Archive | November, 2015

Submission 

29 Nov

Dying to self. What does that really mean? Death of dreams? Death of drive? Death of passion? 

Maybe. 

God has really put this on my heart lately. It’s been a process of prayer, scripture, sermon, argument and discussions for about the past 2 months or more. 

Here is the truth. God wants your undivided attention and worship. This is why we refer to Him as jealous. 

Why? 

With undivided attention, you stay connected and by being connected you hear Him, He moves in you, He becomes louder and stronger than your own voice and even more so, -satans voice. 

If you are filling your ears with the TV and radio, if your eyes are flipping through your phone or computer, who’s voice is it that you truly hear? How can it be His if you aren’t quieting your mind, dying to self and all the noise of today? Idols of political ego, self righteous opinions, outrage over what you see and hear. All anger in us is ego driven. Only God has righteous anger. We have reaction or  emotion that is attached to ego. 

As I drove past the prison for the sexual predators/offenders, the worst of the worst that will never see the light of day again, I made the comment that we should bomb it. My skin crawled. David convicted me be pointing out that it is not holy to speak that, I should pray instead. Truth! Judgement isn’t mine to make- prayer is my only true response that is righteous. 

 Even when we are doing what we think is right and feel we are aligned with what God would “approve” of- if we aren’t quietly prayerful, silent enough to hear him, dying to our own reactions to atrocity and evil around us, we absolutely can not know God unless we submit to Him. Only the fool gives his opinion- only the fool agitates and divides. If you want to know what God thinks, you must be willing to not process through your own opinions. 

Is this possible? Ha! It is quite the tall order!

In the rare times I have been still enough, quiet enough, long enough to hear Him, there is a peace, a knowing that is so different, so humble and calming in its truth.  It is a quiet submission that leaves you stronger without words or action. 

Dying to self is Daniel in the lion pit, dying to self is the other 3 thrown into the furnace, they all knew beforehand, the outcome. It is that quiet strength we gain from knowing Him and truly fearing Him. Trusting in His perfect plan and loving  grace and mercy.  This is not obedience, this is what fear of the Lord means. Faith. 

God goes before us. Not the other way around. 

Dreams, gifts, blessings, misfortunes and loss. Nothing is permanent. Only God. There is great purpose for our gifts and our losses. But only because of Him. By Him, for Him. 

Obedience doesn’t save us.

Grace and merciful Love saved us and we have to believe in that and trust in that. It is only from that truth that we can die to ourselves and let Him guide us. 

Imagine the waters you could walk on with Daniels faith or faith like Paul or Peter or John. 

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James‬ ‭1:20NIV‬‬

“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-8‬ ‭NIV

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What Hate Cannot Do

16 Nov

As a human, I have many responses to the violence and the senseless loss of life inflicted by terrorists. I refuse to name their cause. I prefer to focus on the result. It is atrocity, it is darkness.

As a Christian, I cannot forget that they have heartbeats. They are our enemies, to be sure. They are followers of a dark and terrifying belief. But! Jesus spoke to us about this. Prophets spoke to us about this. We have instruction on how to respond to such events. Confidently, forgiving them, and sharing the hope that is Christ.

We are the light of the world (Matthew 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.) Without our light, there is only darkness. Shine that light. This is not the time to judge, this is the time to be the beacon of hope, that peace in trial. This broken world needs it so desperately.

First. remember who you are, in Him. 1 John 4-6 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Second: Pray for them! Forgiveness is essential in our Christian walk. Biblically we are to pray for our enemies. It is hard to do that sometimes. So here is how we can. Take Matthew 5:44 for example:
“Father, You instruct us to love our enemies. Help us to do this. Please bless those that curse us. Teach us to do good to those that hate us. We pray for those that spitefully use us and persecute us. This is in your Holy Name we pray. Amen.
Matthew 5:44(NKJV)44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[a]

These are just a few examples to pray from:
Luke 6:27 (NKJV)Love Your Enemies 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Acts 7:60(NKJV)60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Luke 10:27
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Last: Be not afraid! Put on the Armor of God! Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

When I was under trial and struggling with my faith, I cried out to in desperate prayer. In the morning He brought this scripture to me by way of a follower, Debbie Lees. She didn’t know why but she said He put it on her heart to send this to me.

Isaiah 54:8-17 NIV
8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment,but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.9 “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a]your foundations with lapis lazuli.12 I will make your battlements of rubies,your gates of sparkling jewels,and all your walls of precious stones.13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,and great will be their peace.14 In righteousness you will be established:Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear.Terror will be far removed;it will not come near you.15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith, who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work.And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,and this is their vindication from me,”declares the Lord.

He is there with us. Do not lose sight of the Hope, the Power and the Promise that is in Him.
Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Romans 15:13(NKJV)13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
Hebrews 13:8(NKJV)8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Mark 5:36 (NIV)36 Overhearing[a] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe
Joshua 1:9(NKJV)9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
John 14:27(NKJV)27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NKJV)8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (MSG)7-12 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!

Brotherly Love

4 Nov

Let love for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]” Hebrews 13:1 AMP

What happens when a room full of God-loving, Spirit-filled friends begin to worship and pray together?

They begin to make waves. Change begins to take place. Just when they could do great things, when the seeds begin to grow, Satan sets his sights on doing all he can to stop this.

He hunts and seeks out the weakness in each of these people. Friendships will begin to be tested. Strong followers will become distracted. Where the weakness is, there will be satan. My weakness was weariness in struggle. My idol is security.

Beautiful friendships, built on fellowship, support and love, with Christ at the center, began to unravel. Judgement of one another began, eye rolling, gossip, arrogant judgement of those deemed not as “righteous” as them. Judgement turned to unforgiveness and rejection; Division took place.

Our whole world is built on the Grace and Mercy of Christ towards us, yet we are unwilling to extend that to those we worshipped with. Satan has had a field day.

We either ask God to remove the evil that lies there or we look outside and see the flaws that exist within us all, and close the door. The world will tell us that some people are “only in our journey for a season”, But GOD, in his most beautiful words, scripture, will say, leave no one behind.

Isolation is a tool of the devil. We are told to be there for one another, to protect each other from our weaknesses. Forgiveness, love and forbearance are attributes of God. We are called to be that for our brothers and sisters.

The bible is very specific about division within the body; It is most definitely not of God. Jesus spoke very clearly about forgiveness and judgement. Acts, and Paul’s letters to all churches include these instructions.

We absolutely do not know what is in a man’s heart. Only the Father knows. You do not know what is God’s wisdom, only the Father knows.

We are called to [and I have] examine our own hearts, and asked God to expose our own sin. God blesses us with freedom and peace in our painful refining. We need refining at all times, so we can be the light that we are called to be. To truly walk our purpose in this world.

I prayerfully and purposefully have asked for Him to reveal to me all that is in my heart that is not truth, that is not of Him. I have asked for His wisdom to be evident.

This is the truth He has shown me: Through prayer, through study, through sermon, and conversation.

Satan is never going to be stronger than we allow him to be. It all comes down to ONE truth, ONE way, ONE redeemer. Put your faith back in Him and not in ourselves. His words, His promise, His desires for our lives, His provision, strength and consistency.

We must be there for one another in the days that are coming. We MUST stop judging the saved and start supporting one another. Always.

We all stumble and let one another down. Nothing hurtful towards those we truly care for is ever intended to harm, otherwise that would be true of every one of us, of our intentions.

We all have different roles, different gifts, unique journeys meant to be learned from, cultivating a deeper relationship with Christ. We all have a purpose here, the outcome of walking our purpose is to be light-bearers to this world. The WHOLE world.

We are not the sifters of the heart. Only the Father can do that. Mustard seeds are very difficult to compare to mountains.

Our painful times, our testing times in the desert, are meant to deepen the faith in our hearts, so when that day comes, that evil stands before us we can, with confidence, claim victory through Him that gives us strength.

Our faith can move mountains. Our redeemer is amazing.

“Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.” Psalms 42:7 NKJV

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:11-15 NIV

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

“[My] brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing the Law and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law but a censor and judge [of it].One only is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy [the One Who has the absolute power of life and death]. [But you] who are you that [you presume to] pass judgment on your neighbor?” James 4:11-12 AMP

“Where there is strife, there is pride,but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10 NIV

“he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5 NIV

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2

Seeing God Through Love “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. ” 1 John 4:12