A Sudden Good Break by Doug Addison
Watching for my sudden good break!
Watching for my sudden good break!
It is hard for us in this anxious, fearful age to quiet our souls and actually dwell upon God in our hearts. We can engage ourselves with Bible study or other acts of obedience. In varying degrees we know how to witness, exhort and bless. We know how to analyze these things and even perfect them. But to lift our souls above the material world and consciously ponder on God Himself seems beyond the reach of our Christian experience.
To Dwell Upon God
Yet, to actually grasp the substance of God is to enter a spiritual place of immunity; it is to receive into our spirits the victory Christ won for us, which is oneness with God in Christ.
Thus we cannot content ourselves merely with the tasks we are called to perform. Ultimately we will discover that study and church attendance are but forms which have little satisfaction in and of themselves. These activities must become what the Lord has ordained them to be: means through which we seek and find God. Our pleasure will be found not in the mechanics of spiritual disciplines, but that these disciplines bring us closer to God.
Paul’s cry was, “That I may know Him!” (Phil. 3:10). It was this desire to know Jesus that produced Paul’s knowledge of salvation, church order, evangelism and end-time events. Out of his heart’s passion to know God came revelation, the writing of Scriptures and knowledge of the Eternal. Paul’s knowledge was based upon his experience with Christ.
On the other hand, we have contented ourselves not with seeking the face of God, but with studying the facts of God. We are satisfied with a religion about Christ without the reality of Christ.
The Bible is the historical record of man’s experiences with the Almighty. Out of personal encounters people had with the living God, our theological perspectives have developed. But knowledge about God is only the first step toward entering the presence of God. As much as the Bible is a book of truths, it is also a map to God. As Christians, we study and debate the map yet too often fail to make the journey.
Love Surpasses Knowledge
There is a place greater than knowledge; it is a simple, yet eternally profound place where we actually abide in Christ’s love. This is, indeed, the shelter of the Most High. Remember the apostle’s prayer was that we each would “know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). As important as knowledge is, that verse tells us love “surpasses knowledge.” Doctrinal knowledge is the framework, the vehicle, that opens the door toward divine realities, but love causes us to be “filled up to all the fullness of God” (v. 19).
There is a dwelling place of love that God desires us to enter. It is a place where our knowledge of God is fulfilled by the substance of God. The Amplified Bible’s rendering states:
“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!” (Eph. 3:17-19)
Is this not our goal, to be rooted deeply in love, to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of God’s love; and to know for ourselves the deep, personal love of Christ? Can any goal be more wonderful? Indeed, to be filled and flooded with God Himself is the very hope of the gospel!
You see, God cannot truly be known without, in some way, also being experienced. If you had never seen a sunrise or a starry night sky, could any description substitute for your own eyes beholding the expansive beauty? Awe comes from seeing and encountering, not merely from knowing that somewhere a beautiful sky exists.
Likewise, to truly know God we must seek Him until we pass through the outer, informational realm about God and actually find for ourselves the living presence of the Lord Himself. This is the “upward call” of God in Christ Jesus. It draws us through our doctrines into the immediacy of the divine presence. The journey leaves us in the place of transcendent surrender, where we listen to His voice and, from listening, ascend into His love.
The earth’s last great move of God shall be distinguished by an outpouring from Christ of irresistible desire for His people. To those who truly yearn for His appearing there shall come, in ever-increasing waves, seasons of renewal from the presence of the Lord (see Acts 3:19-21). Intimacy with Christ shall be restored to its highest level since the first century.
The Baptism of Love
Many on the outside of this move of God as well as those touched and healed by it will look and marvel: “How did these common people obtain such power?” They will see miracles similar to when Jesus Christ walked the earth. Multitudes will be drawn into the valley of decision. For them, the kingdom of God will be at hand.
But for those whom the Lord has drawn to Himself, there will be no mystery as to how He empowered them. Having returned to the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ, they will have received the baptism of love.
Is this possible, my Lord? Is it true that I might know the love of God that surpasses all knowledge? O God, I seek to know You, to live in the substance of Your love. For Your love is the shelter of my protection. Help me, Master, to recognize Your love, not as a divine emotion, but as Your very substance! Help me to see that it was neither Pilate nor Satan that put You on the cross; it was love alone to which You succumbed. Remind me again that it is Your love that still intercedes for me even now.
There are so many things to occupy our minds: so many books, so many examples, so many good teachings that deserve our attention, that say, “Here is a truth.” But as I have been serving the Lord these past years, He has led me to seek for two things and two things only: to know the heart of God in Christ and to know my own heart in Christ’s light.
Knowing the Heart of God
I have been seeking God, searching to know Him and the depth of His love toward His people. I want to know Christ’s heart and the compassions that motivate Him. The Scriptures are plain: Jesus loved people. Mark’s gospel tells us that after Jesus taught and healed the multitudes, they became hungry. In His compassion, Christ saw them as “sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34). It was not enough for Him to heal and teach them; He personally cared for each of them. Their physical well-being, even concerning food, was important to Him.
A lad with five loaves and two fish provided enough for Jesus to work another miracle, but this miracle had to come through Christ’s willing but bone-weary body. Consider: Christ brought His disciples out to rest, “for there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31).
Consider: Jesus personally had come to pray and be strengthened, for John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner, had been beheaded earlier that very week at the hands of Herod. It was in the state of being emotionally and physically depleted that Jesus fed the multitudes—not just once or twice but over and over again: “He kept giving [the bread and the fish] to the disciples to set before them” (v. 41).
Thousands of men, women and children all “ate and were satisfied” (v. 42). Oh, the heart of Jesus! The miracle was for them, but we read of no miracle sustaining Him except the marvelous wonder of a holy love that continually lifted His tired hands with more bread and more fish. Out of increasing weakness He repeatedly gave that others might be renewed.
So, if my quest is to know Him, I must recognize this about Him: Jesus loves people—all people, especially those society ignores. Therefore I must know exactly how far He would travel for men, for that is the same distance He would journey again through me. Indeed, I must know His thoughts concerning illness, poverty and human suffering. As His servant, I am useless to Him unless I know these things. If I would actually do His will, I must truly know His heart. Therefore, in all my study and times of prayer I am seeking more than just knowledge; I am searching for the heart of God.
Knowing Our Hearts
At the same time, as I draw closer to the heart of God, the very fire of His presence begins a deep purging work within me. In the vastness of His riches, my poverty appears. The psalmist wrote, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully.” (Ps. 24:3-4)
We cannot even find the hill of the Lord, much less ascend it, if there is deceit in our heart. How does one serve in God’s holy place if his soul is unclean? It is only the pure in heart who perceive God. To ascend toward God is to walk into a furnace of truth where falsehood is extracted from our souls. To abide in the holy place we must dwell in honesty, even when a lie might seem to save us. Each ascending step upon the hill of God is a thrusting of our souls into greater transparency, a more perfect view into the motives of our hearts.
It is this upward call of God that we pursue. Yet the soul within us is hidden, crouching in fear and darkness, living in a world of untruths and illusions. This is our inner man, the soul God seeks to save. Have you discovered your true self, the inner person whom truth alone can free? Yes, we seek holiness, but true holiness arises from here; it comes as the Spirit of Truth unveils the hidden places in our hearts. Indeed, it is truthfulness which leads to holiness.
God, Grant us a Zeal for Truth that We May Stand in Your Holy Place!
Men everywhere presume they know the “truth,” but they have neither holiness nor power in their lives. Truth must become more than historical doctrine; it must be more than a museum of religious artifacts—mementos from when God once moved. Truth is knowing God’s heart as it was revealed in Christ, and it is knowing our own hearts in the light of God’s grace.
As members of the human race, we are shrouded in ignorance. Barely do we know our world around us; even less do we know the nature of our own souls. Without realizing it, as we search for God’s heart, we are also searching for our own. For it is only in finding Him that we discover ourselves, for we are “in Him.”
Yet throughout that searching process, as I position my heart before the Lord, it is with a sense of trembling that I pray the prayer of King David: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”(Ps. 139:23-24)
Let us wash the cosmetics from our souls and look at the unadorned condition of our hearts. I know God has created us eternally complete and perfect in Christ. I believe that. But in the first three chapters of John’s Revelation, Jesus did not tell the churches they were “perfect in His eyes.” No! He revealed to them their true conditions; He told them their sins. Without compromise, He placed on them the demand to be overcomers, each in their own unique and difficult circumstance.
Like them, we must know our need. And like them, the souls we want saved dwell here, in a world system structured by lies, illusions and rampant corruption. Our old natures are like well-worn shoes into which we relax; we can be in the flesh instantly without even realizing it. The enemies that defeat us are hidden and latent within us! Thus the Holy Spirit must expose our foes before we can conquer them!
Concerning man’s nature, the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9) Quoting another of David’s prayers, a similar cry is heard: “Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.” (Ps. 19:12-13)
There may be errors inside of us that are actually ruling us without our awareness. Do we realize, for instance, how many of our actions are manipulated purely by vanity and the desire to be seen or accepted by others? Are we aware of the fears and apprehensions that unconsciously influence so many of our decisions? We may have serious flaws inside yet still be either too proud or too insecure to admit we need help.
Concerning ourselves, we think so highly of what we know so little!
Even outwardly, though we know our camera pose, do we know how we appear when we are laughing or crying, eating or sleeping, talking or angry? The fact is, most of us are ignorant of how we appear outwardly to others; much less do we know ourselves inwardly before God! Our fallen thinking processes automatically justify our actions and rationalize our thoughts. Without the Holy Spirit, we are nearly defenseless against our own innate tendencies toward self-deception.
Therefore, if we would be holy, we must first renounce falsehood. In the light of God’ grace, having been justified by faith and washed in the sacrificial blood of Jesus, we need not pretend to be righteous. We need only to become truthful.
No condemnation awaits our honesty of heart—no punishment. We have only to repent and confess our sins to have them forgiven and cleansed; if we will love the truth, we will be delivered from sin and self-deception. Indeed, we need to know two things and two things only: the heart of God in Christ and our own hearts in Christ’s light.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
The days that we are living in now require that we hang onto hope like never before. But what exactly is Biblical hope and how do we hang onto it? Let’s take a look.
In Hebrew, there are two primary words for hope; yachal éÈçÇì (pronounced ya-khal; Strong’s #3176) which is the word in the Scripture above and tiqvah úÌÄ÷ÀåÈä (pronounced teek-vah; Strong’s #8615) which we’ll discover later in this article. Although they are different words, they share similar meanings: to wait, to hope, and to expect.
This reveals that Biblical hope involves expectancy, not wishful thinking. Biblical hope consists of waiting for Lord to accomplish His perfect will in our lives and earnestly expecting Him to come through for you. For example, in last month’s Manna, Are You Expecting, I shared with you that my daughter is expecting and will soon be delivering my first Grandchild. She is not expecting a giraffe or an elephant (although at times she feels like she is at times lol), she is expecting a baby girl. Similarly, as believers hoping in God, we should be expecting that what God has promised us in His word will be delivered.
Unfortunately, when you are waiting (and waiting some more) and haven’t seen the fulfillment it’s easy to become depressed and discouraged. As our text reveals, our heart can become heavy or sick. Tragically, we may even give up the hope of ever experiencing the fullness that God has for us.
Can you Identify?
Have you been in the waiting room for an extended period of time and find yourself losing hope? If so, I pray that this message is an encouragement to you from the Lord.
Let’s take a look at the word translated as “deferred” in Proverbs 13:12. In Hebrew the word is mashach îÈùÇÑêÀ (pronounced mah-shakh; Strong’s #4900) and means: draw, drag, or seize. With that meaning in mind, I find it no coincidence that in John 10:10 Jesus speaks of the enemy of our soul as a thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy us. The enemy is trying to drag the hope right from our heart! Some of the ways he successfully does that is through doubt, worry, and fear. That is why it is so important to hang onto our hope. Yet, how do we do that? How do we hang onto hope especially when our heart is sick, weak, and defeated?
Scripture gives us some insight in the second chapter of Joshua through the encounter with the harlot Rahab. Interestingly, this is also where the first appearance of other word I mentioned earlier that means hope (tiqvah) in the bible. In case you are not familiar with the story let me give a very brief overview.
In a mighty display of His strength, God rescued the children of Israel from 400+ years of bondage in Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. The wilderness is a dreadful place yet they survived, nay, they thrived because God was providing what they needed as they journeyed toward their promised land.
News must have gotten around the region about Israel and their God. I’m sure that folks were talking about this group that was wandering around the desert with a cloud cover by day shielding them from the sun and a pillar of fire warming them by night as they moved toward the Promised Land. Well, Jericho was part of the land God wanted them to possess. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to a resident of Jericho watching this group coming towards your home with God leading the way? It must have been terrifying.
Rope of Hope
Enter in Rahab, a harlot who lived in Jericho. Israel sent spies into Jericho to search out the land. Rahab hid them from the king protecting them from certain death. In return, the spies promise to protect Rahab and her family if she tied a scarlet cord in her window and stayed inside the house. However, if she didn’t follow their instructions, they wouldn’t be responsible if Rahab and her family were destroyed when the walls came tumbling down.
“Unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him.” Joshua 2:18-19
I underlined the word “line” regarding the scarlet cord Rahab tied in her window because this red thread was Rahab’s rope of hope! The word “line” is tiqvah (hope). She didn’t just tie a rope in the window…she bound her future in her hope in God!
Can you imagine how heartsick Rahab could have become waiting in her house watching God’s army marching towards her town? I bet the enemy of her soul was trying to defer her hope and cause her to doubt that the sign of faith, which she placed in the window, would save her. Nevertheless, she waited on the Lord and kept that rope in her window and her hope in God. As a result, she and her family were saved from the destruction of Jericho. Hallelujah!
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Something Supernatural happens as we wait on the Lord. As we wait upon the Lord we connect to His strength, His grace, His power, and His might. Faith arises in our weak human heart and empowering us to be still and hang onto hope.
I don’t know what type of destruction you may be facing today but I know that the enemy wants to drag your hope away. He wants you to doubt you will ever see the goodness of God manifested in your life. Beloved, hang onto Jesus, He is your rope of Hope. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.” Hebrews 6:19
I know it’s hard at times but please don’t give up. Do what Rahab did, hang onto hope and you will see the salvation of the Lord. Amen and Amen.
Tiffany Ann Lewis
Ahhh, revelation! Don’t we love it when the Holy Spirit illuminates the Word, unfolds mystery, and shares secrets with us? Being awakened to Truth is so incredibly exhilarating! However, there are dangers that we all need to be aware of and avoid.
The reality is that it is very easy to become a revelation junkie. Let me explain what I mean by this. To me, this danger is the most important for us to understand. The first and primary reason the Lord grants us revelation into Truths is for application in our own lives, not just to accumulate revelation upon revelation upon revelation with a constant shout of “now that’s a good word!” In my journey, the pattern that He has always used is what I call “from the classroom to the lab” – although sometimes He may also pull a pop quiz on me! Every single time I have enjoyed a “classroom” time with the Lord when He is just pouring out insights and understanding, He follows it by divinely orchestrating circumstances in my life that provide me an opportunity to take that insight and apply it. I have explained it on several occasions like this: it’s like He guides me from the classroom and takes me to the lab, where He places me ON the Bunsen burner and turns up the heat until that revelation is baked ONTO me and I BECOME that revelation.
In the Beginning was the Word
A couple of years ago I was sharing that analogy with a friend of mine on the phone and as I was speaking that explanation out of my mouth, I heard the Lord speaking in my ear, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh. Tricia, I sent my Word in the flesh so that now I can turn your flesh into the Word.” You see, the world doesn’t need revelation – it needs Truth!! Truth is the manifestation of revelation in our lives. We have the privilege of proving the perfect will of God – His will IS His Word – we get to prove His Word! It’s the Truth we know that sets us free, but you don’t KNOW it until you DO it!! And once you’ve done it, it is then impossible to un-know what you know. What happens so often is that revelation is received and then taught without having been applied FIRST to that individual’s own life. There is NO authority and NO anointing that goes forth if the lab has been skipped! This may sound harsh, but quite frankly if you don’t have a story to share that demonstrates how the Lord worked some revelation INTO & ONTO you, I’m not really interested in hearing it. Think about it – if a scientist puts forth new insights or a new theory without actually testing the accuracy in a lab setting, we wouldn’t listen to anything he/she had to say. If a medical researcher formulates a new wonder drug without actually testing its effectiveness in a lab setting, it wouldn’t be allowed on the market. Stories are powerful!!! They allow us to “see” God’s hand at work in a person’s life and His creativity in demonstrating His Truth in the midst of that individual’s circumstances. I can’t wait to spend eternity sharing stories!!
Ok, so I think that’s the most critical danger because it can position us as hypocrites before the world if we don’t apply the revelation we receive, but just teach it as Truth. What are other pitfalls? The follow-up danger to the one above is that if we have applied the revelation to our lives and proven it as Truth, we can assume that the lab session for that revelation will look the same for everyone. NOT TRUE!! The Lord is so creative and intentional with each individual – He specifically and uniquely orchestrates our lab sessions. I love hearing how the Lord has worked the exact same revelation into others that He’s worked into me – He’s a genius at what He does and His ways are infinitely diverse! Marvel at His creativity!! Don’t attempt to have others “learn” revelation in the same way you did – let God be God and do what He does best!! Share your stories as an encouragement to others on their journey – not as a formula.
A third danger is pitching your tent on one revelation. There’s MORE!! Don’t stop!! There are some who receive revelation and then make that their entire platform and don’t move further or deeper into the mysteries and deep things of the Lord – there is layer upon layer upon layer of Truth to be excavated in His Word!!! Keep digging for treasure – mine Him for all He’s worth!!!
Fourth, we have such a strong tendency for comparison – and revelation can be wrongly used as a measure of where we are on the journey in comparison to others. DON’T do this!! I explain it this way: The Lord has been with each one of us from the beginning of our lives; He knows all of our experiences and how each one of us has been “packed”; He knows the questions that are buried deep inside of us that remain unanswered and require resolution; He knows what needs to be “unpacked” and the perfect order of that “unpacking” so that He can “repack” us with His fullness. What can happen though is that if two people are journeying this walk together and the Lord is doing something in person A’s life right now that He did in person B’s life six months ago, person B can think they are further along in the journey than person A – they can feel superior or more spiritual. Well, at that very same time the Lord may be doing something in person B’s life that He did in person A’s life six months ago, so person A can think they are further along. Seriously, we’ve got to get over ourselves!!! Praise the Lord that in His perfect wisdom He is working strategically in both people’s lives to accomplish their precise and perfect unpacking and repacking!!
And lastly, we must beware our own filters of interpretation whenever we receive revelation or a word from the Lord. I’ll share a couple of my own examples that the Lord has used to teach me this lesson well. I remember when I first felt the Lord showing me that I will have a ministry. I proceeded to research 501c3’s to try to figure out how they work, what’s required to set one up – it all seemed like more than I wanted to tackle on my own, and quite frankly it made me tired just thinking about it. After letting me do this for a couple of weeks, the Lord broke into my process and asked me what I was doing. Of course, I began to explain that I was trying to understand how to set up a ministry. (Isn’t that funny – I was explaining to Him what I was doing as He just sat there patiently and listened!) He then asked me, “What does a 501c3 have to do with having a ministry?” You see, this is my 21st century United States of America filter – ministry = 501c3. It felt so good just to let all that go and listen to how the Lord wanted to define ministry for me – what does it mean from His perspective. (NOTE: To clarify – this was my personal conversation with the Lord. Just because He didn’t mean 501c3 for MY ministry doesn’t mean that applies to anyone else. Remember, He’s all about each of us as individuals.)
A Spiritual Marathon
Another example happened about a year ago when the Lord said He wanted me to train for a marathon. I had been in a fairly long season of physical training and was excited about the challenge. My biggest obstacle was that I didn’t enjoy distance running. During my teenage years I ran sprints and never trained for distance – the farthest I’d ever run in my life was four miles. Nonetheless, I downloaded a training schedule and hit the pavement. On about my fourth day of running, it’s like the Lord begins running alongside of me and asks, “What are you doing?” I answer, “I’m running – you know – training for that marathon You said You wanted me to run.” I’m thinking to myself (like He doesn’t know my thoughts), “Duh!! Did He seriously forget that conversation?” He then says, “But you hate to run.” I’m stunned! “Well, of course! I know that, but I figured that if You want me to run a marathon, You would help me learn to enjoy it.” Then He says to me, “Tricia, go sit down. This is a spiritual marathon. In fact, I don’t even want you working out at all during this season.” Again, I forgot to take what the Lord was showing me or speaking to me and go BACK to Him with it and ask Him to explain to me what He meant by it. We have a tendency to attach meaning to things based on our filters (our culture, our experiences, our perceptions, our preferences, our own desires, our own psychological and emotional makeup, etc.). How often do we miss what He’s actually saying? I’ve learned to just respond to pretty much everything, “Awesome – so what do You mean by that?”
Here’s the bottom line: Revelation is an amazing gift! Freely receive all the revelation He freely gives to you, open it completely, absorb and learn it, and go make the world believers of Truth by BECOMING that revelation! And don’t forget to share your stories!!!