Glory is when holiness comes to expression. How we glorify God.

As God is the saints’ glory so they are His.

An amazing statement. Hear Jesus pray in John 17 that, “I have given them the glory that you gave me.”

Glory is the extraordinary, mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence as He brings to light or manifests all the goodness that He has and is. Glory is when holiness comes to expression.

At creation, only man was given a deposit of this glory, we were made in the image of God  (imago dei). God animated our souls with His God breath.  Man can express our worship of God only because from our spirit, where that deposit of glory rest, our soul’s interpreter speaks using man’s tongue. The glory of man above all created, uses words to declare praises. This is to glorify God.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Heb 13:15

To glorify God is to be used to bring Glory to Him.

I write “used” because we are incapable of doing this ourselves. The imperfect cannot show or explain the perfect. When we glorify God it is God glorifying Himself through us. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil 2:3 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Cor 4:7

How does God work in us and through us to bring Himself glory?

Using the different meanings of glory we can better understand what glorify means.

Light: Jesus calls us the light of the world and we need to shine and illumine our area of influence with the presence of Christ. Light reveals. To glorify God is to reveal God so others see Him. See Him, not us.

Majesty: Recognizing God as our great Lord and King. To glorify God is to live in submission to His will and purposes. We exalt the awesomeness of God’s sovereign rule, absolute power and majestic creation.

Brilliance: Make God look good by our love and unity with believers. To glorify God is to make Him beautiful, desirable, and attractive in the eyes of man by the radiant way that we live out our love for Him and others.

Boasting: Holding God in high esteem we value, delight and take pride in God, valuing our relationship with God above everything else. We give a witness to God’s work in our lives and boast of Christ and the good news of His grace and gospel. To glorify God is to live our lives so that God could boast of us like He did about Job.

Honor:  Publically show the value that we have toward God. To glorify God is to express God’s worth to us in praise, worship and adoration. We magnify God’s name by making God’s name heard then pronouncing it great so others will also fear, which Biblically means be in awe of and respect, Him. We promote the name of God with great respect with the purpose that the mere mention of God’s name would evoke praise from men.

There are also ways we steal glory from God.

We glorify creation instead of the creator. We give glory to ourselves, our opinions, our works, ways and wills or we give glory to the world, men or objects, events or emotions. We ignore God, omit Him in conversations or fail to model Him to others. We profane His name with words or actions. We are taken over by pride. We put something above God, called an idol, that hides God’s character or distorts it as all things that lie to us do.  We don’t do what we say which labels us a hypocrite.

How can we glorify God with great intention.

Prepare our knowledge, attitude and will to this end by an earnest desire and commitment to glorify God.
Shift our attention to live out a life of worship by becoming aware of God’s presence and giving honor to Him.
Pray for a desire to glorify God, a consciousness of when we steal glory and a commitment to live it out.

In the Westminster Shorter Catechism the question, “What is the chief end of man?” is answered.
Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
The second question is “What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him?”
The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.

Psalm 145 describes what glory is, why it is to be given to God, and how we are to give it.

First David describes what glory is and how it is to be given:

1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. 2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. 4 One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. 5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds.7 They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

The psalmist goes on to describe the character of God in a way that makes Him desirable to men:

8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10 All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. 11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.

The writer continues with God’s noble acts:

14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3

Want to learn more, read The Honor Series, parables about God’s glory expressed in contemporary fiction.

Glory the work of suffering. How evil’s wounds become victory’s scars.

I work at being a writer. I practice each day and read the works of others and study the craft and have a curious mind when it comes to words and the working out of language. But within my old school pen or modern age laptop there is not any magical power or tendency within the equipment to ‘write’. They are only tools and cannot labor by themselves without the writer taking them up to work. The tools do not create or produce even a letter without being taken in hand.

So if glory is the work of suffering, is there any merit in affliction, sufferings and troubles?

Does God barter eternal glory for a toothache, family troubles, poverty, lack, widowhood, old age? We dismiss that immediately if we know even the beginning truths of God’s plan of redemption that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. God does not invest affliction with any degree of merit and certainly no ‘magic’ power to earn glory. Affliction works for us like my laptop and my pen. There is no merit in the keys that type the letter. The merit is in the hand of him that strikes the keys into an order. The efficacy lies in the strength and skill of the writer.

Have you recently had a severe family trouble? There is a saying, “A mother is only as happy as their saddest child.” We suffer with our children maybe more than they suffer. But have you been able to weigh the Lord’s dealings with you? Have you seen the effect of those trials upon your soul and what spiritual profit have you reaped? Can you find in these troubles any fruits of the spirit?

No. Huh? There’s not a greater love when you are in lack? A kinder heart when you’re being slandered? A greater patience in that third round of chemo? A stellar self-control that pushes aside even a snarl as you deal with back pain?

Then you are more like me and ‘woe, is me’ when suffering starts. We can find ourselves blowing up balloons of self-pity and having a woe-is-me party before we even see how we’re responding. If you’re critical of that then beware the seat of scoffers.

Trials test us.

They prove out what is real in us and sometimes the first fruits are spoiled, rotten. In the prequel to The Glory series, you’ll see this illustrated—Honey Cooper, a faithful cowboy, acts more like a rank bull when his world gets rocked. Believers don’t allows act out what we believe.

Often our flesh rises up and acts out first when we encounter suffering.

Afflictions can bring out rebellion, peevishness, fretfulness, self-pity, unbelief and even despair. Troubles can cause a tantrum that would put a two year old to shame. Most of us are not sanctified enough to say at the start of suffering, “This is my comfort in my affliction, for your word has quickened me;” or, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes?”

Our initial response can often be immature, but God. But. God. Works in us. His hand is upon the spade turning over the dirt and the typewriter keys guiding our story. Spirit fills us when we are upon the floor in an exhausted heap from our tantrum and words become prayer, supplication, confession, desires. Our first whispered, “Help me, God,” begins our cooperation for this sanctifying suffering working to make us more like Christ.

Our heart, too often, is so full of the world that there is in it little room for Christ until He himself drives out the intruders and prunes away the rabbit trail branches that lead to comfortable fruitless lives.

Affliction in his hands, and especially spiritual affliction, convinces us of the sin and emptiness of loving the world. It embitters us to its temptations and loosens our heartstrings to its pleasures.

We don’t understand the power sin exercises in our carnal mind. What strongholds it builds. We are blind to its destructive fruit. What a need there is for a fierce, furious love of God to go to war in our behalf against an enemy we often ignore and disregard or even flirt with. Christ is a jealous dominate lover of our souls. He will tolerate no rivals.  We are fools to think Him mean. Harsh. Uncaring. Strict. Or worse, far away. He is with us. Here. In this suffering, trouble, affliction, mess. And he is working. Working. That’s the key action.

I AM is working.

He is God and He is a hater of sin and a lover of His own. And He, is working in us. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)

We need His discipline to teach us the folly of our ways and assure us that nothing, nothing, nothing save Christ is eternal. We need his corrections to convince us that abiding and thriving is the holy way to glory not sufficiency and striving. We need Him. This Jesus. With his scarred hands, evil’s wounds now victories scars. What love is this? That God would show us how to suffer well.  What hope is this? That the cross, a torturous death device, worked out our salvation. What faith is this? That we are promised a result from affliction; Glory.

And as God is the saints’ glory so they are His. Glory. It is all His.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor 4:17-18

Want to learn more, read The Glory Series, parables about God’s glory expressed in contemporary fiction.

Glory is the extraordinary, mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence as He brings to light & manifests all the goodness that He has & is.

 

Affliction. This is light? a study of Glory in 2 cor 4:17-18

Affliction. Troubles. Times, when as the Message says, ‘things are falling apart on us.’ And God’s true Word says these moments are light.
As in light in weight, a burden easy to bear. Cancer, light? Wayward children, light? This back pain, light? I’m in debt, light? Without a job, light? Divorced, light? None of this feels, light. Suffering presses body and soul down into the dust with its weight and it is hardly ever ‘momentary’. This trouble started months or years ago and its peculiar nature could continue to remain for the rest of life. I don’t call that momentary.

But neither our foreboding nor our feelings on suffering can be taken as proofs of how a matter really stands. We must receive the Spirit of Truth’s testimony not our fallible feelings or false fears. If you answered the call of grace and know Christ as your savior then you, child of God, are called to carry on these light and momentary afflictions so that these troubles can do their work.

Neither our foreboding or feelings can be taken as proofs of reality- We must receive & believe the Spirit of Truth’s testimony in the Word. Tweet: Neither our foreboding or feelings can be taken as proofs of reality- We must receive & believe the Spirit of Truth’s testimony in the Word.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 2 Cor 4:17(KJV) Link to this another working verse, the ever faithful promise found in Romans 8:28 in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good.

These light in weight and easy to bear troubles come in two varieties: temporal and spiritual.

Temporal afflictions that people are subject to by reason of the fall are universal and come as bodily afflictions, family sorrows, and providential trials.  Summing it up so we don’t rabbit trail, here are some principles:

  • Health troubles prove out a sanctified illness is far better than an unsanctified health.
  • Earthly happiness is much derived from family but too often we set up these ‘family idols’ as our household gods and they usurp the place of God and chain us down too closely to earth.
  • There is a poverty found in riches and a richness found in poverty.

Spiritual afflictions are unique to the children of God. What is loss of health, family, friends, job, property … to the hidings of God’s face, to guilt of conscience, to the smell of death on an unbeliever, to the anticipation of the coming day of wrath? What are the temporary afflictions you suffer compared to the frown of your Beloved savior, the pruning of his sheers, the touch of His weighty hand?

How can these be light when we feel them so heavy?

Holy Spirit makes no mistakes. He describes things as they really are in God’s sight so they must be lined up in our sight. Let us confess we are wrong. Again. In how we feel about things. Now let us return to God and see if Spirit can come along side to help us see truth and believe it.

Compare and contrast is a good place to start to understand something. And we are in the process of changing how we think about Affliction so let’s go deeper.

If Glory is heavy, affliction is called light. 2 cor 4:17-18  Tweet: If Glory is heavy, affliction is called light. 2cor4:17 http://4jlkelly.org

Weigh your blessings against your afflictions. First look at your stewardship compared to your blessings. Your ROI (return on investment) to Christ’s sacrificial love and abundant blessings. You’ve been given every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Eph 1) Every. Spiritual. Blessing. And if you can’t fill a book with your gratitude for these then you need to stop now and take up Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are and be given sight. You’re blind my friend to the work of God.

Put blessings into one scale and all your afflictions, both temporal and spiritual, into the other. Are your afflictions heavy now? Compare your light and temporary troubles to the eternal torments of those damned in hell. Compare your sufferings with the Lord Jesus Christ’s passion week. Have you drank the dregs of the cup of God’s wrath? Do we really suffer with a little body pain, a child afflicted, not quite so much money, a marriage more a trial than a comfort and think to compare our afflictions with the Man of Sorrow?

And if the light of these is ever so heavy, Spirit still says it is ‘but for a moment’.

There is an expiration date on our suffering marked momentary.

What is time compared to eternity? A grain of sand to the beach, one star to the galaxy, a drop compared to the ocean. They are insufficient to even compare. Time and eternity can never be compared together. Today cannot stand against all the past and every tomorrow.

Think about this. What if all of Job’s suffering were yours. If all of Paul’s, Jonah’s, David’s, Leah & Rachel’s, the ancient martyrs, all of these put upon your head to live out. When death came and your soul was transformed to eternity, what would they be? Only a moment.

If we let undisciplined minds run amuck and imagine the absolute worst, we forebode joy. Only one Man ever took on all the suffering upon His head. This Jesus will never lay upon His own more than they can bear. “He knows are frame, He remembers that we are dust.” Go to an Ash Wednesday service this lent and experience the reminder of who we are in His sight.

Dust.

But we are also bruised reeds He will never break and smoking flax He will never quench. And chosen people He calls his friends that He knows so personally the intensity and duration of every suffering is shifted through his scarred hands. Under the heaviest afflictions, the Lord grants the greatest support and in the deepest sorrows He sings the most precious songs. There is always a promise given, a word of comfort and a peace provided in Him that lights up every darkness with Shekinah glory.

Why does God allow these light and momentary sufferings? For the sanctifying of the soul, His own glory, and the anticipation of heaven.

Seen this way and now considered, can we call our own affections ‘light?’ Fixing our eyes on eternity, can we endure in this present state ‘but for the moment?’ Spirit of Truth has enlightened the enigma. Now can we leave rebellious opinions, self-pity and unbelief behind.

2-corinthians-4-17-18

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (MSG)

Want to learn more, read The Glory Series, parables about God’s glory expressed by J.L. Kelly.

GLORY. This is heavy. What does Glory mean?

“Glory is a word of uncertain origin,” the etymology dictionary stated well.
One of those ancient words we use but what does Glory mean?

The Hebrew root words seem deep as they define Glory as heavy or weighty. I read that the first time and thought, heavy? I thought glory was bright and brilliant, magnificent splendor and it is defined that way in Old French.

Gloire “the splendor of God or Christ; praise offered to God, worship, glory (of God); worldly honor, renown; splendor, magnificence, pomp” (11c., Modern French gloire).
From the Latin there is gloria “fame, renown, great praise or honor.”
The Greek took the Latin word and gave us another way to think about Glory, they called it doxa (From dokeō, “to  seem”) and defined it as “expectation” (Homer), later “an opinion, judgment or estimate and hence the honor resulting from a good opinion.”

Glory is used of the nature and acts of God in self-manifestation, what He essentially is and does, as exhibited in whatever way He reveals Himself in these respects.

In worship, God is Glorified; ascribing honor to Him as we acknowledge Him as to His being, attributes and acts. A doxology from the Ancient Greek (doxa, “glory” and logia, “saying”) is a short hymn of praises to God and the tradition derives from a similar practice in the Jewish synagogue to end each section of the service.

Listen to Nicole Nordeman sing the doxology.

Opps…rabbit trail...quickly forming…

Back to the future and our topic.  “Whoa, this is heavy!” I repeat what was proclaimed in all three Back to the Future movies by Marty and the slang helps me understand glory as heavy:

1) When something is unbelievable, out of the ordinary.
2) When something is good, excellent, brilliant.
(Urban Dictionary)

Let me sum up Glory by combing these thoughts into a stated definition.

Tweet this defintion: Glory is the extraordinary, mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence as He brings to light & manifests all the goodness that He has & is.

When God’s presence appeared, manifested, was brought to light from the supernatural unseen world into the natural seen world, people were blown away, overwhelmed, almost crushed as they fell to their face under just a glimpse of the ‘weightiness of God’.

Glory has no true metaphor.

Its truth is so unbelievably heavy that the finite mind can’t hold it all.
The Bible tries to help us with examples like a glory that surrounds a king, the fruitfulness of a forest ( Isa 35:2 ; 60:13 ), even the awesomeness of a horse’s snorting ( Job 39:20 ), or the ornateness of expensive clothing ( Luke 7:25 ).

Glory is the extraordinary, mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence as He brings to light or manifests all the goodness that He has and is. Glory is when holiness comes to expression.

We see. God for who He is. “Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around!” John 13:31-32 (the Message)

Jesus Christ the son of God is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3

This Jesus; crucified, dead and buried—was resurrected. Heavy. Hallelujah! Glory! Yes.

At creation, only man was given a deposit of this glory, we were made in the image of God  (imago dei). God animated our souls with His God’s breath.  Man can express our worship of God only because from our spirit, where that deposit of glory rest, our soul’s interpreter speaks using man’s tongue. The glory of man above all created, uses words to declare praises.

Man’s highest glory is found in his lowest posture, laying crowns at Glory’s pierced feet; for only He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power and praise.

Man has his glory days. They are found in his worldly position, in the sense of his possessions, in a young man’s strength and old man’s wisdom. At a deeper level man’s glory is found in our willingness to overlook the faults of others or avoiding strife, or sacrificially serve others. But too often man’s pursuit of folly shows that we do not live up to our glorious calling to worship God and our human glory can become an expression of independence from God. We find our eyes fixed on the earth instead of heaven. The glory days ring with ‘look at me, think of me, do not neglect me. Wash-rinse-repeat me. Busy, busy, glorifying me. What breaks the cycle?

Affliction and suffering, trials and tribulation. Call it a financial crisis, health scare, family difficulty. Those nasty things that weigh us down and bring self to a screeching halt when we realize, ‘self cannot do this life thing alone’. We turn back to God (repent). Now, if you are a partaker of grace and are able to weigh the Lord’s dealings with you, look at the results of those trials. What spiritual profit have you reaped from them?

Transformation has glory’s fingerprints all over it.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also– knowing that tribulation works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope; and hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.” Romans 5:3

Glory is a gift given to us in Holy Spirit.  Christ in you, the hope of glory (col 1:27); that extraordinary, mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence as He brings to light or manifests all the goodness that He has and is. Glory is when holiness comes to expression.

J.C. Philpot preached, “There is a certain preparation necessary for the manifestation of that grace to the soul which is the beginning and the pledge of eternal glory. For instance, ‘guilt of conscience’ prepares the soul for the blood of sprinkling. The arrows of the Almighty, shot into the heart from his unerring bow, prepare it for the balm of Gilead; a taste of hell for a taste of heaven; the thunders of the law for the consolations of the gospel; views of self for views of Christ. Apprehensions of the wrath to come hunt the soul out of every false refuge, convince it of its need of an imputed righteousness, and preserve it from resting in a name to live. It is thus that the deepest trials usually issue in the greatest deliverances, the sorest distress in the sweetest consolation, and the pangs of hell in the joys of heaven.”

Paul is telling us, “In our sinful state, with our finite mind and our weak, frail body and emotions, we could not bear the weight of the immortal glory prepared for us.” Remember, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 cor 2:9

This is the “weight of glory” that the apostle speaks of– beholding and enjoying that mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence in the Godhead trinity of Father, Son and Spirit for eternity. “We shall see Him as He is and know even as we are known.” 1 John 3:2

Jesus prayed for us this way, “My prayer is for those who will believe in me … I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17)

As God is the saints’ glory so they are His.

That’s heavy. It blows my mind. It bows my body. It lifts my empty hands and opens my speechless mouth. It swells up in my soul and manifests in an overflow of God breathed words.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Glory.

The extraordinary, mind-blowing weightiness of God’s presence as He brings to light or manifests all the goodness that He has and is.

Want to learn more, read The Glory Series, parables about God’s glory expressed.

When you walk the road to Emmaus

walk to emmaus

WHEN YOU WALK THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

Luke 24:13-35

Did you hear this alarming news?

46,471: Drug Overdoses Killed More Americans Than Car Crashes or Guns (CNSNews.com)

drugs kill
“Drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, ahead of motor vehicle deaths and firearms (deaths),” the Drug Enforcement Agency announced on Wednesday. In 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, 46,471 people in the United States died from drug overdoses, and more than half of those deaths were caused by prescription painkillers and heroin.

It’s alarming.  A serious wake-up call.  Snoozing is no longer an option when you get this kind of news. That someone you knew, loved, shared life with has overdosed and died. That tragedy became personal this past week as our collegiate son lost a friend to an overdose.

Questions immediately arose.  Disturbed, that heroin was that close to my son’s inner circle of life, we confronted him with frank questions. Distressed , we worried if we’d been naïve or distracted-majoring on the minors when the unimaginable of heroin was a real threat to his life and never discussed. Distraught, we grieved for his friend’s family. My troubled heart found a place of comfort from Luke’s account of Resurrection Sunday where two disturbed, distressed and distraught disciples found answers.

The road to Emmaus is a picture of the aftermath of a traumatic experience. 

Times when you think it’s all just a bad dream and you’re going to wake up but instead you find yourself in the reality of an emotional roller coaster ride you never wanted on and can’t get off.  This is the universal journey when death has come—to a person or a job or a marriage, or your good health, or a dream.  Something has died. And it changes the orientation of life.  What do you do now?

The two disciples in Luke’s account began to walk home, trying to make sense of it all. Their hopes of the kingdom of God and in the Messiah they had given up everything to follow were ended in a brutal crucifixion. Jesus was dead and buried.

They wandered home, suspended between yesterday and tomorrow. 

Powerless to prevent the events or change their current situation. Wrung out—emotionally, spiritually and physically—by the troubling “what ifs”. These disciples were in what Richard Rohr calls “liminal space”—a particular spiritual position where human beings hate to be, but where the biblical God is always leading them. The Latin root limen literally means “threshold,” referring to that needed transition when we are moving from one place or one state of being to another. Liminal space usually induces some sort of inner crisis: you have left the tried and true (or it has left you), and you have not yet been able to replace it with anything else.

Biblically this is:
Abraham called to a land he did not yet know.
It is Joseph in the pit or later prison.
It is Jonah in the belly of the whale.
It is David the shepherd anointed to be king.
It is pregnant Mary.
It is blinded Paul.
And it is two disciples on the Emmaus Road.

This journey is a time for overwhelming emotions and dangerous questions. Thank God we have each other!

Like the disciples, when two like-minded friends chose to walk together and talk things out; comfort-that inner strengthening-occurs. They didn’t stride in silence or talk about the weather or anything else but that.  While the experience was still raw and fresh and powerful, unresolved and unhandled they chose to talk with each other about ‘all these things that had happened‘. This open-hearted conversation created a place for Jesus to join in. That is the soul of Christian community that can happen in a home, a coffee café, a corner of campus or the bleachers of a stadium.  It’s an unfixed place where two or more are gathered in His name with open hearts and authentic discussion seeking to discover Jesus and His transforming power. Here power is released for today and hope is given for tomorrow and comfort is received for the past through the Holy Spirit.

Traversing the road between the now and the not-yet it is vital to have a spiritual companion with whom we can freely talk about ‘all these things that have happened’. Whether comforted or challenged, confessing doubt or debating action steps, always we gain a spiritual perspective that causes our hearts to burn within us as we realize Jesus has joined in the midst of these conversations, bring his wisdom and love as we walk the road together.

After the alarming news of my son’s friend who died of an overdose, we gathered together as a family. We talked and assured one another. We prayed and our son joined with his friends and talked and they grieved together and they remembered their friend. And friends went together to the memorial and they talked and they comforted one another and this grieving family and they agreed in the promises of God and believed what was written, “He has risen.” And had hope.

 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
HEBREWS 10:24-25

May the Lord Jesus Christ bring you grace and peace in the midst of your Emmaus road.

κοπιάω-a few Greek words define the Sweet Spot

In professional sports, especially football an athlete reaches what’s called the ‘sweet spot’.
It’s that time in his career where his physical strength and ability of a young man intersects with enough years of experience and wisdom to master the game. It’s when quarterbacks can play at the highest level and influence their teams to victory. Think Brady or Rodgers.

brady vs rodgers

The sweet spot.  The harvest. That comes in time after much toil.

You get there after a lot of very hard work.  There’s a word in greek that Paul uses to express this- κοπιάω. Transliteration: kopiaó Phonetic Spelling: (kop-ee-ah’-o). 
Definition:
 I toil, work with effort (of bodily and mental labor alike).
I remember this word by telling myself to “Cope-EE-owl- CopE (like an) owl.”

great_horned_owl_by_bioworkz-d7eh8pz

Kopiaó is the idea that you break a sweat. You’ve worked until it drips and your body and mind have exerted at maximum intensity toward a purpose. It’s that effort in the pursuit of results that produces success. It’s your plan added to consistent effort measured by integrity that produces excellence. It’s knowing you’re weak, and your weaknesses, and your spiritual poverty and your lack of discipline, tendency to wander, chief temptations, and feeling the weariness that comes from the constant toil, and still believing by faith that God with work in you and through you as you trust in Him because He has called you and will equip you and you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. 
To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. Col 1:29

The sweet spot is what R. Kent Hughes writes about in the preface of his ‘Preaching The Word‘ commentaries, ‘A Word to Those Who Preach the Word.’ Every year I would read this essay before I began to teach the BSF study and I would often return to it when the Kopiaó had me weary from exertion. I found great encouragement, wisdom and peace in the charge of R. Kent Hughes words so I share this treasure with those who CopE (like an) owl.

Hughes writes, “There are times when I am preaching that I have especially sensed the pleasure of God. I usually become aware of it through the unnatural silence… through which my words sail like arrows. I experience a heightened eloquence, so that the cadence and volume of my voice intensify the truth I am preaching. There is nothing quite like it-the Holy Spirit filling one’s sails, the sense of His pleasure, and the awareness that something is happening among one’s hearers.
What has happened? How do we account for this sense of God’s smile?
The answer has come from the ancient rhetorical categories of logos, ethos and pathos.

Logos– God’s Word. We stand before God’s people to proclaim His Word because we have done our homework. (Kopiaó) We have exegeted the passage, mined the significance of its words in their context & applied sound hermeneutical principles in interpreting the text so that we understand what its words meant to its hearers. We have labored long until we can express in a sentence what the theme of the text is & our outline springs from the text. Then, our preparations will be such that as we preach, we will not be preaching our own thoughts about God’s Word but God’s actual Word, His logos. This is fundamental in pleasing Him.

Ethos-what you are as a person. There is a danger endemic to preaching, which is having your hands and heart cauterized by holy things. Phillip Brooks illustrates it by the analogy of a train conductor who comes to believe that he has been to the places he announces because of his long and loud heralding of them. And that is why Brooks insisted that preaching must be “bringing of truth through personality.” Though we can never perfectly embody the truth we preach, we must be subject to it, long for it, and make it as much a part of our ethos (what we are as a person) as possible. As the puritan William Ames said, “Next to the Scriptures, nothing makes a sermon more to pierce, than when it comes out of the inward affection of the heart without any affectation (design to impress).”
When a preachers ethos backs up his logos, there will be the pleasure of God.

Pathos-personal passion and conviction. David Hume, the Scottish philosopher and skeptic was once challenged as he was seen going to hear George Whitefield preach, “I thought you do not believe in the gospel.” Hume replied, “I don’t, but he does.” Just so! When a preacher believes what he preaches, there will be passion. And this belief and requisite passion will know the smile of God.

The pleasure of God is a matter of logos (the Word), ethos (what you are), and pathos (your passion). As you preach (or teach) the Word may you experience His smile- the Holy Spirit in your sails!” R. Kent Hughes

As the BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) year begins and many dear friends begin again to kopiaó as they teach, lead and attend classes all over the world in The Revelation study, I pray that you may be blessed abundantly as you strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in you to find the sweet spot and feel God’s smile.
To God be the Glory! JLK

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1: 25-29

Prepare. Day 42 of Lent. Just as I am.

Prepare. Day 42 of Lent. Just as I am.

prepare the way of the Lord

A People Prepared for the Lord- A Sermon,
Delivered By C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
On Lord’s-day Evening, March 13th, 1887.

“To make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”—Luke 1:17.

John was the herald of Christ; he was to prepare the way for the coming King, but from this text it appears that he was to do more than that. He was not only to make the road ready for the Lord, but he was also “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
That was a great work, a task in which he would require strength and wisdom greater than his own. He would need that the Spirit of God, who was to be given without measure to the coming One, should also be in a measure within himself, if he should really “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
This is not at all a usual expression; at first sight, it hardly looks to us like a gospel expression.

We sang just now,—
“Just as I am—
and waiting not To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come.”

We sang over and over again those words, “Just as I am, Just as I am,” and we are prone to protest against the idea of being prepared for Christ; we preach constantly that no preparation is needed, but that men are to come to Jesus just as they are.
Yet here is John the Baptist set apart “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
The fact is, dear friends, that to get men to come to Jesus just as they are, is not an easy thing.

To get them to give up the idea of preparing, to get them prepared to come without preparing, to get them ready to come just as they are, this is the hardest part of our work, this is our greatest difficulty.
If we came and preached to men the necessity of preparation through so many weeks of fasting during a long Lent, or through so many days of scourging and penitence, they would attend to us at once, for they would be willing enough to make any preparation of that kind; but, when we say to them, “Come just as you are now, with nothing in your hand to buy the mercy of God, with nothing wherewith to demand or to deserve it,” men want a great deal of preparing before they will come to that point.

Only the grace of God, working mightily through the Word, by the Spirit, will prepare men to come to Christ thus, prepared by being unprepared so far as any fitness of their own is concerned. The only fit state in which they can come is that of sinking themselves, abandoning all idea of helping Christ, and coming in all their natural impotence and guilt, and taking Christ to be their all in all.

Beloved friends, this is the true preparedness of heart for coming to Christ, the preparedness of coming to him just as you are; and it was John’s business thus “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” That is also my business at this time. May the good Spirit, who dwelt in John the Baptist, work through us also, that some here may be made ready for Christ, “a people prepared for the Lord”!

Ask. Day 41 of Lent. Thanks for Asking.

Ask. Day 41 of Lent. Thanks for Asking.

2 blind beggars

As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

Matthew 20:29-34 is a layered story.
One that arrests you if you let it.

First of all, it’s about beggars – the pure ragamuffins among us, the poor in spirit and the actually poor of people, who are in need. Spiritually we need to never forget that is the blessed state we should migrate our minds back to as we seek to live humbly.
So we find two blind beggars, they’re sitting by the side of the road, and they find out that Jesus is coming their way, so they began shouting.

This is where it gets uncomfortable for a crowd. Especially a churchy kind of crowd who either are very concerned about not missing a word that Jesus would say or other churchy folks who just don’t like things out of the box and people misbehaving.
Well these two guys are yelling at the top of their lungs, trying to get noticed. This is what desperate people do. People who are at rock bottom and see a way out, they break the rules of society, they go anti-social and anti-politically correct and they don’t even know it and least of all care about it, because, ‘Hello!’ they are desperate.

Most of us self-sufficient strivers would be embarrassed by this display of neediness, and if we had kids with us, we’d pull them close and cover their curious eyes, if we were with friends we’d give each other the look as they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us.”

I was thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if someone in the crowd got it. If instead of shhhh-ing them they said, “Hey, come with me. This Jesus he can heal you and I’ll get you to him. Take me hand.”
But this crowd tried to shut them up and push them out. It’s uncomfortable to have desperate people screaming for help. It’s uncomfortable to have people with such obvious needs, being so obviously needy. And maybe this crowd had seen these guys for years and they’d given and given until they were annoyed. Who knows. But these desperate beggars, they got rowdy and shouted louder. I like these two ragamuffins. They know they have a need, a great need and a once in a life time opportunity.

And then we read two awesome words: Jesus stopped.

Then Jesus stopped and asked them a dangerous question. It was only the second time he’d ask this question. Earlier he’d ask James and John the same thing, when they were scheming and dreaming and fixated on being great and sitting to the left and the right of Him. (Mark 10:36) It shows me there is always an endless amount of layers in the Scripture, overlapping subtexts, from past to present, linking A to B and this person to that person, and one lesson to another. I’m sure this question re-asked, got James and John’s attention because it cuts to the very heart of the matter.

“What do you want Me to do for you?”

Do you ever get that one? The bold request to put your finger on it, exactly, what it is you want Jesus to do for you. To name it specifically. It’s a crazy intense kind of heart probing question. But these two guys knew exactly what they wanted, and it wasn’t all that spiritual. “Lord,” they said, “We want to see.”

Jesus felt compassion for them, touched their eyes, and suddenly they could see. They were delivered, “Made Well” and received their sight. Then they ‘followed him‘.

What exactly do you need from Jesus today?

Sometimes it makes my heart pound when I imagine Jesus asking me, “What do you want me to do for you?”

I think the question cuts through all the motives and the spiritual grandeur. It takes the wide and makes it impossible to fit into the narrowness of the request. It wants us to name it specifically, with honesty and authentically what we need.
And thinking it through I find I’m just as needy as these ragamuffin blind beggars and what I really need isn’t something Jesus wants me to whisper quietly to Him now. He wants me to be blessed and to have His divine favor rest upon me, so this poor in spirit Christian needs to open her hands and beg.

What?
I can hear it. I really just heard you say it or think it. Beg?

Yes.  Beg. It’s the spiritual word for people who realize their spiritual poverty. It’s the mature way the sanctified ‘Ask’. We get in the humble posture, we agree we can’t do this or get this need met on our own. We lift our empty uncapable hands out and up to God. And we beg, out loud, in fact loudly in this case would be from a pounding heart of a body that is suddenly urgent to express a need, a great need, feeling like this is a once in a life time opportunity to get that need met because we heard Jesus ask us the question, “What is it you want me to do?”

We need to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable with the fact that we need help.

Everybody is desperate to know that Jesus still stops for them.
Everybody is desperate and needy, especially the ones who look like they aren’t. Everybody has a need that Jesus wants us to express specifically.

Jesus ASKS “What is it you want me to do?”

Lord, we are the crowd who sometimes get in the way of the needy. We hush people up. Shame on us. Help us to love the ragamuffins, to be more comfortable with the uncomfortable, to lead people to you, not shut people down and keep them out.

We are also the beggar, poor in spirit, and how blessed to know that you stop, Jesus, you see us and Ask us what we need. Lord let us speak out loud our need. Let us shout it once we realize, let us beg you for it. And let us not forget the answer came with your infamous ‘follow me’.

Thanks so much for stopping to ask us, Jesus.

Devotion. Day 33 of Lent. How we finish The Story.

Devotion. Day 33 of Lent. How we finish The Story.

we behold the lamb

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Rev 12:11

From Day 31 of Lent there was The Story of the Moravian Missionaries and their rallying call of “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering!” On Day 32 of Lent The Story continued with Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf’s call to Serve after he read the words, “I have done this for you; what have you done for me?” On Day 33 we finish the story with Devotion, after realizing Christ died for us and we, the Church are the reward of His suffering.

Acts 20:28 says that God purchased the church with Christ’s blood. “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” On the authority of this text we can say: Christ’s bleeding wounds were meant to purchase me. The Savior’s drops of blood were shed to obtain my redemption.”

Understanding that the Church of God is the reward of Christ’s suffering we realize we are not our own. We have been bought with a price. Redeemed from the wrath of God and the destination of eternal hell and given eternal life.

We are Christ’s reward and this truth moves our heart with devotion-an ardent, often selfless affection and dedication to Him.

Christ suffered to cleanse and beautify His people, His bride.  “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25–27

What was the reward of His suffering? To sanctify His church that the holiness-spiritual beauty-of his people will be His reward. To present her to Himself in splendor; without spot or wrinkle, so His reward will be the beauty of His bride. The Church, Christ Bride, will be splendid and glorious at the marriage feast of the Lamb.

When ask what the most important commanded was, Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’ Are you loving Christ with all your might to render to Jesus the reward of his suffering—to offer up to him what He has purchased? Is your heart in tune with his heart, understanding what Christ suffered for, not that you would be blessed with health and wealth and live in a comfort zone of happiness-all outward things, but that you might be holy, spiritually beautiful, set apart for Him, becoming more and more like Him daily. He considered your holiness worth dying for; are you considering His love worth living for or do you neglect what he died to purchase?

So the reward of Christ’s sufferings is the holiness of his people. He suffered and bled and died to obtain a people and to make that people holy—clean and beautiful. Your holiness—your spiritual beauty—is the reward of his sufferings and the purchase of his blood.

This spiritually beautiful bride of Christ will be passionate for Good Deeds. “He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.” Titus 2:11-14 (MSG) Or as the NIV translates, “He gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

He gave himself to make a people zealous for good deeds. He shed his blood to purchase your passion for practical righteousness, for showing mercy, for benevolence and goodness and kindness, for courage and compassion.  Notice this carefully: he did not die merely to get you to start trying harder, to stop doing some bad things or get you to do some good things. He died to change something in our spirit, to fan into flame a fire in us to serve, passionately.

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Christ suffered and bled and died to give you, the people who love Him, a zeal for doing good.  Do you have a passion for doing good to people? The eternal good through being a witness of the good news of the gospel and a temporal good of serving others as a means to that end, that they too may be saved. How are you loving your ‘neighbors’? Are you denying Christ the reward of his sufferings by only serving yourself?

The passion of those early Moravian missionaries was zealous and peculiar. Zinzendorf made sure that they never forgot the blood of Jesus. They understood: my life, my holiness-spiritual beauty, my passionate love for others shown in service was purchased at the price of his blood. How can I not live for his honor with every breath I take! How can I not freely offer up to him what he has purchased with his blood and give Him wholehearted service?

Finally, the reward of Christ’s sufferings is a ransomed church from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. In Revelation 5:9 the Lamb of God is worshiped with these words, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain,     and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

We are the reward of Christ suffering, the redeemed of every tribe, tongue, people and nation, made spiritually beautiful and zealous for good works. The reward of His suffering is also the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7), and justification by faith (Romans 5:9), and reconciliation with God (Romans 5:10), and cleansing of our consciences (Hebrews 9:14), and the final victory over Satan (Revelation 12:11).

When I first heard this story of the Moravian missionaries, I found in comparison my own heart had a terrible indifference to the price Jesus paid for my holiness and my zeal for service and my passion for world evangelism. Yet their inspirational parting cry to family and friends can becoming our meditative prayer of devotion; making a difference now in how we live for Him. “MAY THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN RECEIVE THE REWARD OF HIS SUFFERING.”

Lord Jesus, as your reward, may there be nothing we want more in life than what You suffered, bled and died to obtain. Let us love You with all our might to render to You with passion the reward of Your suffering; an inner holiness of a beautiful spirit, a zeal for service, a passion for witnessing to our world the good news of the gospel to the praise of Your glory. Amen

 

DREAM. Day 14 of LENT. I dreamed a dream.

DREAM. Day 14 of LENT. I dreamed a dream.

 

DREAM. My first thought about this word was a song- I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables but not the way Anne Hathaway sang it. I thought of that infamous episode of Britains Got Talent, did you see it? If you have time watch below; if not I’ll tell you about it. This “nearly 48” year old woman, Susan Boyle steps out like a wiry-haired church lady in a vanilla colored frock and is presented to Simon and staff.  Susan said she’d always dreamed of being a professional singer but no one had given her a chance.  No one in the audience was giving her a chance either until she began to sing.  In moments she had the nay-sayers on their feet with a standing ovation even as she still singed.  And truthfully, the video account is so shocking and awe inspiring to me it is the best account of what dreams are all about when they suddenly come true. Unbelieveable!

We all dream in the ordinary way. Unless you pulled an all-nighter, you had one last night. Do you remember the Technicolor series of images, ideas, sensations and emotions which told that involuntary story while you slept? Dreams occur when one first enters into what is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM), the deepest sleep time. The average person sleeping for eight hours a night can dream up to one to two hours of that time.  Once you get the brain down to the minimum possible activity . . . your mind is free. In the dream state the mind is more impressionable to the day’s events and often plays back composites of what was said, thought or done. It replays events and puts together bits and pieces that can make sense or not make any sense. Fragmentary ideas or loosely connected circumstances and thoughts make up dreams and it can be totally subjective sorting out its meaning with varied interpretations.

Biblically speaking we know God used dreams. God planted the DREAM of leadership that was longed for by Joseph and jealously ridiculed by his brothers as an unrealistic and foolish hope-“us, bow down to you, not.” Solomon was given the promise of wisdom in a dream and Gideon was encouraged to victory through the interpretation of a dream. Jacob dreamed of the stairway to heaven and Joseph was given the blessing to marry Mary and step-father Jesus and the warning to escape Herod and flee to Egypt all while asleep and dreaming.  The visions and dreams recorded in the Bible were given to specific people for a specific purpose- God’s purpose.

Just because one receives a dream or vision does not mean it is from God. Satan can give dreams and visions. He did so with Jesus “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” (Luke 4:5). This was something seen-a vision by his supernatural power to tempt Jesus to sin but Jesus resisted.  We have to test the spirits to discern their intent-is it for good or evil? Solomon reminds us, “For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.” Eccl 5:7

Dreams are different than visions.
A dream is a story communicated in picture that takes place when you are asleep.
A vision is when you are awake and see reality part and are either watching or end up participating in it as John did in the book of Revelation or Isaiah did in the throne room of the most high God. God formerly used a variety of means to communicate with man, which would include dreams or visions. Scripture more often tells us the word came to the prophets- in other words they had an encounter with the word, the Son of God. But in our day, His revelation is not normally through these means but through the Lord Jesus Christ whose revelation is final and superior and revealed in the Word the Bible.

Yet Luke records, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2:17

Putting the two definitions of DREAM together- what if you had to exist in a culture of oppression and fear.  What if you always dreamed of a life where you were free and loved and fulfilled and alive.  And what would you do if suddenly Jesus began to appear in your dreams? There His presence brought peace and love, ALIVENESS and FULLNESS like nothing you had ever experienced.  With Jesus you felt absolutely safe for the very first time, valued and perfectly loved in the dream. What if He came to you with the same single message? And what if that same dream continued for over thirty days? Thirty weeks? Thirty years? What if on the thirty-first time he told you that tomorrow you would meet His friend and you were to ask His friend to tell you all about Him? And what if it happened? The friend of Jesus was there, at that place you went to every day, they were dressed just like they were in the dream and when you approached them and ask if they were Jesus’ friend, they said, “yes,” and they told you all about their friend and savior from the Bible.

What if I told you this story is true?

It is about a Muslim woman. And she wasn’t the only Muslim experiencing this dream. A staggering number of Muslims are being introduced to Jesus through a vision or dream so powerful that they eventually turned from their lifelong religion of Islam and embrace Christ as their Savior.  These conversions are despite living in a culture where converting to Christianity can result in execution. Jesus is reaching out to the Muslims and they are responding. Did you know that Iran has the fastest growing church in the world?

Tom Doyle has spent the last 11 years working as a missionary in the Middle East. He was initially skeptical about reports that God was speaking to Muslims in supernatural ways. But his mindset changed when his friend told him: “God showed me that my theology does not determine His action.” Doyle says these dreams are opening the door for Muslims to hear the testimony about Jesus from Christians in countries where spreading the Gospel is forbidden. While the West associates Islam with terrorism, Doyle believes the majority of Muslims are peace-loving. “I believe Islamic terrorism is Satan’s attempt to keep the Gospel message away from Muslims,” he writes. Nothing can stop the Gospel from spreading.  “More Muslims are coming to faith in Jesus today than ever before. In fact, we believe more Muslims have become followers of Jesus in the last ten years than in the last 14 centuries of Islam.”

Unbelievable! I had no idea this was happening, did you? We should pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the bold witness to, and courageous conversion of Muslims. You can read more about it in Tom Doyle’s book:

DREAMS AND VISIONS: Is Jesus Awakening the Muslim World?

And watch for the dreams to convert one of my characters in the FURY series Book Three Effect this fall. DREAM ON!