Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hidden Words

As a child, I use to love the puzzles where you had to find the hidden words. It's even fun as an adult. I am always amazed that I can look at a row of letters over and over and not see a word that is hidden in the maze. Then all of a sudden it jumps out at me, and then I am surprised that I didn't see it before.

God likes to hide words, too. God reveals things to us through His rhema word or His revealed word and it seems to be His great delight to remove the veil on something that we may not have seen before that time. Bill Johnson says that "He hides things for us, not from us".

Not only is His word often hidden from us, sometimes it is revealed to us in layers. I like to think of it as multi-dimensional rhema. This rhema to which I am referring is not given to us for the purpose of adding to our head knowledge, but He gives it to reveal a part of Himself to us or a part of who we are to Him. In other words, it's personal. He removes the veil for us and gives us a wondrous glimpse into a word or truth that we have never seen or experienced before that time. Later on, sometimes years later, He may again uncover for us another portion of that same word, not taking away from the original revelation, but adding to it another amazing yet previously hidden insight.

In my own life, He seems to enjoy doing things in groups of 3, and I have had instances of God breathing life on one word 3 different times, revealing 3 multi-dimensional meanings or applications to me. I have learned that the Word of God is like a deep well that has no bottom. It just keeps going and going and continues to provide nourishment and life to those who are willing to look deep into the mysteries of the well.

Our journey with Jesus is one of faith from start to finish and His rhema word is like the fuel for our engine of faith. In Rom. 10:17 this familiar passage tells us that "faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word(rhema) of God". In other words, God must illumine or reveal His word to us for our faith to have a sure place to stand. Too many Christians, myself included, have ventured out in presumption without having heard the rhema of God, only to fail in our valiant attempt to walk in faith.

Much of God's word can be taken and our faith attached to it whether it has become rhema to us or not, because it is God's word and we know it to be true. But many times to truly move out in faith on a word requires the illumination of God on that word to our spirit. When we know that we know that we have heard His voice, or have received His revealed word, then our faith has something to be attached to, and it becomes the sword of the Spirit mentioned in Ephesians 6:17. For it is when we attempt to move out in faith, that the enemy comes to attack us with doubt, unbelief, or other types of assault from the demonic realm. The rhema becomes our mighty sword because it is not just a head knowledge word, but a word that we have experienced or received by revelation. This rhema sword packs a powerful blow to the lies of the enemy because the word is a revealed manifestation of His truth, and where truth is, lies cannot exist any longer.

I use to believe and adhere to the saying that "God does not play hide and seek". I now believe He does, at least when it comes to hiding words. In His infinite wisdom He hides His word for us (not from us) and watches with delight as we find the treasures that He has hidden for us.

We may wonder why He would bother to hide things and not just give them all to us now, but evcn in this earthly realm we know and understand the joy of hiding our gifts, or why would we bother to wrap them? For children, Christmas morning would lose much of it's appeal if all the gifts were placed under the tree unwrapped. It is the hiddenness and mystery that enhances the joy of opening the gift at the appropriate time, and so it is with God's rhema word. He hides it for us and gives it to us at the appropriate time revealing once again His immense love for us His children.

As we come into the realization of the absolute necessity of receiving His rhema word for our lives, our stance can no longer be passive. Matthew 4:4 says, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word(rhema)that proceeds from the mouth of God." His rhema word is our very sustenance and life.

In all this talk about words, it is another mystery that Jesus, in John 1, is called the "Word". And isn't it fitting that far and above all other "words", He is the one Word most worth searching for?

"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13

Saturday, October 3, 2009

How Much Does it Cost?

I'm a bottom-line sort of gal. When a salesman comes to the door and offers me his product, all I can think about is "how much does it cost?". A decent and honest salesman will tell you up front what the cost is, and that way when the deal closes, there won't be any surprises.

I think that this is an area in which the modern day church is missing the mark. The presentation of the gospel often includes the benefits of becoming a Christian, but like a crooked salesman's contract, the cost is hidden in tiny print somewhere on the last page.

Why have we become embarrassed at what the Lordship of Christ requires of us? Wasn't it Jesus in Luke 18 who told the rich young ruler that he must sell all that he had and distribute it to the poor in order to inherit eternal life? Jesus is not setting up a rule that everyone must obey in order to be saved, but He is putting his finger on the one area that the rich young ruler was not willing to submit. This was the cost for him. It was the deal breaker.

Jesus wants all of us. Ours is a relationship that can't be compartmentalized. Real Christianity is not about putting in our time on Sunday morning so we can live our life like we want the rest of the week. Real Christianity is not a formula, but a relationship. When a person meets Jesus and realizes what they've been saved from and what they've been saved into, they will never be the same. A full-on gospel is all about an amazing love relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords whose love and grace so transforms us, that the things that use to hold our hearts no longer have appeal. "Full on" in the urban dictionary means "holding nothing back, intense, relentless". Jesus has held nothing back from us, so He deserves no less from us.

Jesus doesn't require that we be perfect to come to Him, but He does ask that we give all that we are to Him and that we allow Him access into every area of our lives. God is relentless in His pursuit of us, and relentless in His goal to conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Christians in other parts of the world know what Lordship means. Ask my daughter who serves in a Muslim nation where believers pay a high price to take on the name "Christian". It's an all or nothing mindset for them and ours should be no different. Our watered down version of the gospel has produced a watered down version of what it really means to be a Christian, and a watered down and powerless church that is more concerned with what He is going to do to make us happy, than what part we are going to play in advancing His Kingdom.

Jesus, unlike the deceptive salesman at your front door, tells you to consider the cost. He is looking for those who will slide their chips across the table and say, "I'm all in". When you cash in your chips with Him, you are giving up the right to dictate the direction your life will take. The greatest thing in all the world is that with this full surrender comes a joy unspeakable. It is one of the many mysteries of the Kingdom that "in order to find your life, you must first lose it."

Maybe that's why so many in today's church are wandering aimlessly trying to find their life. The truth is, they never lost it.

So, am I discouraged about the future? No, because I believe the church is on the threshold of Her finest hour. There are believers everywhere that God is raising up to be radical sold out revivalists whose one passion is to see His Kingdom come here on this earth as it is in heaven.

The days of "riding the fence" are soon to be over as the chasm between darkness and light widens. As the Body of Christ comes into her true identity and position, those who have never lost their lives will not be able to fake devotion as the cost will be too high.

This is the time to rise. This is the time to buy oil for your lamp. This is the time to lose your life in order to find it.

So as the Savior knocks at the door and shares with you His offer to enter the Kingdom, consider the cost. It is so worth it.