Jesus plainly tells us in Matthew 11:28 to come to His rest! In John 10:7 He says, ‘I’m the door you must enter through.’ All too often we fail to see the open door Jesus has made for our entry into His House of Rest! This past spring a red bird appeared in the window at our house of worship. At first, everyone was pleasantly distracted by his coming to the window. However, over the course of the next few weeks he would make it his mission to attack every window on our building repeatedly becoming a nuisance to everyone. I found myself thinking, ‘that stupid little bird…’, then God said to me, “you’ve been like that little bird”. The truth is, we have all been just like that little red bird. He might have found the door of entry, but he was too busy fighting his enemies, or so it would seem! In reality, he wasn’t even looking for the door. What are you seeking? Is it the open door of Jesus that brings you into a place of rest, or are you like the little bird? Just what does he see in the glass that keeps him coming back to the place of futility? He sees himself, but he is most deceived thinking it’s his enemy. In his zeal to fight, he is bound by a deception that allows the real enemy to steal what God says is rightfully his. There is a ‘little red bird’ syndrome bound in the nature of all our flesh. The little bird is fighting against his own image though he doesn’t see it. Your image will always make you angry, frustrated, and captivated by Your-SELF and the image IT produces. There is a blindness only Jesus can remove. He says to you, ‘I’ve an anointing that can heal blind eyes so you can see the door of rest.’ It is a place of recovery, it is a place of release and abundance. Any attempt to use something other than the door will leave you beaten and bruised. There is hope and healing at the Open Door of Jesus! His lessons are the cure of our ‘Red Bird’ syndrome! He is saying to you, ‘Son/Daughter, use the door! It represents the only legitimate way to my service and pleasure and by it you will produce My glory and not your own! Use the door, and you will be able to move freely in my presence where there is fulness and joy. It will be a fulness that will keep you from robbing Me and being robbed of what I alone have given you to possess!’
This morning we heard a word about an enemy who has a plan to engage us in a battle. It’s a battle of entanglement to dishearten us from our weapons and the authority that is ours. However, we heard a word about God as our maintainer and our provider. He does not deal in confusion, but in the position of truth. His provision comes as the living word of truth which he watches over to perform wonders. We heard a word that says God is all sufficient and he works at the place of our surrender. We heard a word that says our God in Christ left us a pattern that we should follow, so that at the pattern of the cross we posture ourselves for success not failure. It is a posture of humility by which he will perform wonders before our very eyes. Today he would say, do not be afraid, and do not listen to the voice of the adversary who would discourage your Faith in Christ alone! When you speak those words “In Christ Alone” you make a bold declaration of surrender about who you’re going to trust. By assuming this posture, you will be speaking forth a prayer of great release. Today, let him release you from the fear, let him release you from the things that keep you from realizing what only He is able to produce! I was impressed this week with something someone had given me to read. It revealed a long forgotten story of a man in New York City, who in 1857 called a meeting to gather people with him to pray. In that prayer meeting only six people showed up. Rather than be discouraged by what may have seemed to some as a failed attempt, they would continue to meet weekly for the purpose of prayer. It would be that within the next year, the Spirit of God would move on upwards of 10,000 people to meet daily in churches all over the city to pray. As a result of a little prayer meeting, it is estimated that 1 million people came to faith in Christ during the course of the next year. There are greater things to be had when we pray in agreement with the Spirit of God. Today, find the authority that belongs to you in Christ and never underestimate the power when His saints pray in faith.
“Are you saved?” I can remember as child a Baptist preacher saying every week without fail the words; ‘Are You saved?’ I believe those 3 words are possibly Baptist’s greatest contribution to the faith. You may know a lot about Him, but do you know Him? If there is no grieving or sorrow over your sinful condition…no witness of the Spirit, then you don’t know Him. For Jesus to truly save you, you must believe you are drowning and in need of saving—otherwise the broken cry for a savior is not heard and He cannot save. It is a matter of need…do you need Him? Do you see your very real need of His love and forgiveness? Or, do you see yourself ‘pretty good’– never considering that one sin…it’s rebellion like witchcraft that has you under a spell of deception never considering yourself that bad; it is your only weak link, but it is powerful enough to destroy your whole life with that one unredeemed failure. I see God is not mocked and sin must be atoned for. What are you doing and where are you taking your sin for atonement? Because what He takes, He covers–what He covers, He redeems, what He redeems He changes, and what He changes He keeps for Himself with a movement of the Spirit that directs my steps to increase as His disciple and witness. So, I ask you again, “Are You Saved…Are You Really Saved?”
Remember Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus? It was the place He could do very little. You’ll remember it to be a place of unbelief and a place that just considered Jesus a common man with nothing special to offer (Matt 13:54-58). It was here He would declare the power of God to release the captive and heal the broken. It was here the foolish thoughts of men raged so as to want Him dead (Lk.4). We need to get ourselves away from the small minded, common thoughts of Nazareth. The Prophet Joel prophesied of a day of power and provision of early and late rain unto a harvest to restore God’s people (Joel 2:23). It would promise a harvest of righteousness and an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. It is however, important to understand what Joel prophesied could only come when men humbled themselves to pray from the heart. James 5:7 says, ‘be patient for these rains like a farmer who waits for the early and late rain to produce what’s precious’. Too often we are thinking of the latter rain of Joel’s prophecy as some clearly defined end times movement, but what about the move of God that awaits us in prayer? I believe the patient farmer does not wait in the hot sun, but after his labor looks to do his waiting in a place of shade with a cool breeze. If you will look with spiritual eyes you will understand he waits in hope for God under the shadow of His almighty power. The patience to wait is found in prayer. “Prayer is the patience God will answer your fears and the confidence that He alone can dissolve your doubts”. Prayer changes the mind and heart of God concerning His people and moves Him to action on their behalf. Listen… there’s a thinking God must revolutionize and even re-new in your life. There is a wound that God must heal. He says to you, ‘I have healing balm which flows only from the finished work of Calvary, but you must open up your heart and trust Me to heal and restore in the humble place of prayer, and the shadow of my presence will refresh you, heal you and send rain to bring precious produce! Stop trying to live out of the movements of others, and start listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you! Stop looking for ‘the Revival” and start living for Jesus in this moment knowing He produces a harvest from His shadow by sending the early and late rain!
Recently, seeing a nearby field, the question came to me, “How green is the grass?” There are days we look upon the fields and because of our complaint, fail to see anything. Other times, we are passing by way too fast, thinking way too many things to realize the grass is green for a reason. The answer I received is; it all depends upon the prism thru which you look, either through the humble eyes of a ‘suffering servant,’ or the angry heart of an ‘indentured slave’. Only Jesus, can cancel the certificate of debt by the power of His cross to those decrees against us that hold us in pledge to this world and its lusts with an extreme precision to release us from slavish thinking and cruel bondage. The power of the cross is for the humble who will draw near with confidence to surrender their thoughts of care and ambition for this life to understand the statement, ‘Have this same attitude which was in Christ Jesus who although He existed with all the attributes of God, He humbled Himself as a slave, becoming obedient to God by taking up His cross.’ His cross, calls us higher under the influence of a still small voice, mighty in power, rich in service, and green as the grass. Philippians 2:6-11
In Psalm 40, David says of God, ‘He took me out of the miry clay and put my feet upon a rock!’ The miry clay is a picture of something, it represents a horrible place, but a timeless reminder of what to do when you get your feet stuck. While hopeless for the unbelieving, it holds a truth that there is great hope for all who call upon the name of the Lord by faith. Hear the lessons from the miry clay. It’s a place of waiting, but with expectation. There’s an expectancy that God will deliver. It is a place God uses to bring about patience, but with it the ability to endure because God is faithful and He sits in the place of confident victory. David says in that place, “He inclined to me.” Do you recognize that place holds the inclinations of God’s heart. If you go on to read, it continues by saying, “many are your thoughts to me and too vast to number.” He inclines himself toward us by making that place abundant with his thoughts to lead, to guide, to encourage, to strengthen, to rise above, and to make our footsteps firm. The picture here is one producing a place of foundation out onto a rock. The land longs for foundation, for when the foundations are shaken and men no more live by the principles of God’s word, things begin to crumble, and so goes the evolution of societies that failed to recognize God as Almighty! But God has a foundation for those who cry out to him there in that horrible stuck place–it’s a place on the Rock, and it’s a place of comforting refuge! The miry clay represents a place of melody and song because David says out of that place, “He has put a new song in my heart a song of praise to our God”. It is the sound of praise and singing that establishes us as victors and not victims. It will be a song that will call many to worship His name because of the testimony that the clay produces for the believing. It’s a super-natural place of Divine influence with a power able to raise us up because of Jesus Who says, ‘because I live, so shall you’. Verse 4 of that same chapter says, “How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust”.
“Then Jesus told them, I entered this world to render judgment, to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” John 9:39; (NLT) What Jesus said then, he is still saying to us. He came for a great revelation, one that would obliterate our thinking making us fit to take up his cause. As with the blind man, when Jesus heals the eyes he does so to reveal himself in a way as to involve us in a greater, more devoted worship (Jn 9:38). This revelation knowledge has the power to destroy speculations that severely limit our potential to believe him and see great and mighty things. It obliterates the thoughts and intentions of the heart that held us guilty and bound and of no use to God (Jn 9:41). ‘This knowledge’ truly is power to remove the blindness we so easily stumble over. I don’t know about you, I can only speak for myself, but I need the “eye doctor” who can remove my limitations caused by sin and failure to see things clearly. I need the eye doctor! He changes my view so that I might be able to see from his perspective thinking less of myself and more of him. He changes my slavish thoughts and the way that I think in an incorruptible fashion consistent with his potential to overcome my inadequacies. And finally, he changes my motives and the intentions of my heart, so that I am no longer stumbling for bread, but I’m owning the things that he gives me, so I may be used to reveal His cause and His glory. Do you need the eye doctor? If so, get in line and be willing to wait your turn. Get everything else off your agenda, you just need to see him. He will come to you, and He will find you at your lowest point when you cry out to him. And If you’re wiling, he will show you great things you did not see.