I love the promises in Psalms. There comes a time in your life and mine when only God can satisfy. In my teenage years my prayer was, “My flesh longs for You Lord, I’m thirsting for You, I’m hungry for You,” – but more, the next verse, I’ve never forgotten it, “to see Your Power and Your Glory, NOW, as I have seen You in the past, in the sanctuary” – this is my heart’s desire, NOW! That just as I have seen the Power of God in the past, I want to see MORE, NOW, IN THE FUTURE. I have to live, I cannot die, they can’t take me until I see Your Power, Your Glory, NOW – GREATER THAN ANYTHING I HAVE SEEN IN THE PAST!
When our delight is in the Lord, there will be a tangible, physical evidence! We will be like a tree planted by rivers of water that brings forth fruit in season! Our leaves shall not wither! And whatever we do shall prosper! That’s a phenomenal promise and encouragement!
'Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.' (Psalm 1.1-3, NKJV)
The Lord’s Coming is as a thief in the night. But for the believer, the Apostle Paul teaches that we should be living in expectation and anticipation of that Great Day, because in 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 4, he writes, “YOU, brethren, are NOT in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief!” Paul is saying, as far as the world is concerned, the Coming of Christ will be a sudden unexpected happening – but you, brothers and sisters in Christ, should not be in such darkness that the Coming of the Lord will overtake you as a thief! The suddenness of the Coming of the Lord is a shock to the world, but not so to the Believer, who should be expecting it, because we are children of the Light and children of the Day.
Why did God bring Israel out of Egypt into the Land by such a difficult route? They could have gone a different way. But God WANTED them to cross the Red Sea. Firstly, because it needed a miracle that God opened the waters, and once the Israelites had crossed over, there was no way back! But secondly, in opening the waters, the Egyptian army – at that time, the most powerful army in the world – was drawn into the sea with all its might, its chariots and warriors – so that when God released the pent-up water, the whole of the Egyptian army was drowned! The power of the enemy was destroyed!
I believe the Red Sea typifies the Blood of Christ. God opens a way into the Promised Land through the Blood of Christ – and also destroys the power of the enemy! But we have to fight to possess the land. I challenge you – your life needs to be a spiritual battle. The reason I have so much strength and health at my age it because I haven’t finished the battle yet!
So many look at the Promises of Scripture, at the Promises of Pentecost, and they say, “That’s for the past, it’s historic, it doesn’t apply today.” It is so easy to know what is in the Bible, but then dismiss it. We read it, study it, preach it, ‘spiritualise’ it, until there is a danger that we make it mean something else. But everything in the Bible can happen today! Don’t limit God. I want to challenge you to a new kind of faith. We are commanded to go in and possess all the blessings which God has promised.
1 Corinthians 12:31 says, ‘Covet the best gifts’. When I first received the Holy Spirit, I was thinking, “What gifts do I want?” I said, “Lord, more than anything else, give me the Gift of Faith” – because I saw that one gift as the major key that would open the door into all the rest of them! I can never claim to have the Gift of Faith, because I want to tell you quite bluntly, that gift is only as good as your ‘today’ – you have only got the Gift of Faith if you can put it into action today!!!
What is our inheritance through Christ? According to Paul in Ephesians, our inheritance down here is the Power of the Holy Spirit to fulfil the ministry of Jesus. Yet the Scripture is also very clear – we DO inherit the land! The question is, which ‘land’ do we inherit? The Gospel message we preach is of the Kingdom of Heaven. Scripture is clear, the teaching of Jesus is clear – our inheritance is in Heaven. In that sense, our inheritance is not in this time period on earth – it’s in the Kingdom of God!
We have to accept suffering. We need to teach this more to Christians, that suffering is an ‘acceptable’ part of our lives. We are called to KNOW Christ, the Power of His Resurrection – AND the fellowship of His sufferings! If you are called to suffer – it is because Christ suffered! You don’t hear me grumbling about the fact that I was in a communist prison for one year. The fact that I didn’t suffer any after effects is because when I came out, I was filled with the Glory of the Resurrection! I know what cancer is, I’ve had it twice – but God took it away! I’ve had so many other things. But I have health, and I’m not afraid of suffering. In the early days of my Bible smuggling, people were afraid for me, “What are you doing? You’re going behind the Iron Curtain, you’re going to be put in prison!” But what is that? Jesus got put in a prison! If I go in a prison, I’m only sharing HIS suffering. Paul is passionate about identifying himself with Christ’s suffering, even to His death.
Our experience in Christ cannot be defined by obedience to physical observances and ceremonies. Today so many within the Church call themselves ‘Christians’, not because of a born again experience, a new birth, but simply because they are adhering to the teachings and traditions, of the ‘Church’. Church, as the world sees it, is more identified by its ceremonial, than by the reality of the new birth. So many things are considered to be the way into salvation, even the Roman Catholic Mass (communion) is seen as a sacrament, adding grace upon grace each time it is received. I take communion, I’m sure you do, but this does not replace Christ’s command that, in order to enter into your salvation and to see the Kingdom of God, you must be born again!