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We can do the same thing, because Christ lives in us (Romans 8:11). As His followers, we are to overflow with His life, exuding that life into the world and shining like the stars in the universe (Philippians 2:15).
These passages in Scripture are not just figurative language.
Supernatural light actually comes from our very being. It may not be palpable to our natural perception, but it is an absolute reality in everyone's spiritual discernment.
This light, which we are commanded to shine, illuminates even the darkest corner of the Earth with God's love. This is why it is so important for us to understand the context of Jesus' destiny; we need to learn how to operate in His love without reservation.
Once we understand that Jesus' testimony contains prophetic power twenty-four/seven, we will be unafraid to share His testimony with others. Jesus' life shines His divine nature around us, which helps us share His identity with others. When we know that no matter what we say, Jesus' life shines forth through us before we even open our mouths, evangelism seems much less daunting!
1. What does Paul's term, "the unknown God," stir in your heart? Is there an aspect of Him that remains unknown to you? Can you imagine Him wanting to reveal it to you?
2. What inspires you about Moses' desire to know God in Exodus 33-34?
3. Have you ever asked God to reveal His identity to you?
love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children
IN A MAJESTIC DECLARATION OF HIS NAME, GODDIDN'T just pass in front of Moses. God proclaimed His virtues, attributes, and character traits. He revealed His identity. In intimate fellowship and communion, God divulged His core virtues to His servant Moses.
God used human language to define Himself. With the same mouth that spoke into existence the Heavens and the Earth, God declared the very essence of who He is. Yet speaking understandably to the hearts of men and women may have been the greater miracle!
The Promise of Divine Union Another profound example of divine/human intimacy is found in the story of Hosea the prophet. In the book of Hosea, God describes His desire for a truly intimate and enduring relationship—to "betroth and wed" Israel as a nation. They were His covenant people. Scripture records that God said His people will no longer look at Him as master, but as husband (Hosea 2:16). He also expressed His plan to remove all idolatry from their hearts.
This covenant of virtues which finds its fulfillment through Jesus Christ, is similar to the virtues God identified to Moses.
However, through Hosea's prophecy, God declares His marital intent. God does not merely want to employ us as servants; He wants to marry us! He wants to share His divine nature with us and bring us into perfect union with Himself. In the book of Hosea, God proclaims His wedding vows.
In 2002, I had an unusual experience that illustrates God's passion for us. In a vision, I was alone in a thick forest, waiting for God. For a long time I stood in a clearing surrounded by a thicket of trees with no apparent opening. Suddenly I heard a noise like a rampaging bear, crashing through the forest and moving toward me. Frightened, I looked for somewhere to run.
Just then, a man burst through the thicket into the clearing. It was Jesus! His eyes were on fire. As He looked into my eyes, I fell forward in the grass. I could not meet His gaze. Jesus came to me, grabbed my hand, and placed a ring on it. Then Jesus spoke to me the words found in Hosea 2:19-20. As He declared the six aspects of betrothal, I could sense that He secured each one to my soul. Jesus was so sure of my answer that He didn't ask for my assent.
character and revealing the fullness of Himself. When we allow ourselves to become fully "engaged" to Him, His divine virtues, and His identity, we begin truly to know God. As the book of
In Hosea 2:21-23, "grain" represents divine provision, and "new wine" represents the Holy Spirit mediating the union between us and Heaven. "Oil" represents the supernatural anointing of love in human relationships, which can inspire great healing and union among the fellowship of believers. "Jezreel" means "God plants," which represents God planting this covenant people, who are betrothed to Him, into the land to prosper. Then Hosea states that God will show love to those who were not Jesus' reward and inheritance; God will claim them for Himself, and they will claim God as their husband!
Societal Transformation Much of the societal transformation happening in several cities around the world is a token of what occurs when men and women accept God's betrothal. The term transformation is often 102 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY used to describe what transpires when an entire city is radically changed to reflect Heaven!
In these cities, salvations take place everywhere. Crime decreases almost to the point of nonexistence. Agriculture booms as the land is physically healed, and bears more fruit than is naturally possible. Every need seems to be provided for in the community. Transformation is one step beyond the Western mindset of revival, where thousands get saved. It is when the Earth actually comes under the grace of our divine union with Jesus.
Societal transformation is God's response to our prayerful desire, inspiring the Heavens and the Earth to produce supernaturally. Where the Earth was once cursed, now it becomes blessed!
Looking for Devoted Hearts
God is looking for those who recognize how awesome and worthy He is. He wants to betroth a people who are united with Him, so that we will begin to understand the unknown.
At that time, God will reveal His secret nature and show to His betrothed the fullness of His covenant.
1. What aspects of God stir your desire?
2. How has God shaped you in His sixfold covenant—in eternity, righteousness, justice, loving-kindness, mercy, and faithfulness?
3. When was the last time you praised God for being worthy?
4. Read the book of Hosea; then record your thoughts and feelings on the love God has for the Church.
5. How are you responding personally to God's love?
6. How do your earthly relationships reflect your relationship with God? What do they reveal about how you are treating Him?
ON THE EARTH, DIVINELY MANDATED EVENTS HAVEhappened and will continue to happen. No one can stop or start them; they were predestined to occur. We may enter into some events with a measure of understanding, but often we get caught up in them unknowingly.
Throughout Scripture, various mandates appear in much of the Old Testament prophecy as well as in the book of Revelation.
For example, Israel's restoration as a nation was a pivotal, mandated event we have witnessed during modern times.
A Divine Invitation The story of Queen Esther, as told in Scripture, is the picture of something else altogether. Her actions to save the Jewish people during the fifth century BC represent not a mandate but a divine invitation.
Although the Jews had been free to return to Jerusalem for over fifty years, a number of Jews were still living in Babylon under Persian rule. Haman, the king's second in command, wanted to destroy the Jews. Esther was used by God to save her people from annihilation.
Growing up as an orphan, Esther probably longed for a family of her own, compensating for what she never had. Surely she longed for a godly Jewish husband to love and children to nurture. Despite her desire, though, Esther was taken to be the wife of the polygamous pagan king Ahasuerus, who ruled more than one hundred and twenty-seven provinces stretching from Ethiopia to India. Suddenly Esther joined many hundreds of women who made up the king's household.
Scripture records that the king loved Esther more than any other women, and bestowed on her great grace and favor (Esther 2:17). He made Esther queen over the land, which gave her prominence, privileges, and authority.
But even though Esther found favor with the king, hers was not a Cinderella story. She paid a price for such favor. She gave up her own desires, hoping that God would vindicate her or give her a sense of purpose in the midst of her slavery.
106 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY Esther's cousin and spiritual father, Mordecai, who was a Jewish exile and palace official, learned of a plot to kill all the Jews throughout the vast Persian kingdom. Mordecai called on Esther to go to the king and plead with him on behalf of the Jews.
Nowadays many people flippantly proclaim a portion of this passage over one another, to the point that it has become a cliche in the Christian camp: "You were born for such a time as this!" But missing from the picture are the two defining words—"who knows"—that make this statement an invitation, not a mandate.
Besides the conviction of our faith, we do not have any assurance, regarding to this earthly life. God makes our life journey one that is mysterious, just as He did with Esther.
God put her in a place where she would have to make a choice that would cost her greatly either way—to risk her life to save many or to abandon many to save herself. God also put the right spiritual voice into her life to cause her to meet the challenge of taking the cup God offered.
Esther knew she risked her life by going to the king without being summoned. Mordecai, however, indicated she would die anyway since she was a Jew. If she remained silent, he reasoned, she would also miss the primary reason, purpose, and privilege in being where God had placed her.
Esther's final response indicated a growing spiritual
Choosing to risk everything, Esther responded to her divine invitation and embraced the cup God offered. I'm sure that Mordecai was a proud spiritual father that day!
Discerning Our Desires Regarding the subject of invitations, many people hear encouraging words or read Scripture passages they have personally claimed. Such individuals assume that, because they desire these things to happen and because they were written—or spoken, these desires are guaranteed to be fulfilled in their lifetime. This is far from true.
Each time God speaks to us, outside of the context of biblical prophecy, it is an invitation to His heart, not a predestined mandate. There is a realm of faith God must activate in us before we can enter into promises we are claiming. This is what makes it an invitation—our realm of faith is invited to be inspired by His love mingling with ours.
The good news is that God uses our desires to please Him, which in turn births a desire in us to pay the high cost in our lives. The bad news is that we can miss the invitation if we choose ourselves.
For many, this concept is extremely uncomfortable. A religious spirit confuses us into believing that, no matter how much we fail or succeed, our lot in life is the same regardless.
Many people erroneously think because they have read the parable, the pay is the same for everyone; they also assume there is no way to really miss it as long as we do good works in this life.
This is the false doctrine of equality, and it permeates the Body of Christ today. We are equal in His love for us, and God is our reward. But the way we pay the daily price on Earth determines how we inherit our reward in Heaven.
108 THE THRONE ROOM COMPANY Our Spiritual Inheritance Each person's spiritual inheritance of his or her God-given position and role in Heaven is distinctive. Furthermore, each person's inheritance is reliant on how each one of us accepts God's invitation to please Him with his or her earthly life. Each inherits a spiritual investment he or she has made into eternity (Matthew 6:20). We may all stand before God's throne with the full rights of a Christian, but our authority and role in Heaven is based on our investment in our relationship with God. He entrusts the fullness of Himself to each one who enters into Heaven, but He invites us to prepare for eternity while living on Earth. If we are faithful and obedient now, we begin to prove ourselves faithful for what we will receive in Heaven. Our storehouse there is expanded (Matthew 13:52).
At the same time, we pay a price while living on Earth, so that many can enter into divine union with God. When we come to God with a love that is not self-seeking, then great will be the way made through us. God can use such abandoned lives greatly to advance His Kingdom. All of this comes from an intimate relationship with God. Relationship is the key to authority.
Many Christian leaders have tried to bring an even playing field to all believers. Throughout the early Church, men proclaimed themselves to have the authority of the apostles, claiming to be self-appointed. Others tried to raise their teachings above Paul's, discrediting him based on his preChristian life. Such leaders were appointed by the people and didn't recognize that authority comes from a deep and abiding relationship with God.
It is easy to carry the weight of spiritual authority that is naturally given, but it is harder to bear the weight of authority that is based on the eyes of Heaven. Such leaders who were appointed by people had an understanding about spiritual things, but they didn't have the same equity in their relationship with God. Nor did they experience the same move of the Holy Spirit as experienced by the true apostles. No matter if they did more FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS 109 works or had a larger influence on bodies of believers, such leaders were not equal to the twelve apostles.