Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sanctuary of Tranquility: When Song Lyrics Touch Your Heart...

Sanctuary of Tranquility: When Song Lyrics Touch Your Heart...: I love to lift the Lord in praise, and music is my favorite way of doing it. I have a handful of artists , that I prefer, one of which is H...

When Song Lyrics Touch Your Heart...

I love to lift the Lord in praise, and music is my favorite way of doing it. I have a handful of artists, that I prefer, one of which is Hillsong. Hillsong is an exceptionally gifted group of musicians who preform from their church, of the same name, in Australia.
Some of the lyrics to one of their songs, a song called  'Hosanna' have been stuck in my mind for weeks now.

In this world of casualness, we are becoming immune to the things going on around us. We tune out the news and world events, yet our ears manage to hear and our brains manage to store the dates and times of sales at Macy's, releases of new movies, upcoming concerts we may want to attend and other things of equal value. We pray for a raise, a better job, college money for our kids, a new car and we ignore the important stuff, the Kingdom Stuff. 
I believe that when someone or something 'sticks' in our hearts and heads it is because our Father wants it so. I love some people who are not even in my life right now, but they are stuck. Permanently placed in my heart by God, who for whatever reason, wants it that way. For whatever He does in our hearts He does it to draw us closer to Him. 
The same goes with music, poetry  or even a conversation with a stranger. A few weeks ago as Brooke Ligertwood prayed out the bridge of the song 'Hosanna', the words "Break my heart for what breaks yours" really resonated with me. I don't know why. Goodness knows I've heard that song a hundred times, yet for some reason, they stuck. I now think about those words nearly every day. They burn in my heart. They burn in my heart because I am becoming more like Him, I have prayed to and now as I look around I can clearly see why... 
His heart is breaking...

His heart is breaking because He is a God of first and second and third and forth chances. And we are a world of people who walk right over the top of those chances without a care...nope not one! We have read the Bible so we know it's coming...there will be no more floods..that beautiful Rainbow in the sky was his promise of that...but there are other ways...other things He is allowing...but not for long. 

In my own little city I see such diversity. So many heart breaking things...People who will never have enough and others who for whatever reason, battle to stay afloat from day to day. Interestingly enough, it turns out that lower-income people tend to donate a much larger share of their discretionary incomes than wealthier people do. Wow! That floored me.
Based upon information obtained from The Chronicle of Philanthropy; in my own community, people with an income level of $25,000 per year or less, have a giving level of  8.34%.  Those who's income is $25-$50,000 give 4.7% and sadly it plummets from there. The people who have the lowest giving level are those who's income is between $100 and $200,000 per year.
Sad story. Is it any wonder that in the book of Mark, Jesus addresses this very issue with this scripture "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
His heart is breaking....

We live in a world with a huge lack of faith. A world that is fueled by selfishness and greed. A people who are afraid they won't have enough for themselves if they give the first tenth God asks for. People who haven't any clue the bountiful rewards that He will gift them with if they only choose to have Faith in Him. I want to shake people sometimes to open their hearts and minds to this wonderful opportunity they have..and are ignoring... 
His heart is breaking...

Nearly 50% of pregnancies that occur yearly are unwanted with nearly ½ of those pregnant women terminating their pregnancy. In essence; 42 million choose to terminate their pregnancy with close to half of those (20 million) being illegal. On average, women give at least 3 reasons for choosing abortion: 3/4 say that having a baby would interfere with their work, school or other responsibilities; about 3/4 say they cannot afford a child; and 1/2 say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner, 12% of women included a physical problem with their health among reasons for having an abortion and only one per cent (of aborting women) reported that they were the survivors of rape. 
His heart is breaking...

And is it any wonder why? 
Can there be any question in anyone's mind about why He would be a little upset? He made us all beautiful in his image yet we are not happy with that image. We must dye it, tattoo it, pierce it and more. I end with a quote from Ann Voscamp "We repent of taking pride in what we see in mirrors more than what You, God, see in our hearts, for being part of a culture that spent $11 billion last year on face lifts, Botox injections, and unnecessary aesthetic cosmetic augmentations -- when $12 billion could eliminate world illiteracy in five years, $15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, and $1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work. Forgive us God for caring more about our faces, then facing Your face." 
His heart is breaking... 
Is yours?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Christophanies and Theophanies

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Christophanies and Theophanies: One of the first Bible Studies I ever participated in was a study of the book of Daniel. At the time, I was fairly new in my faith and had ...

Christophanies and Theophanies

One of the first Bible Studies I ever participated in was a study of the book of Daniel. At the time, I was fairly new in my faith and had not even began to fully embrace the immense spectrum of Gods greatness. I was taking the study with a fairly wide variety of woman and I am certain that the degree of these women's faith and knowledge of scripture was quite varied. 
I can well remember the day we covered the third chapter of Daniel, and how excited I was about the fourth man in the fire. I remember saying, "It's Jesus" and someone said, "No, he wasn't even born yet." Unlike the Bible Studies I attend now, not one person even attempted to correct her. I left the church that day feeling like I was on to something that the others just didn't get. Yet without knowing anyone else that I could confirm my thoughts with, I forgot all about the fourth man in the fire for a very long time. I have since learned that God reveals things to us in layers, never giving any of us more than we can comprehend at a time. 

               Isaiah 28:9-10  

9“To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? 10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”

The story of  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego is not a story soon forgotten. If you will recall, the entire book of Daniel is pretty exciting, but their story is unforgettable! God was trying to give us an  example of people with the kind of faith he wants us all to have. That Mustard Seed kind  of faith...

Here's a quick refresher...

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Dura, in the province of Babylon, commissioned an image (statue) of gold, whose height was sixty cubits (the cubit is an ancient unit of length, based on the length of the forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger) and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. He ordered everyone to  fall down and worship the gold image at specific times. He said that anyone who refused would be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” Meanwhile there were three Jewish men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, whom the king had commissioned to over see the affairs of the province of  Babylon. The problem began when the three of them refused to worship the statue of gold. When the king found out he ordered the three to appear in his court immediately. They told the king that they had their own god and therefore would not be worshiping his.That made the King even more angry. He ordered the furnace to be stoked up seven times hotter than it had ever been before. 
After the three were tightly bound in their clothes with their hands tied securely behind their backs, they were thrown into the raging furnace. The furnace was burning with such intensity that even the guards who threw them in were immediately engulfed in flames. 
Moments later the king was astonished by what he saw and asked the guards, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” 
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”  
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
 Then King Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. As they emerged, they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.
King Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” 

So, I ask you, who was the fourth man in the fire? 
The king didn't seem to have any doubt, so why did we? 
I can close my eyes and just hear Jesus saying "Ye of little faith." 

The fourth man in the fire is not the only time Jesus appears in the Old Testament in what is referred to as a Christophany. The word “Theophany” is a word that is made up from two Greek words, “theos” which means “God” and “epiphaneia” which means “a shining forth,” or “appearance.” In theology, the word “theophany” refers to an Old Testament appearance of God in visible form, usually in human form such as when God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve.  So a “Christophany” is by definition an appearance or shining forth of Christ, the second person of the Trinity in the Old Testament. 

Most theophanies are in fact Christophanies. *Dr. John Walvoord in his classic textbook on Christology, Jesus Christ Our Lord, makes the following statement about these Old Testament appearances. "It is safe to assume that every visible manifestation of God in bodily form in the Old Testament is to be identified with the Lord Jesus Christ” 

If your as fascinated by this as I am, you can find out more HERE and HERE. Great pages to learn more about Christophanies.

These days we tend to underestimate the power of our God. People say there aren't miracles anymore and I know from my own personal experience that nothing could be further from the truth.
The key qualification for any contact from God is Faith, that Mustard Seed variety.
Bold Faith, that can only be obtained from believing! Believing every single word in the Holy Bible, and believing every promise murmured to you by the Holy Spirit.He Loves us and He is wooing us to Love Him too! 

So Praise Our Father! Tell Him in prayer that you adore him and that you welcome Him into your prayer, tell Him that you want all of the gifts that He promised you and that you will use them for whatever Kingdom work He desires. And then keep the noise in your life turned down and your eyes and ears wide open because He is always with us, making miraculous things happen every day.
May the Lord bless the people who have yet to experience anything miraculous in their own lives and may He show himself to them in a big way soon. Amen!

Blessings to all!