Seeing Jesus Changed Me

Getting a glimpse of Jesus is life-changing. We see that in the Bible and in human history.

This is so powerful and important that it has been recognised in several church movements and many people’s lives in the 2,000 years of church history.

Such notions as having a vision of the Cross and having a personal revelation of Christ have been part of such church movements as the Holiness Revival of the 1800’s. Such a revelation has at times even been referred to as the second blessing and sanctification.

The Bible Tells Us

Listen to what the Apostle John says about seeing Jesus and being made like Him as a result.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we will be: but we know that, when he appears, we will be like him; for we will see him as he is.” 1John 3:2

Getting a glimpse of Jesus will transform us. It’s the most powerful shortcut to transformation.

The danger for humans is that God’s holiness is so awesome compared to our sinfulness that we cannot see God and remain alive.

“But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appears? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap” Malachi 3:2

“And he said, You cannot see my face: for no man will see me, and live.” Exodus 33:20

Bible Examples

When Job saw God he was tormented by his own worthlessness.

“I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5,6

The same thing happened when the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord.

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.” Isaiah 6:1

“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5

And Peter had the same experience when he met Jesus.

“When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Luke 5:8

Samuel Logan Brengle Looked at Jesus

I was struck by the words of Samuel Brengle who attests in his experience that seeing Jesus transformed him, similarly to what we see in the Bible accounts. I did a Church History post on Brengle for Jan 9, 2009. You will find that post at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/church-history/samuel-logan-brengle

Note this amazing summary of the impact of a vision of Jesus in a person’s life.

“I saw the humility of Jesus and my pride;
the meekness of Jesus and my temper;
the lowliness of Jesus and my ambition;
the purity of Jesus and my unclean heart;
the faithfulness of Jesus and the deceitfulness of my heart;
the unselfishness of Jesus and my selfishness;
the trust and faith of Jesus and my doubts and unbelief;
the holiness of Jesus and my unholiness.
I got my eyes off everybody but Jesus and myself, and I came to loathe myself.”

Let Us All See Jesus

May we each see Jesus, because it changes us. As we behold the Lord we are changed from one degree of glory to another, because we see ourselves more clearly and come to repentance and transformation.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2Corinthians 3:18

If you are feeling pretty good about yourself, just ask the Lord to give you a vision of Jesus.

Yesterday is Gone

The Beatles made a huge hit singing “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away”. And others waxed poetic about how “Yesterday’s gone” and how they remember “Yesterday when I was young” and so on.

Yesterday’s Hold

The reason “yesterday” has such a hold on people’s lives is that we all carry the past into the present and beyond that into the future. Yesterday is the time we sowed certain things into our lives and today we reap the harvest. So yesterday is a powerful component of ‘today’ and it will still be making its presence felt when we get to tomorrow.

The Catholic Church teaches people to go to confession to deal with the sins of yesterday. Someone sneered at the habit of some who sin during the week and look for forgiveness in the confessional on the weekend. They said it was like sowing wild oats all week and then praying for a crop failure.

The Hindu faith respects the baggage of yesterday as karma, which we carry not only through this life, but into future lives which Hindus believe they will face. Gautama Buddha, who rejected the Hindu teaching of reincarnation, went so far as to say that we cannot remove our Karma even in a thousand lifetimes.

Yesterday’s Debris

Here are just a few of the things we bring with from yesterday, even though yesterday is gone.

We bring our disappointments from yesterday. We face disappointments with others, such as our parents and family. But we also face disappointments with ourselves.

We bring our broken relationships from yesterday. Once we have offended someone else or they have offended us that damage remains, often throughout life. Family reunions and community life become tinged with the hurt and offence that we feel toward others and they feel toward us.

We bring our compromises from yesterday. Once we have compromised our values and character that becomes a weak spot for us from that time on.

We bring our slaveries from yesterday. When we give in to sin, such as anger, pride, jealousy or lust, that thing enslaves us and it controls us throughout our lives.

Today’s Harvest

It is also true, as the Bible teaches, that our actions and choices involve us sowing seeds in our lives. A seed not only remains, but it germinates and produces a whole crop. So when we sow something into our life, we are setting up a harvest in the future.

Today’s harvest is filled with the fruit of the things we planted yesterday. If we planted selfishness, pride, anger, greed, violence, self-pity, wilfulness, addiction, lies or other evil things, we will have an evil harvest today.

If we planted forgiveness, faith, love, trust, humility and the fear of God then we will have a much better harvest today than others might have.

Yesterday is not ‘Gone’

While the songs might say, “yesterday’s gone” it isn’t true. Yesterday has passed, but it has not ‘gone’. Yesterday lives with you today.

Just as yesterday’s piano lessons undergird today’s musicianship and yesterday’s studies undergird today’s understanding, yesterday’s moral choices undergird today’s character.

Transforming Yesterday

“You can’t go back in time” is one way to look at it. “What’s done is done!” might be your way of dismissing the past. But there are powerful ways of unlocking the past and transforming yesterday. Let me briefly outline two of them.

Confession of Sin is a powerful way to unlock and transform yesterday. When you repent of the choices you made in the past God is able to set you free from the debris and consequences of those choices in the present. You can actually get a crop failure, even though you sowed lots of wild oats.

God can go back in time. While you are stuck in the time-space continuum, God exists outside of time. So He is able to go back to your past and make Himself present, bringing healing to things that are part of your yesterday that has ‘gone’ from you.

A Testimony

A friend of mine named Malcolm visited a lady who had chronic problems. When he prayed for her she had a vision of a baby crying in a cot. She realised that she was seeing herself as a tiny baby. She sensed the extreme distress of the baby and it connected with the pain that kept surfacing in her life.

A spirit of intercession came on Mal and he began to weep for her. As he did she saw in her vision that the door to the baby’s room opened and Jesus walked in. Jesus lifted the baby into His arms and as He did the woman felt all her pain and torment drain from her life.

It was as if Jesus was able to go back in time to the entry point of the woman’s troubles and resolve them, even though that was now many years past.

Saying Good-bye to Yesterday

If yesterday has brought its bad baggage with it into your today then be encouraged to say “Good-bye” to that stuff. You can remove it forever by confession and by asking the Lord to unlock and heal your past.

The Steps to Release, which I have written about in my books and in other posts, will be helpful in this process.

I want you to live in the freedom with which Christ has made you free. I want you to be able to say, in all reality, that Yesterday is Gone! Keep all that is good from yesterday and unlock and remove all that is bad. Once you’ve said “Good-bye” to yesterday’s rubbish you will have an even better future to look forward to.

Broken Home is a House Divided

When a parent leaves the marriage the home is broken. At the same time the house is divided. I never realised that until a discussion I had recently with a woman who knew this all too well from personal experience.

The Single Mum

A single mother who had raised her children without the husband’s input for many years recently told me about a conversation she had with one of her children. She had faithfully brought her children up to a set of values which she believed were right. She taught her children to love their daddy but not to follow his inappropriate behaviours. In her mind she had brought them up the “right way”.

Because of her diligent instruction to her children and their choices to follow her wisdom she felt confident that she had protected her children from the wrong influence of her husband’s values. A comment from one of her children showed her otherwise.

A House Divided

As this single mum raised her children in a happy family unit for many years she came to see that the family was united. She also saw that she had given her children clear guidance, leading them to her set of values as the right way for their lives.

In discussion with one of her children she remarked about what she had sought to achieve and she was surprised by the child’s response.

Her child pointed out to her that all their lives the children felt that there were two choices before them, not one. While the mother felt she had created a house in which there was only one value being upheld, the children grew up with a different reality. For them the house was divided.

Two Paths To Choose

Each of the children well knew the values taught them by their mum. They enjoyed their upbringing and the home she had made safe and productive for them. But they were also painfully aware of their dad’s choices and values.

Even though those values were not a part of their family home with their mum, those values were none-the-less part of their life.

Mum had clearly made her choice. She stuck by her values and her commitments and invested all her energies into making up for the father’s abandonment of the children and the marriage. She had successfully excluded the dad’s values from the day to day life within the home. But those values still resonated in the children’s hearts.

Each child knew that they had two heritages to draw from. They had their mother’s values inculcated within them. But they also had direct lineage to a dad who lived by other values. Each child, therefore, lived with the reality that they had two paths to choose between.

Parents Can’t Make the Choice

Sadly, each individual must make their own choices. Parents can’t make the choices for their children. Parents can guide, instruct and inspire their children, but each child must take personal responsibility for what they do in response to the guidance and input given.

This godly mum had done all in her power to give her children the best possible preparation for right choices. But she could not exclude the influence of wrong choices from those children, since they had a direct link to other values.

Unseen Division

The mum realised that, while she was not living with a divided home or a divided heart, her children had to struggle with an unseen division. They were the product of both the mum and the dad and had direct lineage to both the paths being modelled for them. The mum did not live with division, but her children did.

While the mum took it for granted that the children would make the right choices, by virtue of their upbringing, she did not account for the personal reality of division which each child struggled with. While the domestic home was united as mother and children, the reality of a house divided could not be removed.

The Two Parent Home

The two parent home has an incredible advantage over the single mum or single dad home. Where one of the parents has chosen to abandon the home, for whatever reason, the home is divided. But where both husband and wife live together and cooperate together there is a quality of unity that is invaluable.

Children growing in a two parent home still have to make their own choices. But they do not grow up with the ever present reality of division and alternative paths to choose from. Godly parents in a strong, healthy family are able to build levels of security and maturity into their children, without the presence of a divided heart from a divided home.

All Is Not Lost

Our natural upbringing does not make us. We make choices and set the course for our life, despite the other influences that impact us. So, all is not lost in a broken home or divided home context.

God gives us a new heart when we give ourselves to Him. Even our divided heart can be transformed and healed by our relationship with the Living God.

However it is wise to be aware of what you are dealing with and to give your children the best help you can to succeed in life. That, of course, is more than a stable home with a strong marriage. The best you can give them is an intimate, faith-filled relationship with God as their Father, through faith in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord.

Disqualified Still?

The note simply said, “Please meet me in my office at 2pm” and it was signed by the lecturer the young man had so rudely interrupted the day before.

When the young man and the professor met, there was some time of awkward niceties until they were both settled into chairs. The young man waited quietly. He was the guest. He waited upon the professor’s purpose.

“A strange thing happened yesterday,” the professor began.

“I do apologise, sir. My actions were disrespectful and disruptive.” The young man had already planned his apology.

“I’m not talking about your interruption”, the professor interrupted. Then he paused, uncertain about continuing. In a moment or so he did so. “A strange thing happened. And it doesn’t make sense.” The professor was given to long pauses as he navigated through his points.

“You are right in your synopsis of the human condition. If we deny any higher power then we are all equal. We are all combatants in a life-long fight for significance and position. The honour one gives to another is of no more worth than the honour we give ourselves, since no-one has any higher dignity with which to confer higher graces.”

The young man simply nodded, pleased that he did not have to argue this point any further.

“Yet something strange happened yesterday.” He was back to his starting point. He turned to face the boy. “You gave me honour.” The perplexity in the man’s face was clearly visible.

“You made me special yesterday. You stole my class then you gave it back to me. You gave me honour that I did not demand of you, nor did you have to give it.” The professor stared into the face of the young man, who had nothing to say.

“If we are all equal, how is it that I feel you have given me something I cannot give myself?” The man’s fixed gaze of inquisition persisted until the young man wriggled in his seat and gave answer.

“Sir”, he began, “I didn’t give you honour yesterday. God did.” The young man waited to see if the professor would react. He didn’t.

“Sir, God asked me to show you that He gives you honour. God wants you to know that while you have rejected Him, He has not rejected you. He has not scrapped you, even if you are intent on scrapping yourself.” Seeing that his audience listened to every word the young man pressed on.

“Sir, God created you. You are not some biological freak, but a purpose-built creation, with divine destiny all over you. You have sold your soul to populist dogmas that have done nothing for you but demean your very existence. God is calling you back from that, to things far more noble than you have ever imagined.”

“That sense of honour that impacted you yesterday is just the early indicator of what God wants to give you in abundance.”

The professor sat back and absorbed what he had heard. His whole life had been predicated on the theory of evolution and the arrogance of his own mind. Yet in all the years of his grand achievements, amid all the accolades thrown at him by his peers, nothing had impacted him as much as the respect he received from a mere student. Was God truly reaching out to him? Could he respond? How would he explain to everyone such a change of heart?

Thus begins a transformation that is soon to sweep this generation. Strongholds have been built in the minds of men. Yet those men are desperately empty. Vain praise from vain men cannot warm the coals of human hearts. But the weapons of our warfare are stronger than those strongholds. God’s Spirit and God’s children are able to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

These are exciting new days as we enter into cultural movements that impact whole cities, nations and cultures in ways we have not seen before.

Can a nation be saved in a day? Let’s be part of making it happen!

Revelation of God

If you were raised in the fear of some idolatrous and despotic deity how would that affect your understanding of the true and Living God? If you only knew of gods as demanding, enslaving, capricious and cruel would you readily understand the God who is “love”?

I was recently blessed by the testimony of Meng, a lovely woman of God who helped me focus these thoughts. I asked her for her notes so I could share her thoughts with you and spring into some of my own observations as well.

She shared something of her testimony recently and drew attention to Jesus asking His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” (See Matthew 16:13-19). The significance for her is that her own vision of God has had to be expanded, progressively over the years, to open her heart and understanding to the wonder of the God who is her Father. We all have a head knowledge of who God is and can recite some of His numerous titles. In response to the question of who Jesus is, we could all say, “Messiah”, “King of Kings”, “Saviour” and so on. Yet we could easily say those things out of head knowledge, like facts learned for a school exam, rather than truths that burn deep into us.

Peter had a revelation of who Jesus is. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. And Jesus commended Peter for receiving ‘revelation’, since such knowledge of Christ came from God, not from Peter’s own analysis or his discussions with others.

Now, in Meng’s case, having come from an Asian religious background, her understanding of God was tainted by her existing concepts of what a deity is. She described her situation quite poetically, in the allegory of serving the gods of Egypt in her former life of slavery to sin. I let you read it as she put it.

“Before I came into the Kingdom of God, I served under the gods of this world. I was in bondage in Egypt and I served under the god, Pharaoh. As his slave I had to work long and hard to please my master and when I didn’t work hard enough, Pharaoh, my taskmaster, would punish me. I was made to feel guilty and I was compared to others who outperformed me. My god was my taskmaster. I had to work for acceptance – and although I worked very hard for it I still didn’t get it. No matter how hard I worked, it was never enough – my only reward was to work harder. That was all I knew about god and gods.

When I was set free from Egypt, I brought the same concept of God out with me. I left the slavery of Egypt but I still have traces of Egypt in the way I live in the promise land.”

Meng testified to how she has lived under a performance syndrome, having to push herself to do her best, in the vain quest for acceptance. As a Christian she continued with the impetus to please God, as if He too demanded excessive striving before He would accept her.

What set Meng free from that former concept of God were the truth of God’s Word and an ever deepening revelation of God. Isaiah 55:1 blessed her as it reveals how God’s wonderful graces and abundant benefits don’t come because we can earn them. Christ in us makes us acceptable to God, not our own vain efforts.

The anointing of the Holy Spirit and the showering of God’s love in her heart (Romans 5:5) have been rich healing streams, releasing her to embrace the revelation of God as her ‘papa’ who she can snuggle close to, just as a child would to her daddy. Relationship is replacing performance. Being a child of God and a ‘friend’ of God (as Moses was) are transforming revelations. Being the bride to our heavenly bridegroom, Jesus, is also a strong relationship revelation. And in it all Meng is enjoying an ever deepening hunger to know God, to enjoy a powerful revelation of who He is and to go into richer and sweeter relationship with Him.

So, who do you say that Jesus is?

Notice that Peter’s heightened revelation of Christ resulted in him being given new destiny. Jesus blessed Peter and prophesied great authority for him. That’s what comes from an increasing revelation of God. We are transformed by every new insight we have into who God is.

The surest way for you to become like Christ and to be transformed from the inside out is to get a clearer and deeper revelation of God. Those old religious ideas may have become a strong-hold in your heart and mind. I have met people who can only think of God as a fearsome God of judgement. They cannot accept the truth of God’s love and grace.

Your past concepts of who and what God is may well be robbing you of your spiritual growth. And your ideas of what a father is, based on your childhood experiences, may also be blocking your acceptance of God as a loving Heavenly Father. The false teachings of various groups may have infected your thinking.

I recommend that you read the Bible with eyes to see the rich depth of God’s reality and the awesome grace and love which He possesses, along with His holiness, authority and power. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and relationship with God is the outcome of His salvation. I pray that you, like Meng, have an ever increasing longing for intimacy with the God of all eternity.