Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Fullness Thereof

A few months ago when I felt impressed to start this blog, I was working late one night setting it up and when I came to the box specifying the title - "the fullness thereof" immediately came to mind. Knowing this was from the Lord, I named it as such and moved on, but I knew I would revisit this topic and pray about why God wanted it named this.

In the context of the verse (Psalm 24:1), this phrase denotes God's complete and total ownership of the world and everything in the world - all of its fullness. I want to relate the phrase though to our walk/relationship with God. Bear with me as we go crazy in the dictionary a bit: Full - holding or containing as much as possible; filled to capacity or near capacity; with all privileges, rights, etc.; with no part lacking, complete; the greatest degree, extent, etc.

So many who bear the name of Christ today aren't living in, or for that matter, even being exposed to all of the fullness available. We serve a limitless God who has empowered us and given us everything we need to overcome. Yet so often, we are content to both hear and live a watered down gospel. I pray that this blog may be instrumental in challenging you to pursue the fullness thereof with God, that you may be: filled to capacity, with all privileges and rights, with no part lacking. Amen!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pressing On's Response

Hosea 6:3 (NLT):
Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.

As I read this Scripture, I am amazed at the grace and love of our Almighty God. What seemed like merely an encouraging pick-me-up or a new motivational status update to this westernized Christian was truly so much more in the context of the book of Hosea.

Just a little background if you are not familiar: Hosea was a prophet of God to the northern kingdom of Israel before its demise. Early on in Chapter 1, God instructs Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, and that this would be an illustration of God's relationship with Israel. Defying the customs and proper appearances of the time (not that this situation wouldn't be given a bewildered glance today!), Hosea follows God's instructions and marries Gomer. After having children together, she leaves him and is unfaithful with other men. Just as God pursues Israel after her relationship with other gods, so Hosea goes after Gomer and redeems her back.

This book tunes into the very heart of the Father and the unfathomable depths of His love, despite the unfaithfulness of His chosen people. Of course, let's not just point the finger at Israel though, the Gomer in this story often describes each and every one of us. And yet despite all of our shortcomings and unfaithfulness, He still yearns for the renewal of an intimate relationship with us.

And here in this verse we are exhorted to "press on." The definition of the word press is - to act upon with steadily applied weight or force. Sometimes that is what it feels like in our daily pursuit of God...steady application of force. But look at the result of the pressing - He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn. What a promise! Especially if you look at it in the light of the history of this story. Even from a people this stubborn and hard-hearted, He encourages through His prophet Hosea that they form an attitude of wanting to know Him and press onward, so that He can SURELY (firmly; unerringly; without missing, slipping, etc.) respond.

Let the principles of this story and the revealed heart of the Father sink down deep into your spirit - He didn't choose this story as His analogy by accident!


As I was making my way through the book of Daniel, I came across a passage of Scripture that had never stuck out to me before - Chapter 10, Verses 16-19 (NLT):

~Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my lord, and I am very weak. How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe." Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my lord, for you have strengthened me.”~

In Daniel's case, he was seeing some pretty frightening images of things to come. Like me though, I am sure a lot of you are weakened and left breathless by just what is going on all around us in this world and in our very own countries and communities. I do believe we are approaching, if not entering, "the time of the end" as described by the angel Gabriel in 8:17. How close I do not know, but certainly enough for all of us to sit up and pay attention.

In our day to day lives, it is sometimes easier to quote "bury our heads in the sand" and avoid thinking about all of the ugliness and evil that permeates our world, much less to attempt doing something about it. However, knowing what Jesus said in Matthew 24 about keeping watch/observing the signs and about the state of readiness of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, should warn us against doing just that.

Times are hard, and frankly, they are going to get harder. But I also believe God's grace is going to be grow stronger and sweeter for believers in these days! As the warfare and spiritual activity pick up and you find yourself worried, frightened, or even breathless like Daniel - don't be tempted to shut it out and insulate yourself, but rather face it head on and seek comfort in the strengthening power of the Scriptures and the touch of God. I believe this is God's lion shout to His church, the body of Christ, today through His incredible Word: DON'T BE AFRAID...FOR YOU ARE VERY PRECIOUS TO ME. PEACE! BE ENCOURAGED! BE STRONG!"