If you have not read, "Increasing Your Faith - Part One" yet, please read yesterday's post.
As I shared yesterday, to know God, we first need to know His Word. He and His Word are One. His Word establishes a 'boundary' in our hearts and minds as to the character and nature of God.
As we spend time in His Word, we begin to recognize God's voice. (John 10:27) His Word begins to rise up on the inside of us and lives. His living Word begins to easily expose the lies in our mind and thought-life that disagree with His Word and then we tear them down with the truth of God's Word.
And as we begin to get a picture of Who God is, the natural outcome is love and praise. Praise and thanksgiving begins to rise up on the inside of us. We begin to praise Him for Who He is and thank Him for what He's done..
Praise is declaring Who God is! The Seven Hebrew Words for Praise. Praise comes out of our mouth and is expressed with our bodies. Praise causes us to sing, to raise our hands, to dance, and to shout. Praise is not praise until it comes out of our mouth. Our hearts may be filled with all kinds of good thoughts toward God but that's not praise. Again, praise is not praise until it comes out of our mouth.
I love the words to Matt Redman's song, "Dancing Generation."
"Your mercy taught us how to dance
To celebrate with all we have
And we'll dance to thank You for mercy
Your glory taught us how to shout
To lift Your name in all the earth
And we'll shout to the praise of Your glory
It's the overflow of a forgiven soul
And now we've seen You, God
And our hearts cannot stay silent!!
And we'll be a dancing generation
Dancing because of Your great mercy, Lord
Your great mercy, Lord"
It's the overflow of a forgiven soul and now we've seen you God...and OUR HEARTS CANNOT STAY SILENT!! That's praise!
Praise is the guy at the football game with no shirt on, his chest painted and a cheese on his head. Praise is the woman who answers the door and finds out she won a million dollars and can't quit rejoicing. Praise is being so overwhelmed by the goodness of God that you can't contain it. Praise is finding out that even though you deserve to spend eternity separated from God that He paid the price and you get to spend eternity with Him!
Hebrews 4:16 tells us to 'come boldly into the throne room.' That word 'boldly' means 'with confidence.' Confidence born of faith. Confidence that comes from knowing we're forgiven and washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. Confidence that comes from knowing that Our Father loves us and gave up His life for us so that we might have perfect fellowship with Him.
He wants us to come into the throne room! He wants us to spend time with Him. We were created to praise Him and fellowship with Him! If anything is stopping you from doing this, go back and destroy that lie with the Word! If there's habitual sin in your life, give it to Him - put it under the blood and destroy the guilt with the truth of His forgiveness. Get washed clean with the Word.
God wants us to KNOW Him. This word does not mean that we know everything about God. He is infinite. It means 'to know' someone like a bride knows her husband. It means 'to be intimately acquainted with.' This word means 'to intercourse' with God.
The Bible says that marriage is a mystery that is an illustration of the Bride of Christ and Jesus, the Head of the Church. Ephesians 5:32
We are to be the intimate Bride of Christ. When we come before God with praise, His Presence is drawn to us. James 4:8 says that when we draw near to God, He draws near to us. As we begin to get lost in His Presence, we enter into worship. In this place of worship, Spirit touches spirit, and we are satisfied and made whole. We cannot be made whole without this intimacy with God.
It's in this Holy of Holies that we are transformed into His likeness. We are changed from glory unto glory unto glory as we behold Him. (2 Cor 3:18) It's in this place that He fills our hearts with His Love and His Nature and we become Christ-like. It's in this place that He speaks to us and makes His heart known to us.
When I get up in the morning, I don't have a 'quiet-time.' I don't DO devotions. I come before God with praise. I enter into the Presence of God through praise and I worship Him. That's not to say that I'm never quiet before God. I'm often quiet before God - after I get into His Presence.
I typically get my Bible, (a cup of coffee), my journal and pen. I turn on praise and worship music. And I go to God with praise.
Sometimes when I enter into worship, God will speak something to me that I need to write down. Other times He will show me something in His Word. Sometimes He will 'download' revelation and understanding into my heart. He will show me visions and pictures of people. He shows me how to pray.
Sometimes, God will direct me to 'declare' the things He's telling me. At times, I will become overwhelmed with the victory that God is showing me and I have to dance and shout and wave a banner. (This is spiritual warfare - following God's direction and speaking His Voice into the earth... praising God with dance and banners that summon the angels to do God's warfare. I'll try to share some teachings with you on this in the future and the language of color.)
It's in this place with God that I get healed and restored and washed. God convicts me of sin and I ask His forgiveness and He empowers me to change, to repent. I can't change myself just because I decide to - that's humanism. And it doesn't work. I need God to change me on the inside. I need God to judge me and correct me and to empower me. I need God. I need God, the person!
I need on-going, life-changing encounters and intercourse with the One Who created me. It's through these encounters that I begin to understand who He created me to be and I begin to walk in it.
And that's faith!
I have gone through seasons and times in my thirty-some years with the Lord when I have not been faithful to do this. And I get weaker. I stop growing. I become stagnant. But when I set my heart to seek Him and do what I know to do, He is always faithful! He always receives me and restores me and sets me free. He has restored the years the locust have eaten. He has set me on a rock and I cannot be shaken. He has taken me out of the pit and put me in a wide-open place.
If I need healing, I often receive it, just by being in His Presence. Spending time with God will cause all the gifts of the Spirit to rise up in you. You will become sensitive to His leading all day long. You will hear His voice and His direction. God will drop things down into my Spirit during the day as I'm doing the laundry. Sometimes the things He will give me during the day are so huge that I will have to drop to my knees next to the washing machine and thank Him and praise Him again.
This is abiding in Him. This is seeing the world through His eyes and knowing with confidence that He has heard me and is answering my prayers.
This is walking by faith and not by sight.
love and blessings~