A Rooster Crowed

I was hiking in the mountains and heard a rooster crow. Yes, I was close enough to civilization for someone to have chickens. I had been praying as I hiked, something I like to do. When the rooster began crowing my mind went back to living on an acreage and having chickens. Chickens, more particularly roosters, are very reliable. They begin crowing just before the day dawns. They announce the new day.

So what do chickens have to do with scripture and anything meaningful? The rooster got me thinking about Peter and his confident denial that he would never deny Jesus, leading to his denial and heartbreak in a few hours. Understanding the Jewish day helps. The Jewish day begins at sundown, so there is a wonderful idea that we begin our day with food and fellowship with our family, rest, then enter into the day’s work from a place of rest.

In essence when Jesus told Peter he would deny Him before the rooster crowed (Matt. 26:24, Lk. 22:34) He was saying, “Peter, you won’t even make it into the work of the day before you deny me.” Peter was speaking out of pride and self-confidence, Jesus was speaking out of knowledge and wisdom. Having learned from this experience Peter later wrote of the importance of humility in receiving the grace by which we stand.

5  Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 6  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:5-7 (NKJV)

My point is not to disparage Peter. Peter was a bold witness for the gospel, the only one of the twelve to walk on water, the first to take the gospel to the Gentiles and loved Jesus deeply. His failure is recorded in scripture to encourage us. After His failure and denial of Jesus we know from scripture that he embraced Jesus forgiveness and had a healed heart. We see the fruit of it in one of his first recorded messages where he boldly confronted the people of Israel of over their denial of Jesus.

13  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14  But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15  and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. Acts 3:13-15 (NKJV)  

So a major lesson from Peter is the need to reflect on whether our confidence lies in our ability to stand or His ability to keep us from falling. One is a recipe for failure and the other is the path to empowering grace and freedom. If we humbly seek His grace we can trust in His keeping power as Jude wrote.

24  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25  To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25 (NKJV)

Walking in His Anointing

If we have been born again then we have also been anointed by the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 2:20, 27). Given that we have been anointed let us look at how to we walk in what we carry. The best example of course is Jesus.

18  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV)

Messiah means ‘Anointed One’ and Jesus was in Nazareth proclaiming His Messiahship in the synagogue by reading Isaiah 61:1-2 referring to the anointing upon Himself. The idea of an anointing was the ability to accomplish a task. We see Old Testament examples in the kings like Saul and David being anointed with oil by Samuel the prophet. They were given an ability to do something. In this case to lead a nation. Jesus was given the ability to usher in an eternal kingdom so let us focus on some of what the anointing accomplished through Jesus. 

We know from the gospels that multitudes were healed by Jesus and lives were transformed through His ministry when He walked the earth in human form. A closer look at this account from Nazareth draws out some interesting contrasts with how effective Jesus was in most places.

1  Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2  And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, “Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3  Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” And they were offended at Him. 4  But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” 5  Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. Mark 6:1-5 (NKJV)

Mark does not include the reading from Isaiah that we have in Luke 4:18-19. He does however give us the reaction of the hearers to Jesus. The people of Nazareth recognized Jesus mighty works but took offense at His declaration because they had known Jesus all of His life. The result was that Jesus could do little for them. Even though others received a great deal from Jesus the offense the people of Nazareth took up limited the effectiveness of the anointing that was on Him to bring them the kingdom to their community.

So we can apply this lesson to our lives. If we are born again we have been anointed and we carry an ability to do something in and for His kingdom. For His anointing to be effective in our lives we need to believe and trust in what we carry. At the same time we cannot control how others respond to what we carry. We are called to walk in integrity, speak the truth in love and bathe what we do in prayer. The rest we are to leave in His hands.   

Wrapped in Revelation

Sometimes when reading something we are struck with a new insight. This happened recently as I was reading in the book of Numbers. Clearly some parts of the bible do not make for exciting reading. For me it takes discipline to get through some Old Testament (OT) sections. However, I know the Lord inspired His word and even seemingly mundane things are important to Him. He has provided a record that Paul said we are to learn from (1 Cor. 1:10-11) and Jesus our pattern often quoted from the OT.

So, what struck me? What I read wasn’t about numbers of people or things, it was about how the Ark and other sacred items were to be cared for prior to travelling.

5  When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall come, and they shall take down the covering veil and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. 6  Then they shall put on it a covering of badger skins, and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue; and they shall insert its poles. 7  On the table of showbread they shall spread a blue cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowls, and the pitchers for pouring; and the showbread shall be on it. Numbers 4:5-7 (NKJV)

9  And they shall take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand of the light, with its lamps, its wick-trimmers, its trays, and all its oil vessels, with which they service it. Numbers 4:9 (NKJV)

11  Over the golden altar they shall spread a blue cloth, and cover it with a covering of badger skins; and they shall insert its poles. 12  Then they shall take all the utensils of service with which they minister in the sanctuary, put them in a blue cloth, cover them with a covering of badger skins, and put them on a carrying beam. Numbers 4:11-12 (NKJV)

What initially stood out in my reading was the Ark of the Covenant was to be covered in a blue cloth. The other key items in the Tabernacle were to be treated the same way. Blue speaks of revelation as the sky/heavens are blue and point to our need for revelation from heaven. Hence the post title, Wrapped in Revelation.

I believe Jesus desires to give us ongoing revelation regarding His word, our lives and the lives of those around us. We see this desire expressed in one of Paul’s prayers.

17  that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, Ephesians 1:17 (NKJV)

To be clear, this is about a revelation of the Father and His purposes and one of His desires is that we know His work in every area of our lives. Elsewhere in this same letter Paul said,

10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

So, I believe that our lives are to be wrapped in revelation that comes from seeking His wisdom for each day. This is not some esoteric idea but the reality that Jesus lives in us and wants to be involved in every area of our lives. He wants to wrap us in a revelation of who He is, what He has accomplished in our salvation, who He is in us and how He desires to move through us in every aspect of our lives. So let us be wrapped up in who Jesus is that we might touch the lives of those around us with His presence and purpose.

Following His Leading

Recently I had to take my car in for some work and the dealership loaned me a new vehicle. It has the modern features, one of them being lane departure. I have driven vehicles in the past that warned me when I was drifting out of my lane. The difference with this vehicle (Subaru Ascent) is that it actively tries to pull the vehicle back into the correct lane. Turning on the signal light to turn or change lanes deactivates the system.

As I was sharing this with a friend it got me thinking about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we start to drift out of our lane He warns us and seeks to pull us back and keep us on the right spiritual track. He doesn’t force us. He doesn’t control. Just like I can override the lane departure system in the vehicle I can override the warnings of the Holy Spirit.

Since the Garden of Eden He has given us the choice to obey or disobey. If my heart, is as it should be, to be obedient, then I will heed His warnings. While the warning system in the car is very obvious, He is usually more subtle.

The verse below provides a good example.   

13  I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. 2 Corinthians 2:13 (NKJV)

Paul said he had no rest in his spirit. While this was not a ‘lane departure’ warning it does teach us something about one way He leads us. Paul had a sense of unease, an awareness that all was not as it should be with Titus and it motivated him to action. In our walk the Holy Spirit generally leads us through His word and in our spirit. In seeking to follow His leading we may have sense that something is not right, as Paul did, or a sense that what we are trying to accomplish may not work.

Even if we are endeavouring to do something that is good but lack His peace in our spirit (Col. 3:15) it may not be the best or it may be out of God’s timing. We are called to stay in our lane, seek to know His voice and leading (Rom. 8:14) and act accordingly. So, let us pay attention to our spirits (Mal. 2:15), heed His lane departure warnings, do as He leads seek to arrive safely at our eternal destination!   

Revealing Jesus

I am currently re-reading Rick Joyner’s Final Quest Trilogy. A quote that stood out to me was, “I did not call you to preach about Me; I called you to be a voice I could speak through.” The context is Wisdom (Jesus) speaking to Joyner in a prophetic encounter. While some may struggle with that idea, the concept is found in what Paul wrote.

15  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16  to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, Galatians 1:15-16 (NKJV)

Jesus wants us to know Him and wants to reveal Himself to us and then through us. I believe that to get there we need to develop a deep sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He is the one who forms Jesus in us (Galatians 4:19) and reveals Him through us. The testimony of scripture however is that this requires our cooperation.

Prior to my friend Evelyn stepping from time into eternity in recent years, she walked with Jesus for over 80 years and regularly revealed Him to others. One of the things she often warned about was the danger of passivity. She was concerned that passivity led to deception and a move away from Jesus. Hebrews presents it this way.

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. Hebrews 2:1 (NKJV)

Growing in Jesus requires that we ‘give heed’ and pursue His presence and purpose. I approach this by daily times of sitting with Him, spending time in scripture and seeking to discern His leading during the day in my interactions. I regularly pray the following, “Holy Spirit, as I sit and walk with Jesus, I ask You to draw me into the subtleties of the interaction that I might deepen my awareness of Your presence and leading.” I recognize my dependence on Him to reveal His life through me.

As I know many of you do, I also want to be a voice and life that Jesus speaks through and uses to change lives. This is a major driver in my life, seeking to represent Him at all times and in all things that ultimately He may receive the reward of His sacrifice.