Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts Will Perform This!

"6 For unto us a Child is born,
      Unto us a Son is given;
      And the government will be upon His shoulder.
      And His name will be called
      Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
      There will be no end,
      Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
      To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
      From that time forward, even forever.
      The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NKJV)

Isaiah was a very special prophet.  His career began in the throne room of God’s temple where, in his vision, the Lord of Hosts Himself personally commissioned him.   Perhaps that explains the intensity of divine emotion that Isaiah’s writings convey, such as the opening line of chapter 64: 
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens!  That You would come down!”

And surely it’s no coincidence that this same Isaiah brings us more messianic prophecies even than David himself.  Perhaps the most often quoted of these is Isaiah 9:6-7, which begins with: “For unto us a Child is born …”  In two short verses, the majestic reign of Jesus is chronicled from birth, to throne, to eternity. 

But then, the prophecy is sealed with a singular pronouncement:  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

As He Is, So Are We In This World

To our good friend Bradley Brown, missionary to Nicaragua, on his 60th Birthday

At the Last Supper, Philip implored Jesus, “Show us the Father, and it’s sufficient for us.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you haven’t known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” 

You see, Jesus didn’t need to live among us for thirty-three long years in order to purchase our salvation.  He could have beaten a path to the cross, risen from the dead, and returned to His throne in considerably less time than all that.  But then, how would His disciples—and how would we—ever have known the incredible love of the Father Who sent Him?

What does this have to do with Brad Brown as we celebrate his 6oth birthday?

“As He is, so are we in this world,” John the Beloved tells us (I John 4:17, NKJV).  In fact, the entire chapter is about our Father God’s love for us, and how He longs, in turn, to extend that love through us to a lost and dying world. 

In the words of an old hymn: “Lord, lay some soul upon my heart, 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

When We Pipe, God Shall Dance

Brad's new book is now available—in paperback and e-book formats!

For more information, visit the web site: www.WhenWePipeGodShallDance.com

[UPDATE - OCTOBER 2023:] Brad has released the 2nd edition of this inspirational book under a new title: Curse of the Skunk People.  Visit the book's website at: www.CurseOfTheSkunkPeople.com]

Told in parable form, this story is a challenge for each of us to connect with God and discover personal revival and the fulfillment of His purposes for us in our generation.

Are they twenty feet tall and swallow live kittens—or eight inches tall and shelter in tree hollows? Nobody knows for sure. But the strange, ugly creatures must be found, and their wretched curse broken, before it’s too late.

Willi Wagner, a young Anabaptist, fled his native Germany in 1916 on a pilgrimage that would take him deep into the forgotten sierras of Central Mexico in his search for the legendary Skunk People. At stake … the very notion that God still cares to be involved with men and women in our own time!

Wagner’s dogged tenacity, through triumph and tragedy, stands as an inspiration for those of us living a century later who would dare—as he did—to believe that God not only exists, but that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

WARNING: You will NOT be able to put this book down!

A bonus 39-page Study Guide is included, for personal devotion and small group dialogue.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why Leave Egypt?

"For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the tent of meeting, before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory. So I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 
"Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God."
– Exodus 29:42-45 (NIV)

Egypt is headline news this week, with sociopolitical upheaval bordering on anarchy.  May God comfort and sustain that nation, and may His will prevail speedily.

Of course, it won't be the first time Egypt makes global headlines.  One well known instance was about 3500 years ago.  That's the time when Pharaoh's impressive cavalry was defeated at the Battle of the Red Sea, where God fought for His people and thereby led them out of slavery.

But, why did God do it?  In His own words, "...So that I might dwell among them."

He wanted to be close with them, and not just in a poetic sense.  In fact, they were instructed to build a portable temple, which included an inner sanctum that was accessible only to those who had undergone a painstaking, and very bloody, ritual of consecration.  Because God was in there to meet them.  And speak to them!

Like most of the Old Covenant order of worship, the tent of meeting, with its Holy of Holies, was a glorious shadow of things to come.  Revelation chapter 21 discloses the final scene, of the final act, of God's dramatic story of love for His people, when Evil is defeated at last and the New Jerusalem descends out of Heaven with its magnificent temple that is the dwelling place of God Himself.  Among us.  Forever.

Like cosmic bookends, the passages of Exodus and Revelation describe strikingly similar events.

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'"
– Revelation 21:3-4 (NIV)

But what of the present?  Do we serve a God Who inhabits only the "long, long ago" and the "someday yonder?"  Certainly not.

Jesus came to consecrate us with His blood, and also to personally deliver the Good News of the Kingdom that blood ushers us into.  "The Kingdom of God is within you," He said.  Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is Jesus Himself dwelling among us---within us, in His Holy of Holies, to meet us and speak to us---until we see His face again in the New Jerusalem.

Jesus.  Emmanuel.  His very name means "God with us."

We're part of that cosmic love story.  Somewhere between the two bookends, true, but we can meet Him, talk to Him, experience His presence just as tangible as the shekinah cloud that filled the tent of meeting and, later, the temple in Old Jerusalem.

Let's not count too high the cost of painstakingly pursuing Him, of being daily consecrated anew in His blood, of hating even the sight of our robes smeared with the vile filth of our own sin.  For the heart of God yearns as a Lover to meet with us, speak with us, spend time with us.

It's not poetic.  He's more tangible---and much closer--- than that TV remote in my hand.  How about let's shut the thing off and spend some time in the kingdom...in the temple...in the presence of the Lamb of God who paid with the last drop of His blood to purchase a dwelling place...within us?

Copyright © Brad Fenichel 2011 All Rights Reserved