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Monday, February 03, 2020

The Path to Intimacy and Significance With God

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

One of the most beautiful pictures painted in the Bible is of a future time to come. I'll share that with you in a minute.

As a Christian and a Bible reader, I want you to think about different Bible characters that just happened to be wherever they were when God came along side of them.  Abram (to become Abraham) was living in Haran when the Lord first spoke to him.  Moses was delivered by the hand of God at birth from a genocide initiated by Pharaoh, and was then first talked to by God from a burning bush. Noah was a righteous man living in an evil and defiled world when God one day spoke to him, sharing His plans to renovate the earth and to ask him to build the ark.

You could go through character after character and you would see that God visited them and gave them the opportunity to follow and obey Him. He also gave them the opportunity to do significant things by faith that would further God’s plans in the earth. These men and women of God were ordinary people who did not become significant or famous in anyone’s eyes until after they obeyed God. Because they did, great things happened. And it's critical that you understand this: they weren't searching for significance or to be great, nor did they ever think God could use them in a significant way. Why is that important? Because many people actually move away from God in their efforts to have a significant life.  Significance isn't determined by man. It's determined by God. And in the end, those that obeyed and lived for God will be rewarded with rewards that last all eternity.  In our own efforts, we can do nothing! 

Now about that picture that the Bible paints for us that I told you about. It is the future picture of Jesus on His throne surrounded by the 24 Old and New Testament saints that led in God’s plan. They have been given crowns as their reward for following God. What they did with those crowns is a life-lesson for all of us to pay attention to. They cast the crowns given to them at the feet of Jesus. Why? Because they knew that they deserved nothing. That without the Lord they would be nothing and that everything given them was a gift by through the grace of God in their life. They knew that He and He alone was and is the enabler of all our good actions and blessing and the only one that deserves glory. And so, again, they cast their crowns and glory placing them at His feet—the only deserving one! Paint this picture in your mind as you read this slowly. 

Revelation 4:3-4 & 9-11 NLT “The One sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones—jasper and carnelian. And the glow of an emerald circled His throne like a rainbow. Twenty-four thrones surrounded him, and twenty-four elders sat on them. They were all clothed in white and had gold crowns on their heads… Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne, the One who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the One who lives forever and ever. And they cast their  crowns before the throne and say, "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created."

What made these men great and able to be used of God?  It was their humble and thankful heart! A humble and thankful heart is a heart that can see more of God and His plan—a perception that the rest of the world does not have. Humility and thankfulness open the eyes of your heart. They see God in the details of their life in a way that others can’t.  That leads to a deeper trusting faith and peace that even most Christians don't experience. No matter what good comes to them, they know and instinctively thank and acknowledge that it's from and because of Him. People with this kind of heart and perception are daily casting their crown at His feet. There heart's attitudes reflect these words from 1 Chronicles 29:14 (NLT).  "But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!" 

More than any other quality that we could ever develop, nothing will affect our heart and life more than having developed instinctive appreciation and thanks to God for every good thing in our life. If you don’t see God doing much in your life, this is why. Pay attention and and ask God to help you see all the good He brings into your life. And as you do, pause, thanks and praise Him for each thing.  Read His Word and understand the inheritance of faith and His promises He has left to those who believe. Be thankful. Shed your personal view of any of your own success or greatness and place your appreciation where it belongs.  James 1:17 (MSG) says, “Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of Heaven…” If you want to live a life of intimacy, purpose, and significance with God, this is the beginning of that path. It starts with the eyesight of your heart, and a view of life that only God can reveal to you!

Revelation 7:12 (NLT) They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.” 

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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