Extreme Significance

An Untouchable
The last time I was in India I had an experience I will never forget. It was one of those God moments in which He spoke something directly to me. It was our last day in India. It was already about 10 PM and we were on our way to the airport to return to the States.

As we were driving through the very busy streets of Hyderabad I saw people everywhere. There were thousands of people walking, which is quite typical for India. We stopped briefly due to the congested traffic and I caught a glimpse of a little "untouchable" woman sitting on the curb. Just so you will know an "untouchable" is a person from below India's lowest caste level. They are usually street sweepers or latrine cleaners or just jobless. Untouchables. No one else wants anything to do with them. Many live in cardboard boxes, tents, or just roam the streets. Their hope of ever advancing beyond the status of "untouchable" is non-existent. They are literally rejects from society.

Even though there were hundreds of people on that particular section of the street, my eyes fell upon this little elderly woman sitting by herself on the curb. My heart broke for her. I thought to myself, "If she died right there on the street, would anyone even know it?" Right then and there the Holy Spirit said to me, "I would know it!" Obviously I knew if a child of God dies, heaven receives them with joy. But what about an "untouchable", on the streets of Hyderabad, India, which hardly anyone on earth even knows exists? What about this little lady?

What God spoke to me reconfirmed what I already knew...at least in my head, (but not so much in my heart). What is that? No one is insignificant to God! Not even one seemingly "lost in the crowd", untouchable woman on the streets of Hyderabad. When just one person dies and leaves this life without Jesus...God is heart broken.

David said, "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13) We learn from David that no person is insignificant. How is that? Think about it. If God formed your inward parts, and wove you in your mother's womb, He knows you very, very well. In fact, He knows you better than anyone else knows you! You are very special to Him. You are extremely significant to Him. Don't allow the enemy to convince you that you are insignificant to God. That of course, is a lie!

God said to Jeremiah, the prophet, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." That's extreme significance. God already knew Jeremiah, and had chosen Him to be a mighty prophet...before He even formed Him in his mother's womb! Jeremiah is no exception. God has known you, chosen you, and appointed you to an incredible future and a hope. (Also see Jeremiah 29:11) Because He has a destiny for you...you have extreme significance. Your part is to believe it and thus, act like you believe it! Did I mention your part is to believe it and act like you believe it? Just checking.

There is no circumstance you face, no need you have, no struggle, no strength, no weakness, no opposition facing you that is not important to God. Know why? You have extreme significance. It's all because He loves you with an everlasting love. He loves you so much He sent Jesus to die for you over two thousand years ago. Yes, you were not around back then, but the God who created you had already known you, chosen you, and planned your destiny! He's just that great, and you're just that significant! That's extreme significance!

83951: Untouchable Untouchable
By Mulk Raj Anand

Anand conveys precisely, with urgency and barely disguised fury, what it might feel like to be one of India's Untouchables. Bakha is a young man, a proud and even an attractive young man, but none the less he is an outcast in a system that is now only slowly changing and was then as cruel and debilitating as that of apartheid. Into this re-creation of one day in the life of Bakha, sweeper and latrine-cleaner, Anand poured a vitality, fire and richness of detail that have caused him to be acclaimed as his country's Charles Dickens as well as this century's greatest revealer of the "other" India.

Do You Love Him Enough?

If you love someone enough, you will lay down your life for them. That's a statement I've been deeply pondering lately. When I think of my bride, there is nothing I would not do to protect her from harm or death. I love her so much. She is the apple of my eye. Why she's the cat's! The same is true for my children, grandchildren, and well...many of my friends. 

There is a point at which love overcomes any fear of dread, harm, destruction, or even death. It is not a point we reach when provoked by dread, harm, destruction, or death. Instead it is a place in which we walk. We abide there, and should dread, harm, destruction, or death threaten someone we love, we're prepared to pay the ultimate price. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..." (1 John 4:18) No type of fear is spared!

If you love someone just a little, you might not lay down your life for them. You may (if you have time) have to think about it. Why? Because you don't love them enough to give up your life for theirs. Let me say here that laying down one's life for someone is not always physically dying for another. However it is always self-denial, a form of death in behalf of someone else.

The question I must ask myself (and you should ask yourself) is..."do I love God enough to lay down my life for Him, or for His cause?" If confronted with imminent physical death due to my stand for Him, would I stand to the death? I sure hope so. I want to. It's easy for me to say that I will love Him even unto death. It's easy to sing about it. But would I do it? I will if I walk in His unfailing love! 

When asked which of the commandments was the greatest Jesus replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30) How do we love God? With our complete heart, soul, mind, and strength. We love God with EVERYTHING! We hold nothing back. We are to be "in love" with Him. He is to be our everything. We don't love Him only on Sundays, or during church meetings. We love Him always...with all we have....all that we are...our everything! No one and no thing is to be loved more than God, or His son Jesus. This is perfect (which really means complete and fulfilling) love. There is absolutely no fear in this love. Not even fear of our own death.

I'm not ashamed to tell anyone about the love I have for my wife and family. If I am, then I don't love them enough. Can we say the say thing about God? Do we love Him enough to tell others about Him? Telling folks about Jesus can provoke different responses. Some good. Some bad. But we must tell them. That's how the gospel is spread.

My friend, we must seek God to love Him more. His love for you and me is inexhaustible. He loves us with an everlasting love. Because He first loved us we can love Him. Only through His love can He be the center of our life. It's our love for Him, and thus for others that will change the world. It's His love that will create vacancies in hell.

"Origen says that Peter felt himself to be unworthy to be put to death in the same manner as his Master, and was therefore, at his own request, crucified with his head downward." (Up-side-down)

Atmosphere Is Everything!

"And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.' And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 'Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." (Revelation 4:8-11) 

There is no doubt that the atmosphere of heaven is God Himself. According to the Scripture, worship is happening day and night in heaven. It never stops. Why? Because God is so awesome! He is so glorious His glory fills all of heaven. The atmosphere of heaven is the overwhelming, very tangible presence of God.

There are times when heaven comes to earth as we lift up Jesus in our praise and worship. Through God's infinite grace, and the power of His Holy Spirit the atmosphere of heaven permeates the natural realm...and the only logical thing to do is to lift our hands, our voices, or simply fall before Him. When the atmosphere of heaven comes to the earth things change. When heaven touches earth we change! When God manifests Himself...freedom comes. I've seen mountains turn to molehills. I've seen folks physically healed (including myself). I've seen people weep for joy. Many times we've seen people repent of their sins, and even surrender their entire being to Jesus...in the tangible presence of Jesus. When heaven comes to the earth one begins to comprehend the brevity of this natural life...and the reality of eternity.

Listen to Psalm 22:3, "Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel." David, even though in a dry and weary land at this point in his life, acknowledged that God enthrones Himself on the praises of His people. There is something about praise and worship that creates an atmosphere in which God is pleased to dwell. It is not that He's not everywhere. It's that when worship goes up...His manifested presence comes down! When God manifests Himself in this way, heaven comes to earth.

As I said earlier, and as I've personally experienced many times...when heaven comes to earth....things change. In Acts 16 Paul and Silas had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel of Jesus. They were beaten badly and thrown into the deepest, darkest, yuckiest part of the prison. There was water, mud, and rats all over the place. At midnight they began praising and worshiping God. They weren't trying to get something started, they just loved Jesus. They knew the comfort they would receive from worshiping Him in adverse conditions. The conditions weren't right. As a matter of fact, they stunk! The atmosphere stunk. But they worshiped out loud anyway. They created an atmosphere in which God was pleased to dwell, and dwell He did. He came and shook the entire prison with an earth quake. As a result, their chains and shackles fell off (including all the prisoners in the whole prison). The prison keeper and his entire family got saved as a result of heaven coming to earth!

I've often said we don't worship Him based on our feelings. This is very true. But we must also understand that through the power of praise and worship we have the ability to literally change the atmosphere of the room we are in. We have the ability to change the atmosphere of our city! In the midst of the most a stinky, nasty, muddy, worldly atmosphere God will enthrone Himself on the praises of His people. No matter how you feel. No matter what your circumstances. Praise Him. Create an atmosphere in which He is pleased to dwell. Heaven will come to earth.