“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Rise and Shine!
by Randall D. Kittle
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I remember it as if it was yesterday. Gini and I had just gotten engaged and were at a jewelry store picking out her engagement ring. After the customary small talk and a short discussion about types of precious metals, we excitedly examined a nice selection of settings for her ring. Having found the “perfect” setting, it was time to select a diamond. The man helping us carefully opened what looked like a notebook and carefully unfolded a black velvet display board. Onto this dark backdrop, he slowly poured a container of diamonds. I was amazed at the shimmering beauty of the diamonds as they glistened against the contrasting darkness.

Great Contrast
As the end of the ages unfolds, the Lord will also use great contrast to display His glory and draw people unto Himself. In these present days in which we live, darkness is enveloping the earth. All we have to do is look about American society to see the deepening darkness of these days. When deep darkness covers the earth, the Lord’s solution is for His glory to be seen upon His people. He expects His Church to shine in the dark places, bringing His divine illumination.

In the days ahead, there will be a more distinct separation between the lives of believers and nonbelievers. The righteousness of Christ will be more visible in the saints, and the wickedness of the world will also be more easily seen. Yet, as children of light, we don’t need to fear the darkness. There is no battle between darkness and light. Darkness is merely the absence of light. As soon as the light comes in, darkness surrenders and ceases to be. The spiritual darkness so prevalent in these days must recede and surrender when the light of our Lord becomes manifest.

The solution to the darkness of our days is the people of God rising up and revealing His glory through our lives. Isaiah 60:1–3 is God’s spiritual game plan for the Body of Christ in these days. It says,
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” The Lord is crying out to the Church in our day asking, “Where are those who will display the light of My glory?” He is coming to us like a loving mother who would speak to her little child in a gentle, loving voice saying, “Rise and shine, My little ones. It’s time for the light of My glory to be seen in this world!”

Notice this verse does not say, “Arise and receive light.” In a power outage, a lantern that is not burning is of no use. But once a match has been struck and the lantern has been lit, it becomes very valuable. As believers, we are to be like spiritual lanterns, who, having beheld the glory of God, already possess the light of the Lord’s presence. That is what the Lord desires for
every believer. He wants every one of us to be a vessel ignited by His glorious presence who illuminate everything around us and drive out the darkness.

In the Old Testament, we see God’s glory burning upon certain places. Moses saw it burning on a certain bush in the desert. Israel was in awe because it burned upon a specific mountain. But in the New Testament we saw tongues of fire come down from heaven and rest upon
all the believers gathered there. God desires His glory to blaze in all our lives, bringing His divine illumination that drives out the darkness and testifies of His goodness.

Afraid of God’s Glory
One reason we don’t possess God’s glory to the measure we should, is that the glory of God is a fearful thing. A few years ago, the Lord gave me a vision of the throne room of God. In it, I saw a throne with so many precious gems set into it that it shone intently. There was One seated on the throne whose light was so blindingly brilliant I could not look at Him. Beneath this throne was what appeared to be a gigantic hurricane of fire whirling about it. It was the glory of God coming from the throne like a fiery hurricane. It was awesome … powerful … and frightening.

The glory of God was a fearful thing when people encountered it in the Bible. For example, which disciple described himself as the one whom Jesus loved? John the beloved, the one who rested his head on Jesus’ chest. But what happened when John saw the glorified Christ?
“…dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead” (Revelation 1:13–17). So this one who knew Jesus better than any other when He walked this earth was so overawed when he saw the glorified Christ that he was completely overwhelmed.

After Isaiah served God as a prophet for many years, he had a “throne room” experience in which He saw the glory of God. His response was,
“Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). When we get even a little glimpse of the glory of God, we, too, will be overwhelmed and undone.

We must make certain our discomfort with being undone by God’s glory doesn’t cause us to shrink back from possessing it. This is what happened to Israel when God’s presence was on Mount Horeb.
“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die’” (Exodus 20:18–19). If we want to truly experience the glory of God, there will be a fear of the Lord, but this is not about being afraid of God; it’s a reverential fear of God — showing Him great awe and giving Him the ultimate respect.

God is Able to Make Us Stand
The Church in America is too much like Israel on Mount Horeb. We know we are called to shine forth with His glory. We say we want His presence. But deep down inside we are afraid of being overwhelmed and facing the “Woes” of whom we might be in the light of His presence. We need to repent of being so afraid of the manifest glory of God that we have not fully pursued it.

Many years ago I was at a church leader’s conference hosted by Francis Frangipane. He asked me, “Randy, what is it you really want from God?” I quickly answered, “I want to look into the glorious face of God.” Francis’ response was, “You’d be toast!” to which I replied, “But, what a way to go!”

I believe this is the proper attitude we all need to have. Remember, the Bible tells us that God will make us able to
“stand in the presence of His glory” (Jude 24). The Scriptures tell us that by the finished work of the Cross the Lord has made a way through the veil of separation and has called us to come into His presence, to look upon Him with “unveiled faces.” This is part of the “better covenant” we are called to, those who are invited to press in and touch the very glory of God. If we will heed the invitation to pursue the Lord’s glorious presence, we, like Moses, will shine forth with it!

We Need Humble Hearts
What characteristics do we need to possess to move beyond fire-insurance — knowing we are saved and not going to Hell, and start to possess fire-assurance — having the glory of the Lord illuminating our lives and shining forth from them? If we examine some of the times God’s fiery presence was displayed in the Bible, we will discover three things we need if we want to be prepared for His glorious presence in our lives.

One of the times we see God’s glorious presence in the Bible was when Moses encountered it on the burning bush. Moses had started his venture of serving God with
a liberation theology — “I’ll set you free.” Trying in his own strength to accomplish what God had called him to only resulted in Moses becoming a fugitive murderer. Our own efforts, while commendable, are ineffective and often harmful to advancing the kingdom of God. We need to remember Jesus’ words, “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

But that wasn’t the end of the story for Moses. In the desert, he came to a personal
“search for insignificance.” It was there Moses got over his self-reliance and learned to be God-reliant. Moses became a shepherd working on the backside of the desert. It was only when he was in this place of humble service that God said, “You’re ready,” and allowed Moses to experience His glorious presence at the burning bush.

This shows us that we need humility if we want to be ignited by God’s glory. This shouldn’t surprise us, for time and again the Scriptures tell us that God draws near to the humble and makes a way for them to draw near to Him.

We Need Obedient Hearts
It was in the literal furnace of affliction that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego experienced the glory of God, as He supernaturally saved them and showed the wicked king who was really the Sovereign One (see Daniel 3). King Nebuchadnezzar had made a golden idol and required everyone to bow down before it. But the response of these three young men of God was like the apostles who knew they “must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Their obedience to God infuriated the king. Nebuchadnezzar had them arrested, condemned them to die in a furnace, and, after having it stoked till it burned as hot as possible, had the three of them thrown into the furnace.

While their disobedience to the king inflamed his wrath, their obedience to God inflamed His heart. God’s presence in the furnace was so glorious that it outshone the blazing fire! His rescue was so dramatic that even the king was humbled. He responded by promoting the very ones he had just tried to execute!

We must never forget that God sees obedience as a beautiful thing. Being obedient pleases God more than sacrifice, keeps us in His favor, and prepares us to be vessels of His glory!

We Need Dependent Hearts
Another time we see God’s fiery presence was at the birthing of the Church in the second chapter of Acts. “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:2–4).

After His resurrection, the Lord commanded His followers to go and tarry in Jerusalem and await the powerful infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that more than 500 people had seen Jesus after the resurrection (see 1 Corinthians 15:6). Yet, there were only 120 present when the fire of God’s Spirit fell upon them. What happened to all the others? I believe they hadn’t yet come to the place of being totally dependent on God. The cares of the world and the busyness of life caused them to forget about the charge Christ had given them and return to life as usual.

But the 120 people who were gathered in that room had learned that without God they were nothing. They had seen Jesus tell the crowd of followers in John 6:53,
“…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” They watched the superficial followers fall away, and when Jesus asked them, “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67), Peter answered for them, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). It was at that moment these disciples realized they were totally dependent on God. They knew that no matter what might come their way, Jesus was the answer. Having tasted of the things of God, nothing less could ever satisfy their longing hearts.

We, too, need to realize that we are desperately needy for God. When our hearts are desperately dependent upon Him — unwilling to settle for anything less — He will be faithful to fulfill His promise to have His glory rise upon our hearts!

Days of Preparation
The Lord is calling the Church to arise with the glorious light of His presence shining forth from our lives. That is how He will dispel the ever-increasing darkness of our days. We must be willing to do whatever it takes to have our lanterns lit by the glory of God. These are days of preparation — days of removing anything and everything that hinders our being vessels who display His glory.

Recently, the Lord gave a friend of mine a prophetic invitation for the Church to draw close to Him and become bright and shining lights to this darkening world.
“Tell My people to come into My presence and sit at My feet. The times you are in are difficult. So many are choosing to live in the world, or would like to live with one foot in the world and the other following Me. I need My people to be bright, shining lights in this dark world — holy people who others will see are different. In this time, I am asking you to sit with Me, quietly; allow Me to search your heart and show you the things in your heart that are holding you back from complete surrender to Me. Come to Me with a repentant heart; allow Me to do a spiritual work within you. I have many things awaiting you, but first you must seek freedom from the things of this world that are holding you back. I am asking My people to stand firm, to stand up for My ways in this ever-changing world. Seek My face, seek Me, pray unceasingly, and love Me by loving those I send to you. Rejoice My people, rejoice! I love you and have more for you than you can ever imagine. Draw close to Me and I will draw close to you.”

Lord, we choose this day to draw close to You and sit at Your feet. We invite You to examine our hearts and show us anything we have or desire that is holding us back from being completely Yours. Set us free so that as we seek Your face, Your glory will be able to rise upon us and make us bright and shining lights who pierce the darkness of these days and display the awesome glory of our God. Amen.

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