Sometimes you know you’re on the right track because of the opposition that comes. This Lampstand meeting certainly presented some interesting challenges in the week leading up to the meeting. I don’t know if we were wise enough to realize that much of what we were facing was a tactic of the enemy to get us off track, but thankfully God gave us grace to persevere, we faced the meeting, and God worked in it!
Bethany Oakes led us in a beautiful time of worship, ministering unto the Lord and focusing our attention on Him. It was so good to set aside all the things that had been pulling at us and trying to distract us and to simply fix our eyes on the Lord. We are so grateful for Bethany pressing in to touch the heart of the Lord and leading us into that place of encountering Him.
At our last meeting, we announced that we would be taking a deeper look at some themes in Scripture that will fuel our hearts. At this meeting, we began that deeper look with a topic that Matthew and I both love so dearly: the “Beauty Realm”. This is the term we use to describe the places in Scripture that describe visions of God, His throne, the heavens, and His beauty.
Revelation 4 is one of those amazing passages, a “theophanies” or picture of God in the Scripture. It begins with John seeing a door standing open in heaven. Matthew shared from this passage and talked about how Jesus is the door (John 10). He wants to open up revelation of His excellence and beauty to us.
He also talked about “Beholding the Lord”. We want to have a gaze that is fixed on the Lord. He shared from an article by the late David Wilkerson, founder of Teen Challenge and pastor of Time Square Church in NYC. The article was entitled, “The Ministry of Beholding His Face.” This article references 2 Corinthians 3 and describes the ministry of every believer as the ministry of beholding the Lord. Beholding is a strong expression that means fixing our gaze. Matthew shared it this way, “I won’t move from my position. Before I do anything else, before I try to accomplish a single thing, I must be in God’s presence.”
Beholding is like looking intently, trying to see something more clearly and to understand it deeply. We want to behold Jesus! We want to look intently at Him and try to know and understand Him in a personal and intimate way.
An amazing thing happens when we gaze at Jesus: we are transformed. We become like what we worship, what we gaze at! When we spend time studying Jesus in the Scripture and talking to Him and worshipping Him, we are changed. We become more like Him.
RESPONSE: We value these times to respond to whatever the Lord is highlighting in worship and in the message. We don’t always pray for each individual, but on this particular night, we felt that was the right response. So, we gathered around each person and spent time asking the Lord to open up more understanding of who Jesus is. Each one responded to the message and asked for greater revelation of the Lord and His beauty. What a precious time to pray together. I love the way the Holy Spirit will move among us as we lift each other up to Him. It is one of the most refreshing and encouraging things to feel other believers gather around you and agree with the Lord’s heart for you. I love the way He will stir His spirit in each person and release encouragement through words, prayers, and scriptures.
Matthew or Julie Wine