Introduction by Roy Godwin
At a time of challenging political uncertainty, Isaiah had an experience of God that completely altered his worldview. (Isa 6) Jesus similarly challenged the disciples over their worldview. (Matt 9:37). Maybe now is the time for God to correct your worldview, and mine. I am grateful to my friend, co-writer and colleague Dave Roberts for having written for us this month as follows. I have presumed to add a video blessing at the end.
The Gate of Heaven by Dave Roberts
In you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”Genesis 28:14, 16-17
Jacob famously had a dream in which he saw a ladder reaching to heaven and angels ascending and descending. Standing over it was the Lord God who promised this itinerant, oftentimes vagabond, that he was to be the father of a nation who would carry the knowledge of God to the families of the earth and that blessing would follow those who respond to His grace and mercy.
Jesus would reference this idea when he told an amazed Nathaniel:
“Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafteryou shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”John 1:51
Why is this idea so important and how does it help us understand the nature of blessing, the supernatural and the will of God?
Most of us instinctively think of heaven as a place ‘up there’ that we go to live with God for eternity. If we ally that with the belief, derived from Greek thought rather than the Bible, that the world is a broken, lesser place that we need to escape from, we find ourselves adrift from the core truths that are woven through scripture.
The prophet Isaiah reminds us that the promise of God is:
“For as the new heavens and the new earthIsaiah 66:22
Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord,
“So shall your descendants and your name remain.
Jesus then restates in multiple ways that the Kingdom of Heaven is coming to us. From that we derive the idea that God, in the person of his Holy Spirit, and his angels are often ‘ascending and descending’ in our life and circumstances. The use of the language of nearness is a clue.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Matthew 6:10
And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’Luke 10:9
For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”Matthew 18:20
And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’Matthew 10:7
‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is in your midst.Luke 17:21
Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8
This brings us back to Jacob’s recognition that he is in the ‘house of God’. Like him, we should be awake to the idea that we are His image bearers in the temple of His creation. This then leads us to understand that heaven is not merely ‘up there when we die’ but is a dimension of life that can often break into the realities of our ‘five senses world’ in the here and now. We stand in his presence; we carry his presence; and we can declare his presence as Roy Godwin eloquently puts it.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are establishing ‘colonies of heaven’ in the disputed spiritual arenas of the world. Our drawing near to God will provoke Him to honour his name, display his character and cause the word, work and wonders of the Kingdom to draw near to us and many others.
Think for a minute of the phrase Jacob uses: This is the gate of Heaven.
Think of your town or the place where you live. If a river of life was to pour through the gates of Heaven into your town what would it bring healing for? Ask God for a redemptive revelation of what your town might be and do if heaven draws near.
And then bless your town in the name of Jesus that it might know healing and restoration and purpose.
This month’s Blessing from Roy
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© Roy Godwin 2021