VIDEO In Living Color – Come Up Here

In Living Color

The one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby.  Revelation 4:3

When Xavier McCoury put on the glasses Aunt Celena sent for his tenth birthday, he burst into tears. Born colorblind, Xavier had only ever seen the world in shades of gray, white, and black. With his new EnChroma glasses, however, Xavier saw color for the first time. His euphoria at witnessing the beauty around him made his family feel like they’d beheld a miracle.

Witnessing God’s colorfully radiant brilliance also evoked a powerful reaction in the apostle John (Revelation 1:17). After encountering the full glory of the resurrected Christ, John glimpsed “a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. . . . From the throne came flashes of lightning” (Revelation 4:2–5).

In a different time, Ezekiel had a similar vision, seeing “what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli,” with a figure above the throne who “looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire” (Ezekiel 1:26–27). This magnificent figure was surrounded with rainbow-like radiance (v. 28).

One day we will meet Christ face-to-face. These visions give us just a hint of the magnificence that awaits us. As we celebrate the beauty of God’s creation here and now, may we live in anticipation of the glory yet to be revealed.

By Remi Oyedele

Reflect & Pray

What response does the color and beauty of creation evoke in you? How can you express your gratitude to God for His wonderful gift?

Father, words fail us when we try to imagine what we will experience when we meet You face-to-face. Thank You for the small hints of Your beauty You have placed in our world.


Come Up Here – Revelation 1:19-20; Revelation 4:1-11 – Skip Heitzig


Uncouth … and obedient to God

Lessons from life of extraordinary prophet

As one of our anthems, my generation sang “Forever Young.” We celebrated youth, and it’s been hard for us to let go of it. Yet our generation, the baby boomers, are aging.

Some of us have entered retirement, and most of us are in denial. We cannot stop the inevitable marching of time. So we should think about what we are leaving behind. What kind of legacy will we leave for the next generation?

In the Old Testament we find the story of Elijah, a great prophet who thought about this very thing. With a message from God, he burst onto the pages of biblical history seemingly out of nowhere. And his departure was as dramatic as his entrance.

Elijah was an uncouth kind of fellow. He spent a lot of time in Israel’s outback, if you will. But one day he arrived at the court of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel with a pronouncement: “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1 NKJV). Then he turned around and walked out.

Afterward there was a drought for three years, exactly as God had said there would be. Then Elijah reemerged on the scene and challenged the prophets of Baal to a duel on Mount Carmel. God won that challenge by sending a stream of fire on the sacrifice Elijah had prepared. Then the prophets of Baal were destroyed.

You would have thought a miracle like that would have convinced Ahab and Jezebel to believe in the Lord God. But they did not believe. Jezebel became even more hardened in her sin and ultimately reaped the consequences of it. King Ahab died as well, defeated on the battlefield, manipulating to the very end. When it was all said and done, Elijah was vindicated.

I believe the reason Elijah was so bold was because he knew God. Notice he had said to King Ahab, “As the Lord God lives, before whom I stand …” (emphasis added). Elijah was cognizant of the fact that wherever he went, he stood consciously in the presence of God. This awareness of God’s presence gave Elijah the courage to stand his ground.

Elijah also was a man of prayer. The Bible tells us that “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!” (James 5:17 NLT). It was Elijah’s prayer in private that was the source of his power in public.

And notice the Scriptures say that he prayed earnestly. After he called on the Lord to send fire down on Mount Carmel, he then prayed for the Lord to bring an end to the drought. He prayed earnestly, with desperation.

Six times he sent his servant to look toward the sea for any clouds. Finally, on the seventh try, the servant reported to Elijah there was one tiny cloud. However, it was so small that it was about the size of a man’s hand.

It was all the encouragement Elijah needed. He essentially told King Ahab, “You’d better get in your chariot and beat a quick path to the palace, because there’s a storm coming.” And sure enough, the rain came.

That’s the interesting thing about prayer. Sometimes we’ll pray for something and won’t see an answer. We will pray again, and there’s still no answer … seemingly. We will pray again. Nothing. Then one day out of nowhere, there’s a breakthrough. Be encouraged by that. And keep praying. Don’t give up.

In addition to being a man of prayer, Elijah was a man of faith and obedience. After his bold pronouncement to King Ahab, God told him to just go and hang out – to fade into obscurity. And to Elijah’s credit, he did.

The victory on Mount Carmel took place three and a half years after Elijah’s pronouncement that a drought was coming. He went and stayed by a little brook, which he drank from, and ravens brought food to him every day.

Yet Elijah had his low moments, too. He spent time with a widow and her son, depending on them for his sustenance. It was very humbling for someone like Elijah. But he was obedient to God.

And after his contest with the prophets of Baal, you would have thought Elijah would have been fearless, unstoppable. But when Queen Jezebel heard that the prophets of Baal were dead, she sent a message to Elijah, saying, “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them” (1 Kings 19:2 NLT).

Ironically, Elijah ran for cover. He was so despondent, in fact, that he told God he was ready to die. I have found that low lows often come after high highs. We are just human. We shouldn’t attach too much significance to these things.

Elijah had been a faithful representative of God. He had done the work God called him to do. Then it was time for him to leave, so he wanted to invest in the life of another. In the same way, we should be investing in the lives of others.

No man is an island, as it’s been said. What we do affects others. And maybe the reason we are reluctant to invest in others is because we’re aware that we are not what we ought to be.

How about asking God to help you be the person he has called you to be? Maybe you aren’t ready for huge things, but you are ready for something. God is not looking for ability as much as he is looking for availability.

We don’t know when this life of ours will come to an end. That is up to God. So let’s make our lives count until then.

Leave a legacy. Live a godly life.

 

by Greg Laurie

https://www.wnd.com/2019/07/elijah-uncouth-and-obedient-to-god/

Facing the Unknown

Hebrews 11:23-29

Tucked into Hebrews 11 is a short phrase that indicated Moses’ approach to life: “for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:27). There was no shortage of uncertainty in Moses’ life. How could someone “slow of speech” address Pharaoh (Ex. 4:10)? How could a murderer become God’s chosen man? How would anyone lead the stiff-necked Israelites (Deut. 9:13 NIV)? And how would they cross the Red Sea, conquer Canaan, or survive 40 years in the desert?

Moses knew what the Lord expected of him, but he didn’t have supernatural vision into the future. So he couldn’t see the outcome of his obedient actions. The Israelite leader moved forward by faith—trusting in the Lord’s power to guide, protect, and overcome. Moses derived security solely from God, who consistently kept His promises.

Life hasn’t gotten more certain in the millennia since Moses led the Israelites to the Promised Land. Modern believers wonder about things, too. Will I ever marry? What if I lose my job? What happens to my kids if I pass away? How can I accomplish all I have to do? Thankfully, the source of security hasn’t changed in all that time. God is still the only certainty in this life. You can count on the One who is faithful, just, and loving (2 Timothy 2:13; Psalm 89:14; Eph. 2:4).

The lesson from Moses’ life is to cling tenaciously to the Lord. Even situations that look hopeless are cupped in God’s sovereign hand. Moreover, though the way looks dark and the road seems untraveled, He walks before us. Continue forward in confidence, as seeing Him who is unseen.

The King of Tyre

“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” (Ezekiel 28:12)

This prophecy against the King of Tyre is very similar to the prophecy given over a century earlier against the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:3-28). Both are ostensibly addressed to earthly kings, yet both are impossible to apply to any mere human monarch. In both instances, it becomes obvious that an evil spirit—in fact, none other than Satan himself—had possessed the bodies of these kings. Thus, God, through Ezekiel, is here speaking primarily to Satan.

Satan had been “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty,” but he became proud instead of thankful. “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground” (Ezekiel 28:17). He had been “the anointed cherub” on “the holy mountain of God” (v. 14), the highest of all the mighty cherubim, covering the very throne of God. But “thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire” (v. 16).

Satan, the covering cherub, had been “created” (v. 13), but he was not content to serve his Creator. When he sinned—probably refusing to believe that God was his Creator, desiring God’s throne for himself (Isaiah 14:13)—God cast him out, saying, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15).

Yet, he still refuses to acknowledge God and has since persuaded multitudes of men and women to assume that they, too, can be “as gods” (Genesis 3:5). This belief can only—if they persist—result in their eternal ruin. HMM

Power of Church Finances

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

—James 2:9

It is an ominous thing in any church when the treasurer begins to exercise power. Since he may be presumed to be a man of God he should have a place equal to that of any other member, and if he is a man of gifts and virtues he will naturally have certain influences among the brethren. This is right and normal as long as he exercises his influences as a man of God and not as a treasurer. The moment he becomes important because he is treasurer, the Spirit will be grieved and His manifestations will begin to diminish….

Again, it is a sign and a portent when a member is cultivated for his generosity and given a place of eminence in the church out of proportion to his spiritual gifts and graces. To court a Christian for his financial contributions is as evil a thing as to marry a man for his money. To flatter a man for any reason whatever is to degrade ourselves and imperil his soul. To flatter a man because he is a heavy giver is to offer him a concealed affront as well, for back of the purring and the smirking is the hidden opinion that the man’s money is more important than the man and more to be esteemed.   WOS007-008

Deliver us from the dominance of the dollar. You meet our needs, Lord, and then help us to minister faithfully, with no thought of how the finances might be affected. Amen.

 

Not one of them is forgotten before God

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God.—Luke 12:6.

Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.—Matthew 10:31.

The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon which He hath planted; where the birds make their nests; as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.—Psalm 104:16, 17.

 

It was a beautiful sight to see the herons come home, rising into the golden sunlight above the hills I could not tell from whence, and sailing on the glorious arches of their wings, on and on—always alone, and each as he came down with outstretched neck and pendent legs ready to settle, taking one last sweep down, then up, on to the summit of the tall Scotch fir, to take a survey of the realm, and, as another approached, plunging into the thick heads of lower trees with a loud good-night to his neighbors, and to all the fair land and water round about him, and a Deo Gratias for all his day’s happiness, pleasant unto the ear of his dear God, if not consciously addressed to Him.

My Heavenly Father careth for them, i am of more value than many herons.

Edward White Benson.

 

Burdens Cast Upon Him

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee; he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Ps. 55:22

It is a heavy burden, roll it on Omnipotence. It is thy burden now, and it crushes thee; but when the Lord takes it, He will make nothing of it. If thou art called still to bear it, “he will sustain thee.” It will be on Him, and not on thee. Thou wilt be so upheld under it that the burden will be a blessing. Bring the Lord into the matter and thou wilt stand upright under that which in itself would bow thee down.

Our worst fear is lest our trial should drive us from the path of duty; but this the Lord will never suffer. If we are righteous before Him, He will not endure that our affliction should move us from our standing. In Jesus He accepts us as righteous, and in Jesus He will keep us so.

What about the present moment? Art thou going forth to this day’s trial alone? Are thy poor shoulders again to be galled with the oppressive load? Be not so foolish. Tell the Lord all about thy grief, and leave it with Him. Don’t cast your burden down, and then take it up again; but roll it on the Lord, and leave it there. Then shalt thou walk at large, a joyful and unburdened believer, singing the praises of thy great Burden-bearer.