No Idol Worship nor Idle Worship


As I study the Ten Commandments in
Exodus 20:1-17, I focus upon the first two commandments. To state them concisely, God is saying: 1) You shall have no other gods before Me. 2)You shall not make idols.
Jesus summarizes these first commandments in Matthew 22:37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

According to Halley’s Bible Handbook, “Reverence for God is the basis of the Ten Commandments.
 . . . Idolatry is absolutely forbidden.” Worship God. No idols allowed.

Worship can be defined simply as a feeling or expression of reverence and adoration towards God. This is God’s request in the first two commandments.

John Piper says, “True worship is a valuing or a treasuring of God above all things.”

When reading the book of Exodus, we become aware that Moses was on the mountain a long time getting instructions from the Lord. The Israelites became impatient. In Exodus 32 , the people asked Aaron to make an idol. He complied and made a golden calf from their jewelry. They made sacrifices on an altar in front of the calf and had a festival. Oh-oh! Here is an idol. Here is idol worship.

When God’s people broke His commandments, it broke God’s heart.

We criticize the Israelites for worshiping idols, but are we any different? Think about it.

To what do you give priority in your life?
Whom do you most want to please?
What thoughts consume your mind?

Your answers may help you discover if you have any idols in your life. All of us are capable of creating idols. Before we realize it, we worship the idols we create.

Delesslyn A. Kennebrew  writes, “True worship, in other words, is defined by the priority we place on who God is in our lives and where God is on our list of priorities. True worship is a matter of the heart expressed through a lifestyle of holiness. Thus, if your lifestyle does not express the beauty of holiness through an extravagant or exaggerated love for God, and you do not live in extreme or excessive submission to God, then I invite you to make worship a non-negotiable priority in your life.”

Idol worship is still a reality today. What about idle worship?

Let me give an example to explain what I consider idle worship. If a car engine is idling, it is running but not moving. If we are engaging in idle worship, we are singing and saying the right words but we are not moving closer into God’s presence.

Psalm 47:1-2, 7-8 NKJV declares, “Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout unto God with the voice of triumph! For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. . . . For God is the King of all the earth, sing praises with understanding. God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.”

While reading or singing these words, are we sincerely moving into God’s presence? Or, are we only going through the motions of clapping our hands without any sense of triumph in our hearts? We must be careful. It is easy to worship idly.

It is possible to recognize God as God while our attitude is not pleasing to Him. We are guilty of idle worship when we worship only with our mouths and not with our hearts, souls and minds.

Idle worship is unproductive worship. It has no influence upon our lives. However, Psalm 103:2 tells us toPraise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

We must not give place to idol worship or idle worship.

God declares in Isaiah 45:6, “There is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.” So, let us “Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due His name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,” as declared in Psalm 29:1-2.

Hebrews 12:28 says, Let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” (my emphasis)

No idol worship. No idle worship. Only God worship.

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What Do You Think?



What do you think? (someone may be asking for your opinion)
What’s on your mind? (someone may want to know what is concerning you)

These may sound like simple questions requiring simple answers. However, I challenge you to think deeply before you answer.

Let us think about numerous scriptures regarding our thoughts and God’s thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. . . . ‘So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.’”
If we want our thoughts to be aligned with the Lord’s thoughts, we may want to make a few changes in our thought life.

Why are our thoughts contradictory to the Lord’s thoughts?
I Corinthians 2:14&16 answers, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
We must not tell the Lord what to do since we have only limited knowledge. May our thoughts agree spiritually with the Lord – not just be opinions originating in human understanding.

There is hope for us.
II Corinthians 5:17 NLT, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
This includes a new thought pattern.

The conclusion of I Corinthians 2:16 says, “But we have the mind of Christ.
What a wonderful promise for us when we become new creations in Christ!

Romans 12:2 NLT warns, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Psalm 139 makes a good comparison of God’s thoughts and our thoughts.
In verse 2 David says to the Lord, “You perceive my thoughts from afar.
God knows all our thoughts whether or not we express them.
In verse 17, David declares, “How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast are the sum of them!
Do you grasp the magnitude and majesty of God’s thoughts?
In verse 23, David cries out, “Search me, o God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
If we allow God to scrutinize our thoughts, we must be ready to make the adjustments He suggests.

How do we change the way we think?
In
II Corinthians 10:5, Paul says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
We need to cast down the imaginations in our human thoughts and capture them for Christ. Our imaginations are composed of images we create from the “what ifs” that invade our minds.

Paul warns in II Corinthians 10:7 that too often “You are looking at things as they are outwardly.
Remember
Romans 8:6 NLT, “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to control our minds, wills, and emotions.
Colossians 3:2 tells us to “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Paul gives good suggestions in Philippians 4:6-7.
Verse 6 says, “Be anxious for nothing.
Not worrying about anything is a new way of thinking!
Verse 7 begins, “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension
That means we still can’t understand it!
Verse 7 ends, “(God’s peace) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God’s peace protects our minds from negative thoughts and imaginations.

Philippians 4:8, Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Yes, this is my goal.

I began by asking, “What do you think?”
Now I ask you, “What does God think?”

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
God wants to share His thoughts if we will think about Him and ask for Him to reveal His thoughts.

I also asked, “What is on your mind?”
I conclude by asking, “What is on God’s mind?”

Colossians 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Then He will tell you what’s on His mind.

Psalm 139:17, “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
God’s thoughts  are the thoughts I want to think! His thoughts are what I want to be on my mind!

In Anxious for Nothing, Max Lucado says, “Think about what you think about.” His advice is confirmed by Proverbs 4:23 NCV, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.

 

 

What Time Is It?


(Click on images to find the credit for appropriate images.)

What time is it?

OK – how did you determine your answer to my question?

If I were asked about the time, I would look at my watch. My first reaction is to measure time in hours and minutes. Although my finite response is a valid way, God perceives time from an infinite perspective. God interprets time eternally. My view is temporal and chronological. For God, time includes a duration of moments affecting people’s lives. Join me in looking at some timely scriptures.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
Ecclesiastes 3:1

The writer of Ecclesiastes declares that there is a distinct time for everything that happens. Then he lists specific activities in verses 2-8. Being born or dying. Tearing down or building up. Laughing or crying. Loving or hating.
My Reader, what time is it in your life? It is OK to have conflicting emotions because life involves a variety of feelings and behaviors.

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14

As queen of King Xerxes, Esther was used by God to prevent the annihilation of the Jewish people. Mordecai reminded Esther that God may have given her favor with the king because He had a special plan for her. Esther accepted her position and boldly approached King Xerses. Esther says in verse 16, “If I perish, I perish.” She knew what time it was for her physically and spiritually.
My Reader, what time is it according to your spiritual watch? God orchestrates times in our lives for His glory.

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
II Peter 3:8

From God’s perspective, time is very different. While we may become impatient waiting for God to fulfill His promises,  Peter reminds us that God is patient because He desires for everyone to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Spiritual time is unique – not like our spacial time. One day is like a thousand years and yet a thousand years is like a day! God’s timepiece is different from ours.
My Reader, what time is it for you regarding a promise you are waiting for God to fulfill? God is never late. And, He is never early. He is always on time!

My times are in your hands;
Psalm 31:15

David places his time in God’s hands. He trusts God enough to give up his agenda and accept God’s plans. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Time does not influence how or when God interacts in our lives. He is always the same no matter what time it is.
My Reader, is it time for you to relinquish your time into the Lord’s hands? Don’t get bogged down trying to see the purpose in everything that happens every minute and hour of the day. Most likely, you are too close to your situation to see the bigger picture of how God is using your time. However, it is amazing how valuable your time is when you place it in His hands!

 

Be a Lighthouse


Recently, we visited a lighthouse museum in Rockland, Maine. On a wall there was a statement that caught my attention. I am not sure of its exact wording, but I do remember the meaning. Basically it said that lighthouses and people are the same because they are all different  – size, shape and color. The quote was not accredited to a specific source.

Today, join me in thinking about the similarities of lighthouses and people. We will consider their appearance as well as function.

No two lighthouses or people look alike.

Some light houses are tall and skinny. Others may be short and chubby. The same can be said for people. Lighthouses are painted differently depending upon the color most visible where each is located. Sometimes white – sometimes red – sometimes striped. The options go on and on. God created people with various skin colors. Red, yellow, black and white.

Lighthouses look like towers with a bright light at the top. They are structures that emit light through a system of lamps and lenses. As Christians, we have a unique light source helping us be a light to the worldPsalm 18:28 says,You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” He then instructs us to function as lighthouses in Matthew 5:16. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Lighthouses guide a mariner’s voyage. As Christians, we shed light upon the personal paths of those sharing life’s journey with us.

Signals from llighthouses warn boaters about shallow shorelines and dangerous waterways. They help sailors safely navigate the seas. As Christians, we desire to help others see the shallowness of their lives – and then lead them to a deeper relationship with the Lord. We want to warn others of the world’s dangers. I like the quote, “The scars you share become lighthouses for other people who are headed to the same rocks you hit.” (author unknown)  Our goal is to help those around us safely navigate the seas of life.  I have heard it said, “Don’t forget that maybe you are the lighthouse in someone’s storm.” 

Mehmet Murat Ildan has said, “A lighthouse is not interested in who gets its light! It just gives it without thinking! Giving light is its nature!” This is true because a lighthouse is an object – not a person. However, it is different when we consider people.

In another quote Mehmet Murat Ildan sheds light upon how people function as lighthouses. He says, “To be a lighthouse, you must be strong enough to resist every kind of storm, to every kind of loneliness and you must have a powerful light inside you!” The light inside us is Jesus.

Isaiah 60:2 says, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you.”  Psalm 4:6 says, “Let the light of Your face shine on us.” When the glory of the Lord shines upon us, we radiate His presence. Our countenance is changed and we glow with His glory. Darkness is dissolved.

A lighthouse keeper is needed whether we are thinking about structures or people.

Today, most lighthouses of the sea are automated. Formerly, a lighthouse keeper was the person who tended and cared for a lighthouse – particularly the lights and lens. Initially, there were oil lamps and clockwork mechanisms that required attention.

God is the keeper of the lighthouse of our lives. In Jesus Always, Sarah Young points out that some suffering may be involved to help us shine more brightly. When we encounter dark, ugly times, God can transform them into something lovely. He polishes our character till it shines the Light of His Glory.

God’s Word is the manual illuminating how we are to function as a lighthouse. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Let His Word light up your life so that your light does not become dim.

No two lighthouses or people look alike or function the same manner. That’s OK. God made it that way. In your own style, shine your light in the manner God intends. Together as a group of individuals, we form a diverse representation of lighthouses.

Reinhard Bonnke has said, “The Christian purpose is still the same: to carry the light of the gospel into a murky world.” Be a lighthouse!

(A source for quotes: http://www.wiseoldsayings.com/lighthouse-quotes/)

A Cracked Cup


Fifty years ago, my great aunt gave me a wedding shower gift of a cup and saucer that had belonged to her. She mailed it to my cousin who was hosting the bridal party. When my cousin
got it, it was broken. Not wanting me to receive a broken gift, my cousin glued it back together. She did a good job. Although I can tell where the glue has mended the broken pieces, it is still beautiful.

We can learn several lessons from this cup.

First, the cup was broken. When the cup was mailed, it was perfect. As it traveled from California to Nebraska via the mail system, it cracked. It broke while being bounced from one location to another.

A similar thing can happen to us. God created us in His image. He is perfect. However, we are not perfect. While on life’s journey, we are bounced around and broken. Our brokenness includes our imperfections, wounds, mistakes, and shortcomings. But we must not be discouraged. Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

James 1:2-4 tells us, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

There is hope for us even though we may compare ourselves to a broken cup.

Secondly, the cup was repaired. My cousin repaired the cup before I received it. She glued it back together.

God is our glue! When we feel broken, the Lord is willing to heal us. Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Not only is the Lord close to us in our brokenness, He also offers healing. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

In the New Testament, Jesus declares to be the healer of brokenness. While in the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah 61:1-2. Within the verse of Luke 4:18, Jesus declares, “The Spirit of the is Lord is upon Me,… He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted.” Just as my cousin glued my cup back together, the Lord heals the brokenhearted through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Third, the cup still has the potential to leak. At first glance, my cup looks good. However, I do not drink coffee or tea from it because I am afraid that the weak spots may leak. The cup may crack more if hot liquid is poured into it.

Although the Lord is able to mend our weaknesses, we may not feel strong enough to never crack under pressure or stressful situations. We leak! We need to be refilled with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus assures us in John 14:16 NASB, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.The Holy Spirit will glue us back together and fill us with His presence. If we allow His presence to seep through our imperfections, He will repeatedly fill us. Acts 13:62 NASB says, “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

It has been 50 years since I received the gift of this cup and saucer. Currently, it is displayed in our china cabinet. As we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, this cup still has a message for me regarding our marriage. Like the cup and saucer, our marriage has encountered a few cracks over the years. However, God has always been faithful to mend the broken pieces. My great aunt sent me more than a gift. She sent me a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” As the third cord of our marriage, the Lord has allowed us to stick together as one.

I am reminded of the chorus of Fill My Cup, Lord  by Richard Blanchard

Fill my cup, Lord;
I lift it up, Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting in my soul.
Bread of Heaven feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.

Rainbows and Bows


A rainbow is beautiful. Stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet bend to form a bow, or arc, of refracted light. A rainbow is born when sunlight and water droplets unite. After a rainstorm, water drops remain in the atmosphere. The sun shines on these droplets causing them to act as prisms reflecting and refracting the light within the water. A rainbow is most brilliant when seen against the backdrop of a dark sky immediately after a storm.

The Hebrew word for rainbow is the same word for bow describing a war weapon. I sense a spiritual connection between a rainbow in the sky and a bow as a weapon of war. Let me present a picturesque possibility.

God created. Mankind sinned. Spiritual darkness invaded the earth. God fought a war against the waywardness and wickedness of mankind. A storm brewed in the heavens. The clouds became God’s chariot and He rode upon the wings of the wind. His weapon was a spiritual bow. Arrows of lightning flashed and thunder resounded. While flooding the earth with water, God cleansed it of all unrighteousness. God won the war. The Son of God then displayed an array of brilliant beauty. Rays of color – red, orange, yellow etc. Rays of character – mercy, grace, love etc. God placed a rainbow in the sky – a sign of victory and a symbol of promise.

The Significance of the Rainbow

Genesis 9:13 is the first scriptural reference to a rainbow. The New International Version says, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” The New American Standard Version uses the words, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.”

God judged sin by sending a great flood. Afterwards, He promised Noah that He would never judge the world again in this way. The rainbow became an everlasting sign of God’s forgiveness and covenant of mercy.

In Genesis 9:15-17 God says, “and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ And God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.’”

In Daily Fire Devotional: 365 Days in God’s Word, Reinhard Bonnke describes the rainbow as a weapon spanning the whole horizon. He says, “What mighty arrows it (the bow) must shoot when God goes into battle against the devil!…The rainbow is not a mere phenomenon of natural beauty, but a divine reminder of God’s archery.”

God’s bow, or rainbow, is a permanent display of His goodness. It reminds us of what God has done in the past. It is a promise of what He will do in the future. And, it reveals His faithfulness to us today.

Natural vs Supernatural Bows

Let’s make a comparison between the weapons used in military battles versus those in spiritual battles. Bows can represent any type of ammunition used in worldly wars. Significant advancements have been made in weaponry since men fought with bows and arrows centuries ago.

In biblical times, bows and arrows were considered symbols of strength. However, they are not effective when fighting spiritual battles. Psalm 44:6-7 declares, “For I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me. But You (God) have saved us from our adversaries, and You have put to shame those who hate us.”

In I Samuel 17:45, David says to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty.” David again reveals how he fights battles in Psalm 20:7, “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.

Paul describes a believer’s weapon in II Corinthians 6:7, “We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.”

Specific Spiritual Bows

As believers, we fight spiritual battles in a unique way. II Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We fight to destroy arguments that come against the knowledge of God.” According to II Corinthians 10:5-6, we fight by taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.

Paul says in Ephesians 6:11-13, ““Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” He then describes our armor in Ephesians 6:14-17 as a belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, a shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

We do not fight spiritual battles with physical bows. Instead, we fight with God’s bow – His Word. The arrows are specific scriptural promises that can hit the target’s bullseye. Let me share a few verses that will help us achieve victory.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified
because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment
you will condemn.

Isaiah 54:17 NASV

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be
free from all blame on the day when our
Lord Jesus
Christ returns.
I Corinthians 1:8-9 NLT

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Rainbows: First and Last

We referred to rainbows in the first book of the Bible (Genesis). However, they are also mentioned in the last book of the Bible (Revelation) with a couple of references in the middle (Ezekiel). A rainbow is more than a trick of light and water. It is a symbol of God’s promises. It also is a description of God’s divine glory. Ezekiel 1:28 says, “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Revelation 4:3 says, “And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” Revelation 10:1 says, “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.

A visible rainbow is awe-inspiring. As we gaze upon it, may we see the rainbow as a God ordained symbol of His mercy and faithfulness. Let us rejoice in rainbows! 

Overshadowed by a Shadow


I decided to go for walk as it was a beautiful sunny morning. Since it was early, all was quiet and peaceful. I had time to notice what often goes unnoticed – like my shadow. My shadow was always before me. I could not catch up with it. My shadow was not behind me because of my position in relation to the sun. I thought about shadows. I thought about the shadow of the Lord. I thought about what it means to be overshadowed by the Lord.

According to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, overshadowed means to have a shadow over; to be surpassed; to be covered with a superior influence. A short definition is simply to be covered. I decided to search the scriptures for examples of people who were overshadowed or covered by the Lord.

MOSES

Moses was covered by God.

In Exodus 33, Moses and the Lord have a conversation about the Lord being with Moses while he led the Israelites towards the Promised land. In verse 18, Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.” The Lord responded in verses 18-20, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the Lord, in your presence.” However, God also told Moses, you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.” What happened? Exodus 33:21-23 says, There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.” During this time, Moses was overshadowed by the Lord.

Being overshadowed by the Lord assured Moses of God’s presence. Moses needed this confirmation before he led the Israelites to the Promised Land. We, too, must be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to become confident of the Lord’s presence. Having this assurance, we will be able to lead others to a personal relationship with Jesus. We will have the privilege of leading people into the Land of Promises. The Promised Land of the Old Testament is a picture of the Land of Promises where believers live today.

Mary

Mary was covered by God.

In Luke 1, Mary has a conversation with an angel telling her that she would conceive a baby who would be called the Son of the Most High. In verse 34 Mary asks, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel responds in Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

Being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit made it possible for Mary to become pregnant with new life. Today, God desires to impregnate us with His plans and purposes. When we allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow us, He reveals His divine purposes and enlarges us with the gifts necessary to give birth to His plans for our lives.

Peter, James and John

Peter, James and John were covered by God.

In Matthew 17, Jesus and these 3 men climbed a mountain. While praying, Jesus’ appearance changed and they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus about His fulfillment of prophecy in the coming days. Matthew 17:24-25 says, “While He was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.’’

This scriptural account is known as the Transfiguration. It involves spiritual overshadowing. First, the appearance of Jesus was transfigured, or changed. Then, the minds of these 3 men were transfigured, or transformed. Their minds were transformed and renewed with a new way of thinking. We also need a transfiguration experience to transform our way of thinking. Bill Johnson says in When Heaven Invades Earth that a renewing of the mind is needed for more miracles to occur. We need a new mind, a transfigured mind, to be able to think and expect God to move through miracles today. We must change our way of thinking. This is only possible when we are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.

Having unpacked the experiences of these people who were overshadowed by the Lord, I desire the same privilege. I want to cry out as David did in Psalm 57:1, “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Being overshadowed by the Lord means I am covered by the Lord. Jesus says in John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” This is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. What a privilege for us to be overshadowed by the Lord!

I close with the words of Psalm 63:7, “Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings.