Pastor John Doonan
The Gates of the City Part #1
Having Jesus as our Savior is a wonderful truth. Having Jesus as our Lord is another. When we give Jesus the Lordship of our lives it changes our perspective on who we are. It changes our idea of what were going to be. When Jesus is Lord our options are changed because He is in control. We serve our Lord because He has risen from the dead, and He is qualified to lead. There is not a place we can find ourselves in, or go to in the world that Jesus hasnt already walked out of in power, in victory triumphant, gloriously lifted up and exalted above every other name. We have a Lord whom we follow, who is able to deliver us from fears and doubts. Adonai, our Lord God.
In the Old Testament God mentions many people, He even lists their names. Those names may not have seemed very notable as we read through them merely because they just seemed unimportant to us today. To God there is purpose and significance in our names. It is important for us to remember that in order for our name to be listed in the book of life it is because of an act of faith. It is an act of giving of ourselves, a sacrifice offered to God to receive His blessing. So now when reading the scriptures of these men and women we understand they are not just ordinary people. They are men and women of faith who have been acknowledged by God, so that the history of the Word of God might be established in individuals. The Bible is written of people who have accomplished things in their lives that merit mention and honor by God.
When we come to the judgement seat of Christ all the works we do in this life will surely have a reward be it done in faith. As we honor and serve God putting all our efforts into His kingdom there is a day when those things will be revealed, honored and men-tioned by God. Our name "Jesus" has been written, established, and is part of some-thing that is greater then what the outer appearances of our current circum-stances have re-vealed. It is a part of something more wonderful then anything we could ever imagine. The day that is revealed will happen during a time of seven years where the rewards are going to be given out.
It will be a great feast, a great reward banquet where we all gather together before our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As He opens up the book of our works he not only shows us but the whole church everything we did in faith. Once that book is opened everything we have done here in this world will be revealed. All in this world is tested by fire and can only remain standing by our faith. What will re-main written in this book are the enduring labors left after the fire has gone out.
There are many things people build on such as wood, hay, and stubble, or gold, silver, and pre-cious gems. As we build we establish those things in this life. Believers have been given gates, doorways to come before the Father that we may receive by faith the blessings. Then with a pure and humble hearts we offer a blessing full of trust and reliance back to Him. What we build is tested in this life. We go through the fire is in this world not in heaven. The truth is there will not be this huge bonfire waiting for us in heaven, where God takes our works and throws them into the flames, where anything that survives is rewarded. That is not when the all-consuming trial of our faith takes place. It happens now in this earth. The things that remain standing are the deeds that have been done with an honest and pure heart; done by faith before God. Faithfulness is what God considers precious.
What difference does it make what were going to do in heaven in terms of reward, position and power. There will be no difference in heaven. In heaven we will have no lack of ability. Faith without the test of failure, death, sickness, or poverty is different than we at present can easily understand. What seems as simple survival will be revealed in heaven as creative power without the influence of a curse. However in this world anybody can have an easy life and say they have faith in God. But faith that is challenged, faith that meets the fire that is tested is worthy of recognition. Faith that is tested and prevails is worthy of respect. If we do not faint, in due season He shall exalt us.
There is a record being prepared this very moment. A record of responsibi-lities, and projects we are accomplishing by our faith and are at the same time being established in heaven. Our works of faith are being written (mentioned by God) in a book in heaven, and is established so we shall forever be part of its fulfilled and final framework. I dont know about you but I really care about that book, but not in a fearful way for I am not afraid or ashamed to stand before my Lord. I love Him with all my heart. I know that in all my weakness, fears, and doubts Gods faith has sustained me. His faith in me has kept me. His ability to believe in what I could not believe in myself is a reality to me, so I will not ever be ashamed.
The more we are called of God the more were accountable and responsible for, so the book becomes more im-portant. Our life is not just a measure of things that are nice things to do. Our lives are a measure of what we are building, and what we build by faith, whether a house, church, job, family, marriage, or ministry etc. There is a measure of what makes a better or lesser reward. Not just the act of doing something for anyone can do something but it is what we finish by faith. Faith is what makes rewards. Whatever we submit our lives to have an eternal weight of glory. Our works have an eternal purpose that is being fulfilled. When we come before God He is measuring each one of us individually for what we are but it is not for our shame but for our glory, promotion and possession through eternity.
We really need to stop and examine our lives. We need to be aware of what we are building today for it is the foundation we will live on for eternity. The position we take and even the things we think and meditate on are build
When being tested by fire we should always think twice about what we are doing because the fire is hot. It does completely consume and will devour whatever is not God. As much as we desire to serve God we have wood, hay and stubble that will be consumed by the fire. We often find ourselves humbled before our Lord questioning Him, "Im not sure I really want to live in a world where things are not perfect or dont seem to work. Lord why cant it just come easy? Why cant your power and word just open up a doorway and fulfill all things and we all just kind of go through life happy go lucky, and rejoicing, patting each other on the back, praising God, Oh were just waiting for Jesus to return." However, things just dont work out that way. ing a foundation that we have to put up with in eternity. The things we shall have and do in heaven are not going to be decided after we get there. It is what we are doing now here on earth that will determine our eternal life. The measure of that faith is the measure of things that will happen. It matters that we have been tested and triumphed.
There are some that have been called and given talents that reach millions of people with the gospel God has given, and some are just simply called to lead their children to the Lord. The measure of faith that it takes to stand is equal and not greater for the person that leads a million then the person that leads just one. The measure of our faith and the reward of that faith is based upon the ability to stand when its challenged and we are afraid. When we stand before God we need to get out of our head that big is better for big is not necessarily the rule of faith. God gives us a measure of faith which is what accomplishes things that He wants us to be in our lives. It is the measure of these things which will eternally be the elements of our inheritance. Held in those things that we shall receive such as our mansion, and position just to name a few things. The simplest and most profound thoughts and acts that we walk out everyday of our lives are what will be held in eternity. The faith that has been brought about in our heart is not the measure of our succeeding or failing in this earth, it is about whether or not our faith sustains us through the fire. Faith knows God has power to deliver, to forgive, and faith knows God has the power to set us free. That faith is what stands and is not afraid to accomplish that which God has called us to.
So what is great faith? What kind of faith do we speak of that enables us to know the work we labor at is effecting an undiminished design? Its simple, does faith have any meaning to us and our life? Great faith requires God to cause us to live, to prosper instead of us willfully causing ourselves to live and prosper. God touched my life in such a way that it was so obviously God doing it that there was nothing I could do to help it. There was only a whole lot I could do to hinder it. The choice not to hinder God is where the greatest faith was required on my part. Faith to step into a place where I had no control over what was going to happen to me, what others might think, or how I was going to feed my family. Those times of faith were the most blessed times though they were desperate ones. The release that is felt when faith is tested and stands, is the faith that knows it is going to stand no matter what happens. That kind of faith is where we realize there are no more options.
When weve stepped in faith, moved in faith, received and been touched by Gods presence and His power the sudden realization is we have been changed. We have been brought and established before our Lord and we were changed, transformed. That glory will forever be established and will be known of by the body of Christ. God will reveal those that stood in faith, that gave up their lives and sacrificed much for the gospel of Jesus Christ. The people God will reveal are the ones the world would not consider important; a negligible footnote of life. But God has looked at them and there is a record for each one.
There is a record of our faith and purity, our honesty and hope. There is a record of the spirit and how He has guided and directed our lives. All will be revealed in heaven, for there is a pattern that God has orchestrated for us, for as we follow that plan by faith. There are no other directions we can go but Gods way. To worship and be in fellowship with the Lord requires the pathway He has prepared for us today. It takes faith to know God has called us to this life of faith, and knowing there is a city.
Rev. 21:10And he carried me away in the spirit to a
great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone clear as crystal
12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 On the east three gates; on the north 3 gates; on the south 3 gates; and on the west 3 gates.
Believers know there is a day this is going to happen. After the tribulation when all things are brought under submission, including death, we will witness this great and spectacular event take place. We will see our mansions prepared in heaven be brought to the earth. Fifteen hundred miles high and fifteen hundred miles square, a city will descend out of heaven as the earth has never witnessed before and settle on the place that used to be Jerusalem. A place that is now broken down rubble. The word declares the nations shall come to your gates to worship before the Lord. This great city built in heaven, this great wonder that will be established before all the nations of the world is because of who God is, what He has established and what He has finished.
The walls are great and high, and they are like jasper and crystal clear. The purity of them, the holiness that is of them is something that can not be penetrated, the world can not break them down. They are the church that can not be destroyed. It is something that was created by God stone by stone, living stone by living stone, faith upon faith that has been estab-lished in heaven and is working be-cause of the faith of the be-lievers we are. We come to un-derstand that it is the great eternal glory that is revealed in this city.
As we build, there are many things in this world that tear down. Solomon built a temple because he wanted to offer to God his worship and all he had. A place where all the people could come together before their God to honor and worship Him. But it was torn down. It was a beautiful temple, one made of gold, silver, fine arts and much more. People from all over the world came to witness the beauty and worship because it used to be one of the greatest wonders of the world.As wonderful as it was the earth and its wicked-ness destroyed it.
Nehemiah and Ezra mourned their city and asked the king to let them rebuild their home. As they built, they built upon the things that were left over from the worlds greed and pillage. The gold, silver and all the beautiful things had been taken and what were left were the simple stones. Nehemiah and Ezra knew their job was to rebuild the temple with these simple broken and scat-tered pieces.
Our lives are naturally touched by the world and there are many things of this world that inflict pain and wounds causing lives to be broken and torn down. When we start building the temple the stones we are working with speak of the same holiness and separation from the world as the pureness that is Christ. The stones used for building the wall that were considered simple in reality were stones made of crystal. Our sight can only see the earthly works of our hands as we build, placing stone upon stone. The truth is there is a greater wall being built one living stone upon another living stone. The purity of that wall is not in the purity of what we do here on earth, but is the purity of what faith is bring-ing about in our hearts as it is set up in that Holy City of pure stones be-fore God. They are not two different tem-ples, they are the same tem-ple, the same wall.The building, the testing by fire is the ability to look at a simple stone and find glory in it. To be able to look at the works of our hands and find honor and purpose, to find reason in knowing what we are building is something more beautiful then we can imagine.
Can you imagine a crystal clear wall half a mile thick? Who built the wall? Christ did. We are the body of Christ. What we do in the flesh we are doing in the spirit. The mansions we build here on earth seem void of honor, glory, or respect but the one in heaven is crystal clear because its built of a heart of the individual. It is built of the lives that are seasoned in Christ, with a heart that is pure in faith and honesty, in perfection and honor before God. As we place the stone by faith there is another stone that is placed at the same moment, and its power, its ability, and authority is so much greater then anything we can understand. Yet we build line upon line precept upon precept, one individual after another. We move by faith knowing that we have been assigned to a place on this wall. Though its been torn down it is our responsibility to continue building and have confidence there is a greater glory. As pure and holy as the wall is it doesnt do any good to build a wall before God if we cant get to God.
God is pure and holy and we know things we do in the flesh are being blemished by our sin and fault. Because our flesh is weak we build the same Holy wall that keeps us away from God. If there is any pureness and virtue, anything that is true we know that the wall of Holiness separates us from God. We build a building that we have no right to enter, therefore we build by faith. A building that somehow, someway is for the kingdom of God that is establishing a purpose that keeps sin from no longer entering the throne of God. It bans and destroys the works of the devil. It purges from Gods presence darkness, death, fear, and doubt, and sets apart as holy the throne of God which is holy and pure.
God made a way for faith by establishing twelve gates in the wall on every side of the city, so that whatever direction we come before the Lord we will find a gate, a doorway that we can enter in. These gates were built not only by great scholars and wise men but by people who love God with all their hearts. In every stone picked up, no matter what enemy threatens, we realize as we work on building these gateways it is worth more then anything else we have ever done before. We are creating a way for men to worship God. We are making an entrance for men to come before the presence of God. Through these twelve gates we come into our completeness.
Twelve is the number that speaks of the perfect administration of God, and in that administration there is a complete government fulfilled. God is the wall, God is pure and God is inside the wall at His throne with power and authority. We who enter in and out go forth by the administration that God assigns to us. He has given us a task, a resolve, and a motive. Each one of these twelve gates has the ability to allow anyone who so desires more of our Lord to enter, through the fire of holiness by faith, and into the presence of God. Everyone of the gates have a specific reason and purpose that is fulfilled in those who enter in by faith.
Rev. 21:21 and the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl : and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
The wall of purity separated us out, but God made a gateway. When we look at the gates in a spiritual realm they are each made of one single whole pearl. A pearl of great price Jesus called it. When we find the gateway and enter into the presence of God its because God made the way.
The walls are not built with wood, brick, our labor, or cash, or anything we use in this world because it is made of pure resources only available to God. Each gate is complete in itself .and needs nothing else to finish its purity. It is one single pearl miraculously created by the hand of God. God has created as a way to enter into His kingdom. It is a gift created by God for us to be welcomed into His gates with praise and into His courts with thanksgiving.
Rev. Dianne Doonan
As we are called to be positioned beside the wonderful man of God we adoringly call our husbands, I would like to encourage you in the faith.
I'm sure there are many stories you could tell me and I encourage you to, yet let me share an awesome experience I had with the Lord one day.
Being the wife of a pastor is a unique position to fill and we must remember that just as our husbands were called into their ministry gift, so God designed and foreordained us as a work of completion to an otherwise lonely life.
We see our husbands as men who though human, walk in a world untouched by earthly desires. Given wholly, and unreservedly to the ways of the Lord. Time to prepare messages, prayerful encounters, busy schedules, and endless counseling hours, these can all play havoc on the everyday scheme of our lives.
Our children are looked upon as examples of our perfect home life. We are meek and mild, quiet spirited yet play out any role that are position as a woman's leader calls for.
Well, one Sunday morning as I was preparing for church which was relatively new at that time (it met in our house!) there are many things I had to have ready on time. Children fed, kitchen cleaned up, all dressed spotlessly, readying ourselves in the attitude of gathering together in the name of the Lord.
Feeling over extended and pressed to be perfectly productive in all areas of my life, I must admit that I was in a slight mental disarray. I sang in praise and worship, I taught the children, and all of these things weighed upon me, and I felt this unbearably heavy load instead of the joyful ministry that it really was. As I was preparing my heart and prayerfully releasing my anxiety so I could be ready to minister before Lord, He spoke to my heart. The loving and gentle way He soothe my mind left me in awe as He spoke these words "You may wear many hats Dianne, but you have only one crown."
The release I felt that morning is one I will always remember. The Crown of Righteousness we wear in Jesus Christ is one of freedom. From the Crown of Thorns He wore on his brow to the Glorious Crown of Life He wears as He sits upon his throne, He gives us peace. We may try in the flesh to accomplish many things, even with all are Godly motivations, yet as we do, we can become exhausted. But the Lord in all his goodness was relating to me was that there may be many hats we wear, but the Crown of Righteousness is the one he seals us with. As we allow the water of a washing of the word to cleanse our minds, we are released to be not only the best we can be, but we are all things in Christ.
I love the Amplified Bible translation of:
Philippians 4:13 "I'm equal to anything, and ready for anything, through Him who infuses his inner strength into my being."
As our busy hurried lives and desires are calling out ravenously, my prayer is that we all remember that we must put Jesus First. All else will be dim in comparison to the one who brings us such joy.
My grateful thanks to all of our brothers and sisters who hold us in prayer as we all endeavor to the fulfill the great commission.
The holidays are over now;
The lights are packed away.
No decorations deck the halls
Proclaiming Christmas Day.
The angels song is hushed nowin sleepy Bethlehem
And the Wise Men journey homeward
As the star above grows dim.
We have seen the baby Jesus
And well never be the same...
The joy of Christmas has begun
As we exalt His name.
Its a time of commitment
To be of one accord
As we rededicate our lives
To the service of the Lord.
For thats the gift we give to Him
That lasts throughout the year
As we work to feed the hungry
And dry the mourners tear.
Unless we strive to serve Him,
There is no peace on earth
For thats the gift we give to Him
In honor of His birth.
Published by Amazing Grace Ministries
Evangelistic Association Publishing, Westchester. Illinois
Distributed by Amazing
Grace Ministries Evangelistic Association Publishing, Westchester. Illinois
Unless otherwise indicated all Scripture quotations are from the Authorized / King James Version (KJV) No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission except for brief quotation in books and critical reviews. For information write Amazing Grace Ministries Evangelistic Association Inc.--198 Burnett St.--Yorkville, IL 60560--708/223-0070
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