Tag Archives: Revelation

“…..The effectial, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 KJV

“And they stoned Stephen calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60 KJVIn reading above I came across this line by Augustine in a commentary, quoted by Barclay:

“The Church owes Paul to the prayer of Stephen.”

Suddenly, just like that, I was overwhelmed. And I cried. And then Lord, I marvelled.

I cried because Paul witnessed and consented to the death of a righteous man, in violence and hatred. “And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.” Acts 22:20 KJV

I cried because in this hatred Jesus showed His great mercy, so precious to a sinner like me, in revealing Himself to Paul, convicting him.

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all re he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” 1 Timothy 1:16 KJV

I cried because this same Paul became the Church’s greatest missionary bringing the gospel of our salvation through Jesus to the Gentiles, to what would be all nations, peoples and tongues—-to you and me. “But the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:15-16

I cried because our Saviour Jesus is indeed the one Foundation, the chief cornerstone—“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11—and all of us, from the apostles, to Stephen, to Paul and all those that followed and yes, to you and me–are all bricks in Gods impenetrable church.

And then I marvelled because I had a sudden glimpse of the wonder and sovereignty of our Great Father God. I marvelled at His Providence, of how “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. Even the death of Stephen, the first martyr of His church. I praise the God who stands and views the whole perspective of time at once and speaks a masterpiece, His word accomplishing His purposes— you, and me, being “one of those purposes.”

In tears and wonder, I echo Paul through the Holy Spirit, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36 KJV

In Christ!

K

PROVERBS 15:8 “…BUT THE PRAYER OF THE UPRIGHT IS HIS DELIGHT.”

How often do you pray, I mean really pray, in private, on your knees, before your Lord? Would knowing that your prayers are a delight to the Lord change how you pray?  Would it mean you approached this most holy of communions with reverence and anticipation, knowing that you are doing something infinitely pleasing to God?

What if you knew that every word you uttered to the Lord on your knees was remembered and kept before His throne? Does this comfort and gratify you or horrify and shame you? Your answer to that question will speak volumes to the state of your prayer life.

In Acts chapter 10, verse 4, Cornelius who “prayed to God always” is told by the angel of God, “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God”. A memorial is a permanent remembrance, a tribute and a commemoration.   How much do you pray? Is your memorial before God a pebble or a monolith?

Further proof  that each prayer we make is kept in heaven is found in Revelation, chapter 5 where John writes, “Now when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the  twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp,  and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” We are His saints, those of us sanctified by Christ and reconciled to Him.  Our prayers are like “sweet incense, perpetually before the Lord, a sweet scent to him.”  Psalm 141, verse 2 elaborates, “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

We have been told me that the “prayers of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16) . In other words, there is great power to the prayer of a redeemed man, a saint of God. We see this in Revelation as well.

In Revelation chapter 8 verse 3, we read that the incense was offered “with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden alter which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the alter and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake.  So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.”

In this passage we see the power in those prayers as the censer is cast down to earth with “noises, thunderings, lightnings and an earthquake” which begin the judgement and fury of God upon those that don’t believe.  How fitting that the praise and petitions of those who have escaped God’s wrath through the blood of His Son, begin His outpouring of judgement, (starting with the seven trumpets) on those who rejected His love and mercy.

Most Holy Father,

Save me Father from the prayer of obligation, the completion of yet another daily task, so that I may move on to the next; from treating Holy time in communion with You as just one more check mark.  May I never profane You this way so that You cover Yourself with a cloud, that my prayer should not pass through (Lamentations 3:44).  Help me to pray knowing that this prayer of mine, from this sinner now sanctified; redeemed through Your Son’s sacrifice on the cross, now “right with God” ,having put on the righteousness of Christ, is a delight to You. Help me to pray Lord, knowing that each word will ever be before Your throne, a tribute and memorial of my love for You.

In Christ!

As I studied the Word of the Lord this morning and His Spirit within me began to form this blog post, based on what He has revealed to me in our walk this week, I began to review my journal notes in preparation for putting “thoughts on paper” (well digital paper anyway!).  A growing feeling of awe and trepidation came over me, prompting me to immediately pray to Him, “Lord, please guide me this morning and keep the words true;  please protect me from unintended blasphemy and folly–may these Words not impune your Spirit or Character but glorify Your Name and reveal Your Holiness to all so that all praise You with Reverence shining from our hearts–so I plead in the Name of Your Son who is Your Word and Testament”.   I kid you not; such is the import of His revelation to me this week; we are truly on Holy ground. To His Glory forever and ever, Amen.

Father, I hardly know where to begin; as always let me begin with You, after all You are the “Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending” (Rev 1:8).  I want to thank you for revealing your Character through your Holy Word and for leading me to a deeper understanding of You.  In studying Revelation this week, I was struck in the very first chapter, verse 4: “…Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne;” We read further in Rev 4:5, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices; and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God”.  Lamps illuminate dark places and so I thank you Lord that the light of your Word illuminates my path and is truly a lamp to my feet, showing me the way to You.

Each lamp of fire reveals one of Your seven Spirits; no wonder their importance, their exact specifications of pure gold to be contained in the most Holy of Holies of your Tabernacle; a reflection of this Holy fire that burns in Heaven and reveals your Character.  I praise your mighty Name Lord that Your revelation is true and unchanging, like Your very character.  What we read in the New Testament, your Ending, is illuminated by the Old Testament, Your Beginning.  And so we remember the words of Isaiah in Chapter 11, versus 1 and 2 where You reveal Your SON Jesus Christ, the Branch that bears fruit and on whom rests your seven spirits–“the Spirit of the Lord (1)will rest on him–the Spirit of wisdom (2) and of understanding (3), the Spirit of counsel (4) and of might (5), the Spirit of the knowledge (6) and the fear of the Lord (7).

Father I thank you that when we read these words, the entire Scripture opens up to us!  I could spend eternity studying this truth and not fathom the depths of it!  I am struck Lord by how all of these attributes, Your very essence, are tied together and complement each other; one being as necessary as the other, just like each member of the body of Christ, working together to achieve their purpose in the world;  these seven elements of Your Being emanating from You work together to achieve their purpose in us.  There can be no wisdom without Understanding or it becomes vanity;  Counsel must be tempered with Might or it has no backbone or firm root; Knowledge of You cannot be applied properly without Fear or Reverence to Your Holy Name  and bears no fruit.  Job declares, “With Him is wisdom and strengths; He hath Counsel and Understanding” (Verse 12;13), God Himself declares of Bezalel son of Uri, in Exodus 31: “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge….” so important was the workmanship of the tabernacle on earth “as it is in heaven”.  After Moses death, in the final chapter of Deuteronomy, chapter 34, as God passes the torch of his revelation to Joshua we read in verse 9:  “Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him”.  Psalm 49:3 states “my mouth shall speak of wisdom and the meditation of my heart shall be understanding”.    Solomon, summed it up in Proverbs 2–“For the Lord gives Wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” .Throughout Your Word, From Genesis through to Revelation, we see these seven manifestations of Your Character imparted from You to those who love You and seek You; they wrap themselves like a beautiful cloak around each triumphant representative of God, be they prophet or king or judge or apostle or convert, from the beautiful words of Isaiah and the understanding of Job to the gospels of the four witnesses “to these things”, to the letters of Paul, finding their final and most beautiful chorus in the Revelation of Our Lord to John.   This crescendo of voice and glory in our Lord Jesus Christ, the culmination of all things; the fulfillment of the Law and the only Way to Salvation.  Oh Father, how our souls sing with this truth!  All of these seven aspects of You weave together and illuminate Your Word and Character, showing us and granting us these gifts of Your Spirit, Your Wisdom, Your Understanding, Your Counsel, Your Might, The Knowledge of and  Fear of You.  Great Father, I am learning that not only are these gifts of Yours wonderful; the are cumulative and intertwined; woven together into a beautiful “coat of many colours”.  They  are progressive and developmental, building one upon another, one brick, then another on top, another still, again and again,  until a house on good soil stands firmly; resistant to the winds and storms of the world–in the world but not of it.  The chief capstone begins with Your Spirit–for without Your Holy Spirit imparted in us at the Beginning of our Salvation–our Declaration of Jesus as our Lord, our acceptance of His gift on the Cross, His Justification of us, His washing away of our Sins and reconciling us back to You, we cannot begin. He is the Beginning; our firm foundation; our rock upon which we begin to build. How wonderful that this stumbling block to the world becomes our Chief Cornerstone!  Amen!  And so with Christ our bedrock and our authority, You begin to impart your Spirit of Wisdom, whispering Your word to us, giving us a hunger and thirst for You and Your kingdom,  bringing us into the realization that You are the embodiment of wisdom, that YOU ARE WISDOM.  David knew this when he told Solomon his son in 1 Chronicles 22:12–“Only the Lord give thee Wisdom and Understanding.”   And so we begin our walk Father from Wisdom to Your gift of Understanding. Now, those beautiful words of Yours are pondered in our hearts and we begin to fathom Your ways and what it means to our lives.  For Your wisdom is but foolishness to men (1 Cor. 1:25) because they lack understanding Lord;  Proverbs 2:2 “So that thou incline thy ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding.”   Wisdom only shines brightest to the soul which understands and only when we have these three spirits of the Lord can we now add Counsel.  Deuteronomy 32:28-29 “For they are a nation void of Counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.  Oh that they were wise; that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end”.   We have the spirit of Counsel when we recognize that we look to the Lord for ALL things and seek always His direction;  we listen and receive His Counsel; He truly now begins to Guide us in the way we should go—In Exodus 18:19 He says, “Hearken now unto my voice, and I will give thee Counsel, and God shall be with thee; Be thou for the people to “God-word” that thou mayest bring thy causes unto God.”  When we have the spirit of Counsel we truly begin to enter into God’s presence as we bring each area of our life to the Lord for His will over it.  Exodus 18:19 continues in verse 20–“and thou shall teach them ordinances and laws and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk…”  Oh Father may we seek Your guidance in all things so that we feel Your presence walking beside us.

So now we armed with God’s Spirit, Wisdom, His Understanding, His Counsel;  such things create in our soul a dwelling place for Him so high that we see all things around us for what they really are.   We become a strong and undefeatable fortress for the Lord inside of ourselves, a “house on a hill that cannot be hidden” in Jesus’ words.  Here is where we sing that great hymn, a Mighty Fortress is our God.  This spirit of Might blesses us with roots that go down so deep their depths like the Lord himself are unfathomable.  Here is where we cannot be broken, here is where that rock out of which sprung forth the waters of life for Moses foreshadowing Jesus as the living water,  becomes huge and immovable, so great and strong and powerful in the Lord that we are unshakeable; where our trust becomes as a child’s, implicit and matter of fact with no question; where we enter into the Knowledge of the Almighty Himself so that we can say with Paul, “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). Amen.

When we are here in this place of sweet triumph with Christ over our very vanities and sinful nature, firm upon that Rock Himself, are we now entrusted with the Spirit of the Knowledge of Him.  It is only when we have entrusted our lives to His Will, and become unshakeable in our ALMIGHTY God, that we are allowed into that most Holy of Holies, the Knowledge of Him.  There is a big difference in Knowledge and “the Knowledge” –that small word “the”, linked to the final Spirit “the Fear” both requiring the Ending, “of the Lord”. This spirit is not Knowledge but THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD.  This is the burning bush, the Holy Flame we are approaching and this is the knowledge that is “too wonderful” for us, so deep and vast where we really begin to see God with these “eyes of the soul” as  A. W. Tozer called the soul’s true vision.  This seeing, this knowing of Him, can only be done with Spirit–worshiping in truth and spirit–and not with anything else.  This is where, when we truly begin to Know Him as He reveals himself,  our very soul begins its groaning and longing to be reunited with the one that Knew us Before we Knew Him–where we Love Him because He first Loved us; Where the created sees the Creator and pines for that glorious reunion; Where our hearts cry, “Come Quickly Lord Jesus!” and every part of us mourns this temporal parting on earth and craves those precious moments of quiet, of solitude and communion with Him. This is the place where we all long for Habakkuk’s prophecy in chapter 2, v14 “For the earth will be filled with the Knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”.  This is where “Grace and Peace are multiplied to us through the Knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2).    Knowledge of the Lord leads to Fear of the Lord–that Holy Place of Reverence we arrive at when we have truly communed and been blessed with His Presence.  Where, like the psalmist, we now understand that the “Fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether”.  Here is the place where we become prostrate before Him, suddenly, supernaturally aware of our sinfulness, how the very scent  of putrification and death must cling to our rotten cores, where we know that we are a base and obscene thing next to His Holiness–how repugnant we must truly be to the One who has no speck in Him! We cannot even look at Him without being struck down.  Armed now with our true Knowledge of Him, we finally understand the One WHO IS PERFECT AND HOLY and we begin to see clearly how  HIS HOLINESS cannot abide with our SINFULNESS. If He could commune with our evil hearts without changing us then He wouldn’t be HOLY; He wouldn’t be WHO HE IS. Now the scriptures open up to us revealing “all things”, seeing that throughout His Great Word is His Mercy upon us, His Love for us, His Compassion for us, so that yet while we were mired with sin such that all sight of Him was obscured, CHRIST DIED FOR US. He sent HIS SON to pay that penalty, to replace our stench with HIS own Sweetness, to transform our minds from the gutter to HIS glory, to wash our filthy clothes in HIS own Righteousness!  Father, you give us YOURSELF, Your Spirit, so that WE can enter your presence, the Holy of Holies, and be with You. None of this is by our own works, we cannot boast because ALL of this beautiful process comes from You and proceeds from Your perfection and Wise Counsel.  You make us worthy Father in Your eyes to worship in front of your Throne Forever. AMEN.  And the final poignancy in all of this, this imparting of Your seven spirits, Your very essence, is that it never ends.   We are told in Proverbs 9:10–The fear of the Lord (the seventh trait) is the beginning of Wisdom (The second substance of His Being).  And so we begin again, at You, again, and again, and again still if it be Your will;  with each passing,  reaching deeper and more wonderful depths of Your Spirit, Your Wisdom, Your Understanding, Your Counsel, Your Might, the Knowledge of You and the Fear of You.   A special few My Lord, as they probed Your eternal depths, became so close to You in this journey that You spirited them away, catching them up to be with You, escaping the sorrow of physical death.   May Yours be the power and the glory forever and ever, amen.

We must remember that He is the Beginning and of His Kingdom there will be no end.  But to get to this Holy place of God in our hearts, we must heed Paul’s admonishment in 1 Corinthians 13:11.  “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”  We cannot have milk forever, nor should we desire it. But as we grow into “men” we are to desire “spiritual meat”.  Knowing the word of God and studying it diligently gives us “meat” to feed our souls upon;  a baby given just milk will never grow strong. We must remember to always ask the Lord to give us His spiritual meat to grow.

As our Lord himself stated in Luke 11:31 “The Queen of the South (the Queen of Sheba) shall rise up in the judgement with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here”.  No man comes to the Father except through the Son; all who deny the Son deny the One who sent Him. There is no other name in Heaven by which we can be saved.  If the seven spirits of God all throughout scripture are revealed and imparted to us who desire them and ask for them, then we must also understand that it all begins with the Word of God, the Very First Spirit mentioned, “The Spirit of the Lord”.  Without  it, nothing else comes. It was God’s Word that spoke creation into being and out of His Mouth (All scripture is God-breathed) proceeds His Spirit—we worship in this Spirit and in this Truth— This is Jesus, the WAY, and the TRUTH and The LIFE–The Gospel of John tells He is Also the WORD.  So all things truly point to and culminate in Christ. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is all about our Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us. To deny Jesus is to Deny God.    Because He was God, He was the only worthy Sacrifice. All things truly work together to those who love You God, including “your Seven Spirits proceeding out of Your throne” which we must always remember rest upon that wonderful branch, Jesus Christ Your Son.  You are not divided Lord and we must not interpret these passages as divisions of You (Deuteronomy 6:4-“The Lord our God is One.”);  they are revelations of Your Being reaching their conclusion and perfection “in the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world”.  May we treat this knowledge with reverence and truly understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of ALL things.      Hallelujah! Praise His Name.

We cannot have these things by works, or by our own efforts. These “gifts of the Spirit” flow from God and in His Justice and Righteousness he bestows them upon whom He chooses.  Remember that Eve, in the midst of being “beguiled of the serpent”, Satan, looked at the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and saw it’s fruit as “a tree desired to make one wise…” (Gen 3:6).  She tried to have wisdom and knowledge by herself and of her own means,  not from God, and it was not only her downfall, but the downfall of all of mankind and God’s beautiful creation too. This should be a warning to us that the pursuit of these things outside of God’s revelation can only lead to our own destruction.

 

I am going to conclude this in the Queen of Sheba’s own words, as spoken to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 9:7:  “Happy are thy men and Happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee and hear thy wisdom”.  This Wisdom she praised was the wisdom of God; a gift of God to Solomon and not of His own accord.  My prayer for you this morning is that you find yourself in front of God’s throne, Happy to stand before Him and Hear His Wisdom as well, for all of eternity.

 

In Christ!