Monday, April 30, 2007

When All the Kings of the Earth Shall Hear

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
For great is the glory of the LORD.
(Psalm 138:4-5)
Here is an amazing prophecy about the kings of the earth: They shall all praise Yahweh when they hear the words of His mouth. Notice that it is not a matter of if, but when! Though nations raged and plotted in vain against God and His Anointed One (Psalm 2:1-2), still God invites them to come and serve Him in awe and rejoice with exuberant joy, to kiss the Son and thus avoid divine wrath (Psalm 2:11-12). This they will do when they hear the words of His mouth.

How shall they hear? Look to the beginning of Psalm 138, where David says,
I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
(vv. 1-2)
The “gods” are the leaders among men. They are the rulers and judges God has placed in the earth. See Psalm 82, where God commands them to defend the poor, do justice to the afflicted and needy, deliver the poor and needy and free them from the hand of the wicked. But there God takes them to task because they were judging unjustly and showing partiality to the wicked: “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High, but you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes’” (Psalm 82:6-7).

David is not silent before them. No, he pours out all the praises of his heart to God, in front of all the “gods,” the kings of the earth. By his praise he gives bold witness of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.

It is like Daniel, when Darius, king of Babylon, foolishly following the advice of those who conspired against Daniel, issued a decree that no one could petition any god or man except him for thirty days (Daniel 6:6-8). Daniel did not wait a month for the decree to expire, nor did he withhold his devotion to God in any way, but boldly prayed to Yahweh three times a day, before an open window facing Jerusalem, just as he had always done (Daniel 6:10). He was bold in the face of this conspiracy. His boldness was furthered tested when he was thrown into the lion’s den, but he was unharmed. The result was that Darius gave praise to the God of Daniel.

Where does such boldness come from? David again answers:
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.
(Psalm 138:3)
David cried out to God, and God answered by giving him strength of soul—boldness. It is a divine and holy boldness, and far greater than any intimidating tactic of the enemy. Perhaps Peter and John and the early Church had this psalm in mind when, threatened with persecution for preaching the name of Jesus, they cried out to God:
“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak your Word, by stretching out Your to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and the spoke the Word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:29-31)
This boldness is the power of the Holy Spirit, and it is comes with signs and wonders and the hand of God stretched forth to heal. David, too, spoke of the hand of God stretched out:
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
(Psalm 138:7)
Here the divinely hand was stretched out to deliver. But in Acts, the early Church, filled with the revelation of Jesus, realized that the hand of God stretched out in signs and wonders would bring healing and turn many to the Messiah. Thus the Word of God would be boldly proclaimed, as we see in the rest of the book of Acts.

It is as Jesus promised: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8).

God has given us His Spirit so that we may have boldness, signs and wonders to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ. When we are full of faith to do so, even the kings of the earth shall give Him praise when they hear His words. There are many instances in history where this has happened in various places, but there is coming a great awakening and revival when all the kings of the earth shall hear the Word of God and exalt the name of Jesus.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Breakthrough of the Righteous

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the LORD is upright.
(Psalm 92:12-15)
Many people are looking for a breakthrough in their lives. This psalm talks about a breakthrough that will endure as long as you live. It is the breakthrough of the righteous.

The Hebrew word for “flourish” used in the first two instances is parach and means to break forth and spread. It is breakthrough. When used with the metaphor of a palm tree, it refers to how it breaks forth with buds, blooms and bears fruit. When used with the metaphor of an eagle or some other bird, it refers to the spreading of wings to fly.

The righteous are those who live in awe of the LORD, who love, honor and trust Him. They declare His lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness every night (v. 2). By faith they have been planted — transplanted into the house of the LORD, to bear fruit in His courts. That is, they have come to a new place in their life, not by their own striving, but by a work of the Lord. That in itself is a breakthrough. The psalm writer uses the analogy of the palm tree. A full-grown date palm can bear three or four hundred pounds of fruit, and in some cases even up to six hundred pounds. That’s abundance!

To live in house of the Lord and dwell in His courts is a rich life indeed. It is delighting in His law and meditating in it day and night (Psalm 1:2). Those who do are like trees that have been planted beside rivers of water, always bringing forth their fruit in season. Their leaf shall not wither, and whatever they do shall prosper (Psalm 1:3). They enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4). They dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91:1), and in His presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

This is the breakthrough that lasts forever, for even in old age they shall still bear fruit. They shall still be fresh and flourishing. The Hebrew word for “flourishing” in this case means to be green and new, even luxuriant. It is the picture of health and prosperity, and it declares that the Lord is upright.

Who are the righteous ones? Those who live by faith, just as Abraham believe God “and He accounted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Even as the prophet declared, “The just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). The apostle Paul said, “God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God has breakthrough for all those who love and trust in Him, for those who delight in His Word and mediate in it continually. They will enter His courts with praise and live in His house forever. It is a breakthrough that will last forever — the breakthrough of the righteous.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Your Mouth is the Thermostat of Your Life

Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. (Mark 11:22-23)

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)
Get the connection: What is in your heart in abundance is what will come out of your mouth; what you believe in your heart and declare with your mouth is what will come to pass in your life.

Your mouth is the “thermostat” of your life. A thermostat is a little device that calls for a certain temperature to be set. For example, you can set the thermostat on your air conditioner to cool off your house or car to a certain temperature. Or you can set the thermostat on your oven to heat it up to a certain level. In a similar way, you mouth is like a thermostat that calls for certain conditions to be established in your life.

Some people use their mouths like thermometers. A thermometer simply tells you what the current temperature is. Thermometer people boast, “Well, I’m just telling it like it is.” And to a certain extent, that is true. They see a problem and then they identify it, and there is nothing wrong in that. But then they keep looking at the problem, thinking about the problem, and soon their heart overflows with the problem. They believe the problem in their heart, and do not have any doubts about the problem. So they talk about the problem, and keep on talking about the problem, and the result is that they are stuck with the problem. It is one thing to identify the problem, e.g., “I am sick,” “I am in debt,” “I have no job.” It is quite another to fixate on the problem. Some people even embrace the problem so that it becomes a personal possession: “my cancer” or “my bad heart.”

People with a thermometer mentality simply report what they see: “There’s a mountain in my way.” They do not realize that we were created to be thermostats. We were meant to not only recognize present conditions, but to establish the proper conditions. That is why God created us in His likeness (i.e., to be like Him) and authorized us to “fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion” (Genesis 1:26-28). To subdue means to set in order. That requires recognizing the present condition (thermometer) and bringing it into line with the way it ought to be (thermostat).

God is a thermostat God. We see this from the very first verse of the Bible when He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He spoke it into existence, framing it with words (Hebrews 11:3). When darkness was on the face of the deep (v. 2), God did not fixate on the darkness. He recognized the problem, but then having done that, He simply spoke the solution, “Light, be!” (v. 3).

Jesus taught us to do the same thing. First, we are to have faith in God. Faith is the gift of God, and comes by hearing the Word of God. This is important to know because the Word of God has something to say about every problem. When we let the Word of God fill our hearts to overflowing with faith, we are then ready to address the mountain that stands in our way.

Second, we are to speak to the problem, not focusing on the problem itself, but focusing on the solution. In the example Jesus gave us, we would say to the mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea.” When we keep talking about the problem, we are using the thermostat function to maintain the present condition, and the problem will persist. But when we start speaking the solution, we are using the thermostat function to change and improve the present condition. So we recognize the mountain, but then we tell it to move.

Notice that Jesus did not tell us to tell God all about the problem. God already knows it and has provided us with the faith to handle it. Rather, Jesus teaches us to address the problem with words that overflow from a heart filled with faith. As some have put it, we move from talking to God about the problem to speaking to the problem about God — and that is a very important shift! When we do that, the mountain will move.

Your mouth is the thermostat that establishes the conditions of your life. Your heart is what sets the thermostat of your mouth. Let the Word of God fill your heart to overflowing with faith so that, when problems arise, you will be able to speak the solution and remove the mountain.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Searching Out the Glory

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
(Proverbs 25:2)
Here are two glories: the glory of God and the glory of kings. The glory of God is to conceal a matter. In Isaiah He says,

My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9)
The ways and thoughts of God are not like the ways and thoughts of man. But that is not because God does not want us to know them. In Isaiah 55:10-11 we read that God sends His Word to earth to accomplish whatever He desires. In other words, the ways and thoughts of God are revealed to us in His Word.

There are some things we can know about God from His creation (Romans 1:18-20). But there are other things that cannot be known except by divine revelation, and God is not unwilling to give us such revelation. Quite the opposite, God greatly desires to do so. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

We could never know all of God’s secrets, for He is infinite in all His attributes. But He certainly wants us to know all of His ways and thoughts that pertain to the things of earth, for He created us in His likeness and gave us dominion to “fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion” (Genesis 1:28). That is, He created us to be kings, with the authority, and the responsibility, to rule and reign, to bring it into divine order.

But the problem, of course, has been sin, which blinds us to the revelation God desires to give us. When Adam rebelled in the Garden, he disconnected from the ways and thoughts of God, and that is spiritual death. Fortunately, Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father and give us a new birth by the Holy Spirit. In that redemption, we are restored to kingly authority. Peter calls us a “royal [kingly] priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), and Paul reveals that God has already seated us in the heavenlies in Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of the Father, where He (and we in Him) rules and reigns forever (Ephesians 2:6). And so we are kings.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search out a matter. Those are two sides of a coin. That is, the glory of God in concealing a matter is related to the glory of kings in searching it out. God is ready to give us revelation, but only if we are ready to receive it. Those who are willing to believe and do the will of God will know the revelation (John 7:17). That is why Jesus taught in parables and said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:9). For when the disciples asked Him why He taught in parables (v. 10), Jesus answered,
Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have , even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Matthew 13:11-13)
It is about whoever has and whoever does not have, but have what? Ears to hear! The enigmatic nature of the parables revealed who was ready to receive divine revelation and who was not. Those who are ready to hear and believe will receive this divine revelation in abundance!

When we are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit in us. In Him we are made spiritually alive, and are reconnected to the ways and thoughts of God. God reveals His ways to us by His Word, but also by His Spirit, who illuminates the Word to us so that we can truly understand.
But as it is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
God conceals certain matters from us, but then He invites us to search them out. As we discover them, we come into a greater understanding of just how wonderful He is. That is the glory of God. The glory of kings is the privilege we have as His people to behold His glory. His glory changes us as we learn to walk in His ways and think His thoughts. It enlarges us, bringing us to the place described in Proverbs 25:3, “As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.”

The glory of kings is in searching out the glory of God.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bitterly Cursed or Abundantly Blessed?

Would you rather be bitterly cursed or abundantly blessed? I'm guessing you would rather be abundantly blessed.

God has always offered us the choice, for He created us to operate with free will. But for our wills to be truly free, the choices we make must have real consequences. Adam originally chose for us, while we were yet in his loins — and we have each, in our own way, ratified that choice — and the consequences have always been dreadful!

Even so, God has, from the beginning, always given us a way to choose again. For example, as the children of Israel were poised to enter into the Promised Land, after wandering in the wilderness in unbelief for forty years, God renewed His covenant with them, saying, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Years ago, my wife and children and I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, about a modern quest for the “Holy Grail.” Near the end of the story, Dr. Jones, who has learned the value of a penitent heart, the name of God and the meaning of faith, enters a cave where the object of his frantic search has been preserved for hundreds of years, guarded by an ancient Knight Templar. The only problem is that the holy object is hidden, in plain sight, in a room full of goblets. To complicate things even more, the cup’s guardian warns that, though to drink from the grail would be life, to drink from the wrong one would result in death.

About that time, the villain of this piece, having carefully followed Jones’ path, enters the cave and, being armed, gains the upper hand. He, too, has long sought the Holy Grail, but for purely selfish reasons. Carefully reviewing the array of goblets, he finally settles upon a beautiful, ornate, gold cup. Surely this cup, he reasons, is truly fit for the King of Kings. So he takes a drink from it — and dies in a horrible fashion. “He chose … poorly,” says the old Crusader.

Now it is left to Jones to choose, for he must find the correct cup in order to save his father’s life. Realizing the humility of Christ, and the true significance of what the grail symbolized, he selects a plain goblet, but beautiful in its simplicity. He drinks. After a few moments, the ancient knight reassures him, “You chose … wisely.”

God has laid out the choice of life and death for you and me, and He has made it very plain how we can choose wisely. It all has to do with in whom we place our trust:

Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the LORD.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.
(Jeremiah 17:5-6)
Here is a man who trusts in himself, or in others just like him. He has made himself his own refuge. He follows his heart, little realizing that his heart is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). He walks in the counsel of the ungodly, stands in the path of sinners and sits in the seat of those who mock God and good (Psalm 1:1).

It shall never go well for him. He shall be like a dry bush in a dry land: parched, withered and blasted by the wind. Even when good comes his way, he shall not even be able to draw from it or even to recognize it, because of the hardness of his heart. All he shall know is wilderness, a toxic wasteland not even worth inhabiting. He is bitterly cursed, and that by his own choice.

But God has a better way and a greater destiny for you and me, and He leaves the choice up to us:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
(Jeremiah 17:7-8)
This is the man who puts all his confidence, not in himself, but in the LORD. He has a positive expectation, a joyful anticipation, a powerful assurance that God is going to take care of all that is needed. He has not consigned himself to the wilderness of unbelief or the toxic salt land of his own pride. No, he is like a tree that has been transplanted beside the abundance of waters, and whose roots are well-established. The heat may come and dry winds may blast, but he will not be troubled, for he is well-nourished; he has not abandoned himself to his own pitiful resources, but has come to God’s bountiful supply. His leaf will not wither for lack, but will be fresh and green. He is not merely a survivor. He thrives and will never cease to bring forth good fruit. He is blessed, and he is a blessing.

Life or death; blessing or curse. This is the one choice that settles all the other choices. It is the wisdom recorded in Proverbs: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). It is the choice Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). It is the startling choice presented to Nicodemus when he sought out Jesus one night:
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
Do you want to be bitterly cursed, or abundantly blessed? It all depends on in whom you choose to love, honor and trust. The choice is yours — choose life!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Green Olive Tree in the House of God

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
(Psalm 52:8)
A green olive tree is a wondrous thing, especially in the Bible. It provided food, oil and wood for many uses. Its fruit is edible and very good. The oil provided fuel of lamps, was rubbed on leather shields to prevent cracking, offered healing properties, and most significantly, was used for anointing — even for the anointing of prophets, priests and kings. In the Shepherd Psalm, David says,
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
(Psalm 23:5)
Here is hospitality in the house of God. It is welcome and refreshment. In another place, it says, “But my horn you have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil” (Psalm 92:10). This speaks of the renewal of strength and honor, and describes divinely wrought victory.

In Psalm 128, we find this blessing:
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways …
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
(Psalm 128:1, 3)
Picture a mature, productive olive tree surround by the little shoots it has sent forth. That is the blessing here.

Now imagine yourself like David, a green olive tree in the house of God. You sit at His table, a shoot sent forth by God to bring blessing into the world. It is a blessing of welcome, refreshment, healing, strength, and anointing. It is a wonderful picture.

This honor have all those who come to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. He is the final prophet, priest and king, chosen and established by God. He IS the blessing. In Him we are truly blessed, and through Him we become a blessing to others.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Discerning Peace and Joy in Your Decisions

You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace.(Isaiah 55:12)
Someone asked about how to know the will of God when it is not revealed in Scripture. For example, how do we choose between two or more options which are not prohibited?

My answer is basically this: Where does the peace of God rest? “Let the peace of God rule in your heart” (Colossians 3:15). Along with that, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (v. 16). In Isaiah, God gives us this promise: “You shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace”(Isaiah 55:12).

Where does peace and joy rest in your decision-making process? If you have a few options before you, which one brings you a divine sense of peace? Perhaps His peace rests on none of the options, in which case, perhaps you need to look for more options.

It could rest on more than one option. If they both (or all) lead you into a sense of His peace, it may be that they both (or all) will bring you to the results He wants to produce in you. God has given you an open hand, and the choice is yours.

What should we eat? What should we drink? What clothes should we wear? Jesus taught us to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things would be taken care of (Matthew 6:33). Sometimes God gives us a specific provision or a specific guidance concerning those things, but I think that God often gives us a general provision and guidance, and as we orient ourselves to His kingdom and righteousness (or His rightness — God’s way of doing and being right), everything else will generally fall into place without us having to give much though to them.

In regard to divine guidance, here is something I find very interesting about Adam's first assignment: naming the animals. God gave Adam the authority to name the animals, which was more than simply being a clerk and categorizing the inventory; it was more a matter of establishing the identities, purposes and functions of the animals — a pretty significant task. But God did not tell him what to call them. Rather, He simply brought the animals to Adam and observed what he named them. Operating in the authority of God, in the likeness of God, with the breath of God in his lungs, and with the general purpose of “subduing” the earth (that is, bringing it into divine order), Adam named the animals as he desired. God did not micromanage, but supported the decision he delegated to Adam: Whatever Adam name each creature, that is what it was called!

God leads by peace and joy. If we are dwelling in His presence, in His presence is fullness of joy, and we can trust that joy, because it is His. So if God's peace and joy rests on one option in particular, that is a pretty good indicator. If it rests on none of the options, that may also be a pretty good indicator. If it rests on more than one option, do as you desire.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Even the Waters Respond

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the deep. (Genesis 1:2)
The Hebrew word for “hovering,” means to flutter, to move, even to brood over, as a hen broods over her eggs to hatch them, or over her chicks to warm and develop them. The Holy Spirit was brooding over the face of the deep, or as the King James Version has it, the “face of the waters.” Adam Clarke, in his Bible commentary, said that it signifies the communicating of a vital, prolific principle to the water. Something was being imparted and instilled which has very much to do with life, for water is vital for life.

Water covers about three quarters of the face of the earth, but on the very first day, it covered the world completely. When the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters, it was imparting something to the whole earth.

Water is an excellent conductor of energy, and ultimately, energy is information — mind stuff. Dr. Masaru Emoto, author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Hidden Messages of Water, has conducted some very interesting experiments on the capacity of water to conduct information. He has taken water samples from many sources throughout the world, frozen droplets from them and photographed the resultant crystals. What he has discovered is nothing short of amazing.

Samples of tap water from various cities around the world generally do not form water crystals very well because they are not very pure; but water drawn from various freshwater sources produces some beautiful crystals. Perhaps that in itself is not very surprising, but what Dr. Emoto did next is: he exposed the water to various kinds of music and then measured the results. Water exposed to music by Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin produced distinct and well-formed crystals; water exposed to heavy-metal rock music produced fragmented, malformed crystals.

Next, Dr. Emoto exposed the water to various types of words. But these were not spoken words; rather, they were written words taped to bottles of water. Again, the results were amazing: When the water was exposed to words of gratitude, “Thank you,” in various languages, it produced beautiful, well-formed crystals. But when it was exposed to the word “Fool,” the results were very similar to the water exposed to the heavy-metal rock music: no crystals formed. It doesn’t make sense for water to be able to “read” words, but it does appear to somehow be able to sense and respond to human intention and emotion expressed with words. Other words, both positive and negative in nature, produced corresponding results.

Water samples were also exposed to various photographs, and the crystals that formed seemed to respond accordingly. This should probably come as no surprise, seeing how the water responded to music — light waves and sound waves are all part of the same electromagnetic spectrum.

There were also some interesting experiments involving before and after images of water samples from natural sources that had been prayed over. Before prayer was offered, the water samples produced poorly-formed crystals or no crystals at all. After prayer, the water samples produce beautiful, well-formed crystals. (You can also view photographs of many of these water droplet crystals here.)

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, and the water enveloped the whole planet, the Holy Spirit brooded and imparted. The Bible also says that God framed the world by His words (Hebrews 11:3). Man, who was created in the image and likeness of God, and into whom God puffed His own breath, was given the charge to subdue the earth, that is, to bring it into divine order (Genesis 1:26-29). Should it come as a surprise, then, to find that water, which is so much a part of our existence, readily responds to human words and spirit?

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Stuff of the World is Mind-Stuff

The stuff of the world is mind-stuff.
— Sir Arthur Eddington
The reality of the world is not what it really seems to the naked eye. Those things which seem so solid to us, when viewed at the atomic and subatomic level, are actually the whirling of tiny charged particles — energy. The amazing relationship between energy and matter was discovered by Albert Einstein and stated in his famous formula E=mc2. Arthur Eddington, an astrophysicist of the early twentieth century, was instrumental in announcing Einstein’s general theory of relativity to the English-speaking world.

Recognizing that the same human mind that perceives the concreteness of material things can also understand the abstractness of physical reality at the subatomic level, that can comprehend the world in mathematical equations such as Einstein’s, Eddington came to the conclusion that “the stuff of the world is mind-stuff.”

Sir James Jeans, a contemporary of Eddington, basically agreed with him, except he thought that this mind-stuff was more mathematical in nature. He concluded that the universe is “the thought of a mathematical thinker.”

We live in a world of “mind-stuff” that can be understood by language and logic, and has such mathematical elegance that it points us to a world created by a mind — the Mind of God.

In biology, we are learning more and more that DNA really is a genetic code, a language that conveys information and lays out the blueprint for every form of life, even down to the tiniest micro-organism. The information stored in your DNA is so rich and vast, if it could be transcribed in book form, it would fill up many, many volumes. And that DNA instructs each cell in your body, guiding its construction and regulating its function. Truly, it is mind-stuff.

The stuff of the world is mind-stuff. The author of the book of Hebrews understood this almost two thousand years ago when he said, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Commanding All Creation

Praise the LORD!
(Psalm 148:1)
Here the psalm writer is seen as the worship leader for all Creation. That is why we were made, to subdue all creation and bring it into the proper and divine order, so that it may always be to the praise of His glory. To us has been given the authority and privilege — and the responsibility — to command all of heaven and earth to praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens above the heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
(vv. 1-4)
Every sphere and realm of heaven, even the highest heavens, and all their inhabitants, are included — the angels and all the hosts of God (for He is called Yahweh Sabaoth, the “LORD of Hosts”), as well as the sun, moon and stars of the physical universe.

Quantum theory suggests that subatomic particles, once they have been joined, even if they should be separated by the entire universe, will react identically. This means that how one of those particles responds to stimuli on earth, the other will respond in the exact same way — even though it may be on the other side of the universe!

Now, the stuff of our bodies is the stuff of the earth, and the stuff of the earth is the same stuff as the rest of the physical realm. In other words, our bodies are joined together with all of the natural creation. When we give praise to God, will that not resonate throughout all the heavens? Indeed, this psalm shows us that we have authority to command all of the heavens to release their praise to Yahweh.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.
(vv. 7-12)
Jesus commanded the wind and the waves to be still and at peace, and they obeyed. He brought them into the divine order, and they became a glory to God. He commanded the fig tree and it obeyed Him (though in that instance He used it as a sign of judgment on the unbelieving Jewish leaders), and it revealed His divine glory. He taught the disciples to speak to the sycamore tree, the mountain, and whatever stood in the way of the glory of God being made known. He taught us all to command the will of God to be done on earth just as it is being done in heaven. It is all about His kingdom coming and His glory manifesting everywhere.

We have been given this authority over all beasts, all sea creatures, all the birds and all creeping things. And to us has been given the privilege and responsibility of calling all peoples — even kings and princes — to praise the name of the LORD. His name alone is to be given the highest praise, for it is greater than all the heavens and earth put together.

The LORD has lifted up and enabled His people, whom He has brought near to Himself, so that we may bring all honor and glory to Him (v. 14). He created us in His own likeness, and when we fell into sin, restored us to be partakers of His divine nature, so that we may command the praises of heaven and earth to be released unto Him. All creation waits in eager anticipation for this to be revealed through us.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Healing a Defiled Land

The Law and the Prophets show us a number of things that defile (corrupt, pollute and profane) the land, that bring curse, destruction and fruitlessness upon it.

Sexual Immorality
Leviticus 18 lists various forms of sexual immorality: fornications, adulteries, homosexuality, and bestiality. Then it says,
Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. (Leviticus 18:24-25)
So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. Therefore do not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel. (Numbers 35:34-35)
For my eyes are on all their was; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes. And first I will repay double for their iniquity and their sin, because they have defiled My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abominable idols. (Jeremiah 16:17-18)
The Broken Covenant
The earth mourns and fades away,
The world languishes and fades away;
The haughty people of the earth languish.
The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants,
Because they have transgressed the laws,
Changed the ordinance,
Broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore the curse has devoured the earth,
And those who dwell in it are desolate.
(Isaiah 24:4-6)
The laws, ordinances and covenant refers not only to the law of God revealed through Moses, but even the laws written on the conscience of those who did not have the Law of Moses. As Paul said,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, ad their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21)

For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law. For not the hearers of the law are just I the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them. (Romans 2:12-15)
Healing the Land
But God has never left the world without a way of redemption. In 2 Chronicles, as Solomon dedicates the Temple to Him, the LORD said,
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
For the land to be healed, there must be repentance and confession, renouncing and turning away from sin and back to God, seeking His face. One generation may even need to confess the sins of their fathers, agreeing with God that the evildoing of the previous generations should never have been done. If the fathers failed to renounce those things, then the sons may have to do it for them, canceling the invitation given to demonic entities and influences. When the conditions of this promise are met, then God will hear, forgive and heal the land and its inhabitants.

This forgiveness and healing is based on the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, who took our sins upon Himself so that, through faith in Him, we can be reconciled with God. His blood atones for all the things that defile the land, but it must be applied by faith. It is healing both for us and the land, and all creation waits for this revelation.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Alienated from the Land

So now you are cursed from the earth. (Genesis 4:11)
The earth was framed by the Word of God and created to respond to man, who was made in the likeness of God. But when Adam rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, he disconnected himself from the life and glory of God and brought the world under a curse:
Cursed is the ground for you sake [i.e., because of you];
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,
Till you return to the ground
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.
(Genesis 3:17-19)
Both man and the planet were alienated from the divine order of God.

In Genesis 4, we read that Cain, out of anger and jealousy, killed his brother Abel. God comes to Cain and asks, “Where is Abel your brother?” Abel answers, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Then God says,
What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth. (Genesis 4:10-12)
First, notice that Abel’s blood has a voice — it cried out! Then notice that the earth “opened its mouth” to receive Abel’s blood. The Hebrew word for “mouth” here is peh. It is used for consuming (e.g., drinking), but it is also used for speaking. The ground, which opened its mouth to receive Abel’s blood, also released the voice of that blood as it cried out to God for justice.

The ground was not an accomplice to Cain’s murderous act, but became a refuge for the blood of Abel, releasing its cry to God. The earth was repulsed by Cain’s evil deed, and Cain was alienated from it. The result was that the ground would no longer yield its strength to Cain, but Cain would become a wanderer with no place of welcome on the earth.

What we do affects the whole earth, because we were formed from the dust of the ground. Our spirits come from God, but our bodies are of the earth. We are connected to it, united with it. Quantum mechanics shows that particles that have been joined, even though they be separated across the universe, when something happens to one of them it also affects the other. When our hearts are evil, the whole world suffers.
How long will the land mourn,
And the herbs of every field wither?
The beasts and birds are consumed,
For the wickedness of those who dwell there.
(Jeremiah 12:4)
But there is another blood that was spilled on the ground, and it also cries out to God.
For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore … but you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things that that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24)
The blood of Abel cried out from the ground against Cain. The blood of Jesus cries out on our behalf, though we, like Cain, were covered with sin. And in that is redemption. Jesus took our sins upon Himself and judged them at the Cross, so that we might be reconciled to Father God and once again know His blessing and bring His order back into the earth. All of creation is groaning and laboring with birth pangs, eagerly waiting for this manifestation.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Why Does the Land Mourn?

Hear the word of the LORD,
You children of Israel,
For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land.
“There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.
By swearing and lying,
Killing and stealing and committing adultery,
They break all restraint,
With bloodshed upon bloodshed,
Therefore the land will mourn;
And everyone who dwells there will waste away
With the beasts of the field
And the birds of the air;
Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.”
(Hosea 4:1-3)
God created the world to respond to man, His likeness upon the earth. When man, through his rebellion, disconnected from the life of God, the world plunged into chaos. By Adam’s sin, death entered into the world, not just the death of men, but of all the animals — the birds, the beast, and even the fish. Even the land itself suffers. Wherever truth, mercy and knowing God has been replaced in the land by swearing, lying, killing, stealing and adultery, the land itself mourns, for that is not why it was created.

“Swearing” is cursing, speaking evil about people, places or things. Many people go around cursing and damning people, places and things, often using God’s name to do it, and then they wonder why their lives are like hell on earth. The earth, having been created by words, responds to our words. When we speak evil, the earth retches.

We were created to be in the image and likeness of God, even to speak like God and bring the earth into divine order. But when we speak evil, we are taking the name of God, in whose likeness we were created, in vain. And so our words become destructive, not only in the psychological realm, but also in the earth itself.

God gave us the Ten Commandments to instruct us and bless us, to teach us how to dwell in the land in fruitfulness. Notice that the five reasons Hosea lists for the mourning of the land are five of those commandments. When we curse, lie, steal, commit adultery and kill, or honor any of those things, we destroy the land and its fruitfulness. What is more, we will have to give account to God for what we have done to the land, because, ultimately, it belongs to Him. We are merely stewards, and stewards must always give account.

We thank God for sending the Lord Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and restore us to proper relationship with the Father. But we must let that salvation come and work in every area of our lives, even in the words we speak. When cursing, lying, stealing, killing and adultery are dealt with in Jesus Christ, the land will be no longer mourn, but be healed and blessed.