A Victorious Crown of Life

“If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!”  (James 1:12, TPT)

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved (pass the test), he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  (NAS)

We live under the tension of two conflicting realities.  And often the life of trust is raised up from the hotbed of trial where earthly realities are purified into heavenly realities. The law of love keeps us in that crucible until Papa’s perfect work is accomplished.

David says in Psalm 27, “Yet I totally trust you to rescue me one more time, so I can see once again how good you are while I’m still alive! Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!”

A Worn Out Cosmos?

But about his Son, he called him “God,” saying, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever and you will rule your kingdom with justice and righteousness, For you have cherished righteousness and detested lawlessness. For this reason, God, Your God has anointed you and poured out the oil of bliss on you more than on any of your friends.”

And he called him Lord, saying, “Lord, you formed the earth in the beginning and with your own hands you crafted the cosmos. They will both one day disappear, but you will remain forever! They will all fade like a worn-out garment, And they will be changed like clothes, and you will fold them up and put them away. But you are ‘I AM.’ You never change, years without end!” (Hebrews 1:8-12, TPT)

Stop and reflect for a moment. The universe; or cosmos; by definition, is regarded as an enormous orderly and harmonious system beyond our comprehension. But in reality, it is chaotic and violent. Yet, according to scripture, God created it for a temporary purpose. And someday, he’s going to roll it up like a worn-out garment and simply put it away.

Second Peter says, “The atmosphere will be set on fire and vanish with a horrific roar, and the heavenly bodies will melt away as in a tremendous blaze. The earth and every activity of man will be laid bare. Since all these things are on the verge of being dismantled, don’t you see how vital it is to live a holy life? We must be consumed with godliness while we anticipate and help speed up the coming of the day of God, when the atmosphere will be set on fire and the heavenly bodies consumed in a blaze.”

How big is your God?

A Lover’s Legacy

The Lord will never forget us in our need; he will bless us indeed! He will bless the house of Israel (means God prevails); he will bless the house of Aaron (means light bringer), his priest. Yes! He will bless his lovers who bow before him, no matter who they are. God himself will fill you with more. Blessings upon blessings will be heaped upon you and your children from the maker of heaven and earth, the very God who made you! The heavens belong to our God; they are his alone, but he has given us the earth and put us in charge. (Psalm 115:12-16, TPT)

The word ‘bless’ is often like a candle without a flame. We see the word in its potential as we read it or hear it, but it doesn’t shed light. The Hebrew word b’rakha means to empower for success, prosperity, longevity, produce abundantly, fruitfulness, fertility and creativity.

In Jewish tradition, a father’s blessing is cherished. And as a father, I bless all the children of my house (natural and spiritual) in that way; it is their legacy. In the Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:23-27), we receive a blessing from our heavenly Father. It’s his empowerment that commissions us to fill the earth and subdue it, to disciple nations and to give our children a heritage.

In Jesus, all the fullness of God is given to us. He put his name in us. It’s such a big deal, it’s hard to apprehend. “Things never discovered or heard of before, things beyond our ability to imagine—these are the many things God has in store for all his lovers.” (1 Cor. 2:9)

A Road Called Broken

“Lord, because I am your loving servant, you have broken open my life and freed me from my chains. Now I’ll worship you passionately and bring to you my sacrifice of praise, drenched with thanksgiving!” (Psalm 116:16-17, TPT)

When circumstances and trials won’t budge and what we expect from God doesn’t work out the way we desired, our praise and thanksgiving becomes an offering and sacrifice. When our lives are broken open and our insecurities, fears and doubts are exposed, his desire is to bring freedom, peace and trust to those areas. We can’t maneuver around it, scheme our path through it or even comprehend it. We can only fall on the rock and praise him for his grace and goodness.

Jesus is the way (the road, the route and the journey), the truth (that which conforms to eternal and spiritual realities and cannot be false) and the life (the result of a circumcised heart). Jesus is the answer when we can’t understand. Loving him and trusting him stills the storms.

Redemption’s Honor

In Israel, they use a phrase; “kol lik’vod;” as a blessing. Translated, it means “all the honor.” But it means so much more. Kaved in Hebrew is a much larger picture often not seen in English. Be rich, honorable, glorious, distinguished, wealthy and renowned.

“And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”

And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has. We will experience being co-glorified with him provided we accept his sufferings as our own.

I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory [kavod] that is about to be unveiled within us. The entire universe is standing on tip toe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters!” (Rom 8:14-19, TPT)

If we believed that word whole-heartedly, would we live differently?

Redemption’s Hospitality

Beit l’hem (Bethlehem) in Hebrew means house of bread. In the ancient world and even today, eating is a means of hospitality. “Come to my house,” is an invitation to relationship. The Bread of the Presence in the Holy Place is such an invitation. Lehem happanim; bread of the faces is the awkward direct translation; is an appeal for face to face intimacy with God in a holy house.

Jesus our redeemer was birthed in the house of bread, prophetically extending an invitation from his Father’s house to ours. In Mark 6:33-44, Jesus understood that the crowd that came out to see him was like a flock of sheep without a shepherd and he had compassion on them. The first thing he did was teach them from the invisible bread of life. Then he fed them miraculously from five loaves and two fishes. It was a model for things to come.

Jesus makes up for all that we lack. He’s provided it all. Isaiah 52:3 says, “You were sold for nothing, and you will be redeemed without money.” (NKJV) Isaiah 55:1-3 says, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat.

“Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David.”

Jesus is the answer to every need. He makes up for everything we lack. Out of his riches we have abundance. There is no reason to buy into anything else or make exception; he can be trusted. Like the best of Father God, he generously and lavishly supplies it all.

Redemption’s Treasures, Part Three

When we allow all that is Jesus to live in us, and all that is in us is given to him, we declare our treasure. Where our treasure is, is where our hearts will be. Loving him with all our heart, mind and strength is our treasure offering to him.

“I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together in love’s fabric. This will give you access to all the riches of God as you experience the revelation of God’s mystery—Christ. For our spiritual wealth is in him, like hidden treasure waiting to be discovered—heaven’s wisdom and endless riches of revelation knowledge.” (Col. 2:2-3)

Our earth-bound bodies can be captivated with a heavenly place focus. Wherever we deposit our treasure; whether heaven or earth; that’s where our thoughts and longings will turn for life. May the invisible things of eternity become our dwelling place and earth’s desires quickly fade. The quest for redemption’s treasures will move us from one to the other.