace, healing, courage, purity, and power. In His Name we are freed from sin, filled with a love for the hurting, and empowered to reach the nations with the power of the gospel.

Whatever state you find yourself in this Christmas season The Name of the Lord is your place of protection. Jesus promised to be with us until the end and will be with us even in the darkest of times. Here are Spurgeon’s thoughts on today’s verse.

 

 

 

 

“Whether he be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend; whether he be styled the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world-the King, the Prophet, or the Priest-every title of our Master-Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counsellor-every name is like the honeycomb dropping with honey, and luscious are the drops that distill from it. But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer’s ear, it is the name of Jesus. Jesus! it is the name which moves the harps of heaven to melody. Jesus! the life of all our joys. If there be one name more charming, more precious than another, it is this name. It is woven into the very warp and woof of our psalmody. Many of our hymns begin with it, and scarcely any, that are good for anything, end without it. It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; an ocean for comprehension, although a drop for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters.”

When the Lord gave this word to Joseph he experienced a life change. There is something about that Name that always changes lives. Joseph went from depressed and fearful to a man of courage, purpose, and joy. He took Mary for his wife, defied Herod and his soldiers, and provided a family and provision for the Son of God. Maybe you are facing discouragement or depression this Christmas, call His Name Jesus and you can be brought out into a place of joy.

LION, CALF, MAN, AND EAGLE

noah-grezlak-66413.jpg

Rev. 4:6,7 ¶ And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.

This verse is part of an amazing glimpse into the scene in heaven where the Lord is being worshipped by the angels and those redeemed from sin from every tribe on the earth. John gives us a glimpse into the function of the mysterious seraphim that are closely connected to the throne of God. In Isaiah’s vision, as well as the one in Revelations, these “burning ones” are caught up in worship. They apparently lead the worship in heaven. Once there was five of these creatures before one of them fell. You know the one; Lucifer, the chief worship leader in heaven. These amazing angelic beings are totally caught up with the holiness of God. You can almost hear them if you stop and listen, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory. Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty; the One who was and is and is to come”.

The early church fathers used to connect these four creatures to the four gospels. I like Augustine’s version. He said that Matthew corresponded to the lion, Mark to the man, Luke to the calf, and John to the eagle. These comparisons are quite interesting.

Matthew was the gospel written for the Jewish people. Think about it, the lion of the tribe of Judah. The first verse in Matthew refers to Jesus as the Messiah, the son of David. Of course Jesus is that messianic king portrayed by the lion and He rules all things with His mighty word. Mark is said to correspond with the creature with the face of a man. Mark’s gospel was written for the gentiles, the people of the nations. In Mark’s gospel we see Jesus as a man, the Son of Man. We also see Him moved with compassion as He ministers to the hurting members of humankind.

Next is Luke. His gospel starts in the temple and ends in the temple. The calf, the sacrifice of blood for the cleansing of sin, is the picture of Luke’s gospel. Luke gives us a portrayal of Jesus praying in Gethsemane, sweating great drops of blood. He is surely our heavenly high priest. Finally there is John pictured by the eagle. The eagle is known for soaring to the heights and for his incredible vision. This unveils the revelation of Jesus we find in John’s gospel. John takes us to the heights as we see Jesus as the Son of God from eternity clothed with human flesh. In John we find the pinnacle of the Father’s revelation, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

DARE TO BE HOLY

Precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.
2 Peter 1:4

You don’t hear much talk or preaching about being holy nowadays. It’s kind of like holiness is out of style. Why would God expect us to be holy in this filthy world? Could it be because He is holy and He wants us to be like Him? Actually He took that to incredibly extreme measures when He offered His only Son as a sin offering at the cross. He took our sins so we could be forgiven. We are considered holy by the Lord when we believe in His offer of salvation. He wasn’t content to leave it there. We are not only considered holy, He actually makes us holy by sending the Holy Spirit to live this new life inside of everyone who believes in Him and yields to His love. He wants us to show His life as a contrast to what the world offers. Here are some thoughts from A.B. Simpson on this holiness.
“God’s motives are always loving! I have known people who seemed to be terrified by God’s loving desire that we should reflect His own holiness and goodness. As God’s faithful children, we should be attracted to holiness, for holiness Godlikeness-likeness to God! God encourages every Christian believer to follow after holiness. We know who we are and we know who God is. He does not ask us to be God and He does not ask us to produce the holiness that only He Himself knows. Only God is holy absolutely: all other beings can be holy only in relative degrees. Actually, it is amazing and wonderful that God should promise us the privilege of sharing in His nature. He remembers we were made of dust. So He tells us what is in His being as He thinks of us: “It is My desire that you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Me. I want you to be more like Jesus, My eternal Son, every day you live!”
So dare to be holy. Determine you will not settle for a form of godliness, religious principles and teachings with no power. Press on to know the Lord. As you draw close to Him, more and more of His nature will be yours. You will see that there is a better life available and God will be glorified.

THE LORD IS GOD

Psa. 100:3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;

We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Psa. 100:5 For the LORD is good;

His mercy is everlasting,

And His truth endures to all generations.
For many years now I have read from the book of Psalms almost everyday. Most are written by David and are still permeated with his love and pursuit of the presence of God. In today’s two verses from Psalm 100 we see an incredible revelation of our God. Here are some comments from Matthew Henry on this amazing Person and some of my observations following Henry’s quotes. Enjoy!

“That the Lord he is God, the only living and true God; that he is a being infinitely perfect, self-existent, and self-sufficient, and the fountain of all being.”
Wow! We are sustained and satisfied by this unspeakable person.

2. “That he is our Creator: It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves. We do not, we could not make ourselves; it is God’s prerogative to be his own cause; our being is derived and depending.”
This is why we are totally dependent on the Lord.

3. That therefore he is our rightful owner. The Masorites, by altering one letter in the Hebrew, read it, “He made us, and his we are, “or, “to him we belong.” Put both the readings together, and we learn, that because God “made us, and not we ourselves, “therefore we are not our own but his.
The fact that He created us gives Him ownership. What a place of safety, owned by God.

4. That he is our sovereign Ruler. We are his people, or subjects, and he is our prince, our rector or governor, that gives laws to us as moral agents, and will call us to an account for what we do.
He rules all things, this too is a place of safety and assurance in times of trouble.

5. That he is our bountiful Benefactor;we are not only his sheep whom he is entitled to, but the sheep of his pasture, whom he takes care of.
No one can touch me, I live in the Shepherd’s hand.

6. That he is a God of infinite mercy and good; The Lord is good, and therefore doth good; his mercy his everlasting.
His presence is a manifestation of these qualities, mercy and goodness.

7. That he is a God of inviolable truth and faithfulness; His truth endureth to all generations, and no word of his shall fall to the ground as antiquated or revoked.
His words are guaranteed, I can base my life on His written word.

BLESS HIS HOLY NAME

Psa. 103:1 ¶ Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!
Solomon said that the name of the Lord was like fragrant ointment poured out. Have you ever sensed the sweetness of the glory of the Lord? His glory is closely associated with His name. In the Old Testament, the glory of the Lord was unapproachable, only the high priest could go before the Lord on our behalf. Because of Jesus, we all now have access into His presence. There is a sweetness about the Name of Jesus that is like no other. We can actually experience the glory of His presence because of the preciousness of His name. Here is how Jonathan Edwards connects the glory of the Lord to His beautiful name.
“And the same illustrious brightness and effulgence in the pillar of cloud that appeared in the wilderness, and dwelt above the mercy-seat in the tabernacle and temple, so often called the glory of the LORD, is also often called the name of the LORD. Because God’s glory was to dwell in the tabernacle, therefore he promises, Exodus 29:43: “There will I meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.” And the temple was called the house of God’s glory, Isaiah 60:7. In like manner, the name of God is said to dwell in the sanctuary. Thus we often read of the place that God chose, to put his name there: or, as it is in the Hebrew, to cause his NAME to inhabit there. So it is sometimes rendered by our translators, as Deuteronomy 12:11. “Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there.” And the temple is often spoken of as built for God’s name. And in Psalm 74:7, the temple is called the dwelling-place of God’s name. The mercy-seat in the temple was called the throne of God’s name or glory, Jeremiah 14:21. “Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake do not disgrace the throne of thy glory.” Here God’s name and his glory seem to be spoken of as the same.”
In the Old Testament the name of the Lord was so holy no one dared to utter His name. Today we can call on the Name of Jesus. There is no other name given to man for his salvation. The name of Jesus is like fragrant oil poured out. Shout His name, whisper His name, worship His powerful name.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless his holy name!”

SEE HIM IN HIS BEAUTY !

MERRY MONDAY- Parris Bailey

Blaise Pascal said, “The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world, next to the might of the Spirit of God.”
Psalms 29:1 Worship The Lord in the Beauty of Holiness”

This past weekend the Boque Falaya River overflowed its banks right outside my house. I was mystified watching it change from this clear gentle 4ft deep river to 8ft and raging. Frank and I were on red alert- water surrounded our little island of property. I even opened my windows that night to hear the sound of the mighty river raging. The next night the frogs sang me to sleep. The last two days, I made it a point to sit by this river, read and try to take in THE BEAUTY OF HIS HOLINESS. That river painted a picture to me of how my life has been the past few weeks/even months. Full of distractions that rise and fall, causing my soulish nature to be caught up in self preservation and distrust. God’s holiness is reflected in His beauty and attractiveness. It is his “utterly unique divine essence”. (Piper) Piper goes onto to say, “God’s holiness is his drawing, pulling, tugging splendor. For the wicked, God’s holiness is revolting. For the awakened, the great works of regeneration and sanctification bring true spiritual delight to the holy. ”
Thomas Watson said, “After the fall, the affections were misplaced on wrong objects; in sanctification, they are turned into a sweet order and harmony, the grief placed on sin, the love on God, the joy on heaven.” The beauty of His Holiness is described as: His glorious sanctuary, holy attire, the vestments of the sanctuary, the beautiful robes of the priesthood, in other words true holiness of the soul.
The Preachers Commentary says, “He who cannot find God in His works, is likely to miss Him in His Word.” Do I wake up amazed at another day of His presence? Am I thankful just to be or am I always wanting something more than His love? I have had the privilege of being able to teach the Song of Solomon twice a week to a small group of women. The beauty of holiness is the magnificence, glory, excellency, honor of holiness. It is His splendor that we are seeking-the beauty, comeliness, excellency and glory of Him. The Israel people were commanded to worship The Lord in the beauty of holiness. (1 Chron.16:29& 2Chron.20:21)I am quite sure when we spend our time doing this, our day will certainly turn out “amazed by Him again”. Whatever is distracting you, it can wait for another moment.
Richard Baxter (Puritan) wrote that holiness is… Nothing else but the habitual and predominant devotion and dedication of soul, and body, and life, and all that we have to God; and esteeming, and loving, and serving, and seeking Him, before all the pleasures and prosperity of the flesh. Horatius Bonar wrote that holiness extends to every part of our person, fills up our being, spreads over our life, influences everything we are, or do, or think, or speak, or plan, small or great, outward or inward, negative or positive, our loving, our hating, our sorrowing, our rejoicing, our recreations, our business, our friendships, our relationships, our silence, our speech, our reading, our writing, our going out and our coming in—our whole man in every movement of spirit, soul, and body.

ENTER INTO THE HOLIEST

ENTER INTO THE HOLIEST

Heb. 10:19,22 ¶ Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Let us draw near…

This passage of scripture proved to be life changing for me several years after my conversion. I was going through an unusually challenging time in my Christian walk when this passage of scripture became real in my life. When I saw it, the news seemed too good to be true. I actually had access into a new way of life because of the death of Christ. Not just a ticket to heaven, but an introduction to a new quality of life. Life in the presence of God, the Christian life lived entirely behind the veil had become real to me. Of course this message is powerful in any season of your life but when your everyday circumstance seem to be unbearable, life behind the veil is the greatest of good news. This was better than a change of circumstances, this was an introduction to a whole new quality of life. Andrew Murray preached powerfully about this message in his classic commentary on Hebrews, The Holiest of All. Here is a snippet from his book.

“Enter into the Holiest. It is a call to the Hebrews to come out of the life of unbelief and sloth, that leads to a departing from the living God, and to enter into the promised land, the rest of God, a life in His fellowship and favor. It is a call to all lukewarm, half-hearted Christians, no longer to remain in the outer court of the tabernacle, content with the hope that their sins are pardoned. Nor even to be satisfied with having entered the Holy Place, and there doing the service of the tabernacle, while the veil still hinders the full fellowship with the living God and His love. It calls to enter in through the rent veil, into the place into which the blood has been brought, and where the High Priest lives, there to live and walk and work always in the presence of the Father. It is a call to all doubting, thirsting believers, who long for a better life than they have yet known, to cast aside their doubts, and to believe that there is what Christ has indeed done and brought within the reach of each one of us: He has opened the way into the Holiest! This is the salvation which He has accomplished, and which He lives to apply in each of us, so that we indeed dwell in the full light of God’s countenance.”

If you are dissatisfied with your current Christian experience, if deep in your heart there is the cry, “There must be more!”, this is where your search will end. There is a place of life, actually it is the place called heaven, that is actually available for all Christians in this life. It is what Paul called the pledge of the Spirit, the literal taste of the unspeakable life to come. This is why Jesus came. He is the Forerunner to life behind the veil.