Back in Bristol! On the Promises of God.
This post is dedicated to my friend Pete, a faithful servant of God and pastor in London. May the Spirit of God inspire faith, vision and passion in you through these words and remember what you have been anointed to be.
I think the perfect holiday is one in which you can enjoy the rest and relaxation God has granted, yet at it's end you are eager to come back and get back to work. That has been my experience! We landed in Bristol Airport at half past four this morning (*shudder*). It was fine until we got to baggage claim where the handlers were obviously asleep too. But I got back in my car with my friends and turned the engine on and Lou Fellingham burst out singing "Before the Throne of God Above" from the Stoneleigh 1998 album. I have to admit that tears came to my eyes. For two weeks I have missed those touches of live worship that speak of the moving of the Holy Spirit. I can't WAIT to go to church tomorrow!
Life isn't a holiday. Trials will come and did (letters waiting for me on the doorstep). But we have a certain and true foundation. God's promises stand - however we feel and despite how much or little we experience. Bask in this extract from Ern Baxter's book, "The King, the Kingdom and the Holy Spirit" with me for a moment.
"Why do we find it so hard to believe God's promises to us? We have been fed a diet of denigration and humiliation. We've been told that we are nobodies, that we're just a bunch of people waiting to go home to Heaven , that we really have no place down here and that the world belongs to the devil. The world does NOT belong to the devil. "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness therefore, the world and all that dwell therein!" (Psalm 24:1). When Jesus Christ ascended on high and sat down at the right hand of God, God established His kingship forever. He made Him King over the whole earth. Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and we are His earthly representatives
The Bible says, "The Lord will stretch forth Thy strong scepter from Zion" (Psalm 110:2). Many people wonder, where is Zion? During a visit to Israel several years ago, I stood on the rooftop and asked a learned friend next to me, "Where is Zion?". He pointed in the direction of a knobbly little hill and he said, "That's Zion". I responded, "That's Zion? You mean that's where I've been marching to for 60 years?".
Zion as a piece of real estate is strategically localted. In the days of David it was obviously a strategic military stronghold for the Jebusites. There's no question about that, but it's no Rock of Gibraltar either. It's just a rather ordinary looking little hill, well placed for a certain job. Then I began to think of it from a different perspective. Zion was the place where David put the Ark of the Covenant. There the Holy Ghost began to make Zion the name for the people. Zion stopped being just a mountain and became the people of God. God said in the Psalms, "I have set My King upon Zion, My Holy Mountain" (Psalm 2:6). He was saying, "My people are the place of My Presence. Just as David put the ark on Mount Zion, I have put My Presence in the middle of My people and they are now Zion. They are the people of My Presence and I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion".
Through your praise and worship you make a throne in your midst, and as you continue to praise and worship, you experience the sweeping Presence of the regal Son of God and His angelic escort. He dispenses royal gifts. He comes to remind you that you are the people of His power in this world and that from you will rise a scepter of authority that will prepare the Kingdom to be presented to the Father".
Mark will remember with me a favourite song that we used to sing back in Dunstable.
"Jesus, we enthrone You! We proclaim You our King!
Standing here in the midst of us, we raise You up with our praise!
And as we worship build a throne, and as we worship build a throne!
And as we worship build a throne - come Lord Jesus and take Your place!".
Imagine what a difference it would make if as we all worship tomorrow in our churches spread across the nations, we really began to believe that as we worshipped King Jesus was building His throne among us, and dispensing royal gifts of authority to send us out to present a counter culture to the world! We are the People of God!