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SuperPower

23 Apr

As I read 2 Samuel 1, I was humbled and deeply moved by the reaction David had when he received the news that his best friend that loved him dearly died and but even more so, that his reaction included hearing the news that Saul, his enemy, had died.

I was struck with what it means to love God above all else. David mourned Saul and Jonathon equally. Jonathon loved David purely, but Saul wanted to kill him! If Saul hadn’t forced David into running and hiding, always having to be one step ahead, we wouldn’t have half of the Psalms. The Psalms that David wrote during that time show the condition of his broken heart over the betrayal and persecution.

The incomprehensible love that even in that place of sorrow, of being hated and hunted; David still refused to hate in return and referred to Saul constantly as God’s anointed one. David cherished Saul’s life because of it. He saw beyond how Saul hated him and loved him through his love of God, and because of God.

Pure and simple.

Jesus also spoke of this: Matthew 5:44 says “But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. “

When Jesus died and left us: He left us with a gift. Like all gifts from God, we are to share them!  Equally. (those that love us and those that hate us).

“But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my WITNESSES, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”” Acts of the Apostles 1:8 NLT

The power we have been given by the Holy Spirit in us: (GALATIANS 5:22 AMP)

“But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us]

  • is love [unselfish concern for others],
  • joy,
  • [inner] peace,
  • patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting],
  • kindness,
  • goodness,
  • faithfulness,”

This world we have walked in, with way too much information poured into us, leads us far away from this the truth that we have POWER given to us. We are no longer like the world but we have to be a witness to the power given; With the power we have been given.

People will betray us, hurt us, abandon us, lie about us,fire us,gossip about us;  People will hate us, be rude to us, not include us.  This is not because of us and David shows us this with his unwavering love for his enemy. Saul was anointed but acted on his own so much of the time. He didn’t acknowledge nor was he lead by God, but God loved him. David never forgot this.

Remember who you are and who you belong to and remember that God created every living being. He loves because He is love. (He hates too but that is not the power He gave us).

Remember also, who wants to take your power. Remember who God asked you to remember, His sheep. Witness in action, in words, in peace, in calmness and in love. Mercy shared because we received so much, and deserved none of it.

This is the journey of growing in understanding. As we grow we realize it becomes not about us at all, rather, all about God. All about Him. Amen.

“But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.”Galatians 5:22-23 TPT

 

 

 

 

 

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The Human Condition

21 Apr

There are times that I sit in total awe of God and His power, trusting fully in Him, humbled, peaceful, knowing He is in charge.  There are also times that I wonder at His [perfect] wisdom in giving us free will, knowing that we would spend our entire relationship with Him in battle over it. Our struggle to be close to Him will be daily working to overcome our human condition and free will.

As we seek to stay in obedience, we will struggle with our thoughts, our emotions, our pride, our ego, our fears , and all of our sin nature. So much to overcome! But, He shows us how simple it really is, when we are humbled, in awe of Him.

We will walk a constant battle between trying to be mini-Gods, thinking we are part of God and the humbling truth that we are merely His creation, meant to submit and walk the path He planned for us, for His Glory and not just for our good but the good of His chosen people.

God shows us in 1 Samuel 25 the perfect example of the human condition with the story of David, Nabel and Abigail.

Nabel  in his time of excess, refused and mocked David and his army for asking for provisions. This is the world and the people we come across every day. This is the one that is rude or selfish, the one that hurts, harms, or attacks us. This is the consequences of our own choices or the consequences from other’s free will; the one that lies about us, or simply cuts us off in traffic.

David, the man after God’s heart, shows his heart also had the human condition. He reacted with “righteous”, justifiable anger with plans to kill Nabel and his family.  David was going to make things right, on his own terms.

Abigail (Nabel’s wife) upon hearing of her husband’s foolish arrogance, responds immediately with wisdom. She showed strength in her response. Her faith becomes obvious as she plans to face head on, the leader of an army that plans to kill her and her family.

She sends ahead of her the provisions and gifts David had requested of Nabel.  As she faces her enemy, she shows great courage and humility, taking the full blame for Nabel’s foolishness and begs for mercy. She acknowledges righteousness and God and that David is surely a man that also knows and loves God.

Nabel displays the selfish, cruel world we live in. David showed our weakness in his human struggles with his temper and emotional reaction. Was it justified and righteous? David thought so in that moment. The world would probably agree. Abigail shows the humility and strength that comes from trusting in God’s righteousness.

Abigail’s obedience and truth convicted David. He realized his folly; pride had caused him to stumble and take matters into his own hands. He reacted to the rejection and who would argue? He was justified by human standards, but God intervened. Abigail knew the greatness of God and faced her enemy with the courage of faith, humility and strength.  The call to retaliate was an emotional reaction that was all David’s, not God’s, plan. Abigail’s obedience and humility in turn humbled David and softened his response. He realized his own foolishness.

When we walk with God, no matter how closely, we must remain aware of our human condition to take matters into our own hands. We must remind ourselves constantly to humble ourselves, to seek God’s plan for each day.

In adversity, when we have our emotional reactions,no matter how obvious right and wrong are, we absolutely need to humble ourselves, stand before Him and seek His will. We can’t be mini-God’s, acting on our own, no matter how justifiable we or the world, thinks we are.

All too often I put on God’s shoes ,all too often I react and respond from my own limited human condition.
Learning to submit all matters to His hands before I take them into my own hands is a learning process and a building, maturing faith. Seeing all people and circumstances including the enemy through God’s eyes, diminishes our reactions and reminds us not of how small we are, but how big He is.

We are not God and we are certainly not God-less.

From Redpath “If you begin with God, your enemies grow small. If you begin with the enemy, you many never reach God. “

Father help me seek your ways long before I think or speak from my human condition, remembering in humility, that my ways are not your ways, and Your way is always good, always right. Help me to be like your humble servant Abigail with righteous response to all circumstances

Amen

33 “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. 34 Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” Matthew 6:33

Get A Grip

14 Apr

Emotions! Yikes, they are so big it seems.
It is true that God created us emotional so yes, emotions are good. Sharing our heart, our feelings with a spouse, a child a friend, is a beautiful sharing of emotion. It is also true that Jesus displayed emotion; Jesus wept, Jesus got angry and the old testament tells us that so does God.  He knows exactly what it feels like to be human (Hebrew 4:15) so we can know since we are emotional that God created this in us. We can also know that emotions are valuable and important.

I am going to clarify this as well. I do not consider love to be an emotion. I consider it to be an action. A verb.

My Aunt didn’t speak of emotions. If I was struggling with an emotion, she would hand me a broom and tell me “there was nothing going on in my head that a broom couldn’t fix.”  It meant, take a minute, pause, focus on something. Take a break from your emotions.  Get a grip.

Here is the problem, we seek to fix our emotion long before we seek wisdom. I think we as a society, have made an idol of our emotion.  Not having control of our emotion has led to divide and divorce of many a relationship, the resulting collateral damage of emotions being in charge and not God’s plan for our emotion; It is the Cane in us, right before he murdered his brother.
Genesis 4: 4b-7 The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering,but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

I don’t know exactly when things changed but somewhere in the 60’s or so, we gave emotion an elevated status. It became important to know how you feel, to process how you feel, to talk about how you feel and to find a solution to how you feel.

It became more about how you feel than doing what was right or logical.  As time went by and the more we focused on our emotion, the less we were willing to process the hard emotions and wanted to only have the good emotions. “Make yourself happy”.  Only God can give us the fulfillment inside that we need; Fill the whole that is there.  My observation lately is that emotions have replaced logic, manners, morals and acceptance.

As I read Proverbs, it becomes glaringly obvious that only fools give their emotion life. We absolutely must keep them under control. Or, they control us. James reminds us that we are not God and we are not Jesus.  1:19-20: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

This isn’t saying we can’t feel our feelings. God promises to be near to us when are angry, when we hurt, when we are broken hearted. He wants you to bring it to Him, He can take it. He promises to draw near to us, when we draw near to Him. There were no limits on this. Draw near to Him, come to Him, with us as we are; the hot mess.  What this does mean however, is we don’t give life to our feelings. We submit them to God. He brings us peace in the midst of our deflated ego, our anger, our sorrow and our offense.

I have studied this scripture for months and it truly is about letting God have all of it. True submission.

James 4: 7-8

  1. So humble yourselves (meaning get over yourself, stop giving so much value to how you feel and know you need Him to help you) before God.
  2. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (do not act on your emotion, but talk it out with God! Give it to God, not Satan)  
  3. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. (He will breathe peace into you, He will bring you comfort and healing that lasts!)
  4. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (The world will totally back you when someone has wronged you, heck you can lie, cheat, have affairs and still have friends! Who cares! Be happy!)

The truth is, we want peace and comfort and Christ always refreshes us, always. He brings us peace even in the worst of our circumstances, when we submit all the pieces of our brokenness before Him.  He may not fix the problem but he breathes peace into the depths of our soul.

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25

In the end, it is Satan that is in the chaos and drama. He is the one that grabs hold of our fears, our sorrows, or anger if we don’t submit them to God. He grabs them and multiplies them, he escalates, devalues and shakes everything up. He exhausts us.

This world has no care for your eternity, your peace, your soul. We can’t trust anyone but God to never hurt us, never let us down, just as we can’t even trust ourselves to be that perfect. Only God is.

We do however, get to choose whether our emotions become tools for the Holy Spirit to use or Satan to use. Christ will use them to bless other’s and give Glory to God.  Satan will use our emotions to judge, argue, hurt, control, distract, disrupt, derail and discourage.

One is life, one is death.

When we find our hope, our confidence and our peace in Christ, we can rest assured that God fights our battles, He draws near to us, He comforts us, He protects us, He provides for us and He makes our path straight.

When we stop idolizing our emotions, thinking they need a shrine, a platform and voice, the Holy Spirit works in us and the byproduct is peace, and we become the peace makers.

Which is exactly who we are called to be; His, for His Glory!

Philippians 4:6-9 NLT
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Proverbs 17:28 ESV Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
    when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 19:11 NLT
Sensible people control their temper;
    they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.

 

Harbor

5 Apr

No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

I am sitting in meditation after my morning readings. I am completely blown away that God still even wants us. These Israelites are so evil. As I walk through Judges, it consists of these cycles of breakthrough, strength and redemptive faith, restoring what was promised only to fall away to sin and worship other God’s again. It cycles over and over. God never wearies, and we never stop messing up!

As I look at my own life, the choices I have made, and will continue to make; the times I have been so devoted to seeking truth and wisdom, rather than thinking I had the answers, to the times that even within minutes my mind (my heart) betrays me.
Isaiah 6 starts out with Isaiah standing in the presence of God himself. He is overwhelmed with his own dark heart,

5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5

God doesn’t just hear what we say outloud, he is aware of your heart and intentions even before your words are ever spoken, even if you never speak a word.

4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD. Psalm 139:4

 

Our hearts are full of corners and closets. Like Isaiah, we will stand before the King one day. What is in our hearts will be revealed to us for all that it is. Sometimes I get a glimpse, when I am feeling close to God, when I feel I am being obedient, I get that glimpse of the dark that still hides in every corner. This is why we need our precious Jesus. These things are not a surprise to God.

45 People are known in this same way. Out of the virtue stored in their hearts, good and upright people will produce good fruit. But out of the evil hidden in their hearts, evil ones will produce what is evil. For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words. Luke 6:45 (TPT)

We can’t fool God. He knows if we are being lead by right or wrong motives; jealousy, encouragement, judgement, love or hate, lies or truth, peace or war. He sees it all.

He knows before we say a word if we intend to honor, respect, guide, or build others up and He knows when our heart wants to harm, derail, disrespect, undermine or hurt others. Even if our words are unspoken, even if we never act on these things.

“Harbor in your heart” means you keep it safe within your heart. What do you shelter in the corners? He tells us to ask Him to show us:

Psalm 19:14  (TPT)
14 So may the words of my mouth, my meditation-thoughts,
and every movement of my heart be always pure and pleasing,
acceptable before your eyes,
my only Redeemer, my Protector-God.

The promise is given to us, from Him, Ask and you shall receive: Matthew 7:7. We can ask for God to show us everything that lies in our hearts and to help us remove it. But I warn you, it is not always pleasant, but always, so very worth it, so redemptive, so healing.

Christ takes away the sins power to grow and fester inside of us.  Like with Isaiah We will never have to fight this battle alone. We just have to spend time before Him, honest with ourselves that He already knows every single thought dwelling in our hearts. Standing before Him with complete willingness to change and be transformed. Humility like that is hard! Because from that request comes truth and it can be painful as He pulls the rooted weeds from deep inside of you.

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”

Isaiah 6:6-7

Mercy Seat foretold

2 Apr

Way too good to not share!

When Mary looked into the tomb she saw the two angels that sat at the head and the foot of the place where Christ had laid.

She had no idea they were angels, as her grief was great.  She moved on quickly – but don’t miss it!

In that tomb – the name for that place – that slab was hilasterion- Septuagint “mercy seat” which is translated from Hebrew. Kapporeth is the name of the mercy seat inside the Ark of the covenant.

The English phrase mercy seat is a translation of the Hebrew kapporeth (in the Masoretic text) and Greek ἱλαστήριον (hilasterion; in the Septuagint) by William Tyndale, influenced by the German word Gnadenstuhl as in the Luther Bible; Gnadenstuhl, literally meaning seat of grace.

God foretold the death and resurrection of Christ to Moses.

Under the ark of the covenant was the law, the rod and staff with new life and manna – the bread of life.

“He made two cherubim from hammered gold and placed them on the two ends of the atonement cover. He molded the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. The cherubim faced each other and looked down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they protected it.”

Exodus 37:7-9 NLT

Imagine Easter

31 Mar

“It is Finished”.

Look up at the Cross, look at Him, The One that has suffered unimaginable pain. Hold the crown of thorns in your hands and imagine them pressed into your brow, your scalp. Imagine nails being forced through your palms, through your feet! You feel the need to push yourself up so your hands, nailed outstretched don’t feel the full brunt of your upper weight, but your feet can’t move without searing pain. Your body is bruised and ripped from the beatings.The wind and the sun beating down on you as people yell up with words of hate.

He said He holds all the power to stop it , yet He finished it. He doesn’t just die quietly, but rather He cries out, begging God on behalf of His tormentors. “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they are doing”.

Imagine looking up at your son on that cross. Longing to stop this, longing for him to die to end his suffering. Your heart stops beating for a moment.

Imagine sitting in a room with all that knew him, trying to make sense of all that just ceased in such a horrific way.

So unsure of what you were waiting for, what was to come next. The questions creeping up, along with fear and mourning. What next? Did it all just end? He told us what would happen but nothing is happening yet, will it? Was it real?

The women come running to tell you that the tomb is empty? Empty? How can that be? What’s going on?

Imagine seeing this room and looking into these hearts with compassion at their weakness. Suddenly! He is there with you. Your fears gone in an instant. Gone. He has returned. Overwhelming Joy fills your heart as the tangible exists, the relief, the love, the intensity of all your fears and anxious thoughts subside, all that worry for nothing.

Easter week from The Last Supper until Christ leaves and the Holy Spirit enters their hearts, is such a powerful story of love, promise, redemption and hope.

He rose on that third day. For you. He suffered all that agony for you. He loves you with a love that is not found within a human heart. A love so pure, and sacrificial.

There is not one creation that wasn’t lovingly created by God himself.

He didn’t just watch or allow His son to die,He arranged and made it happen. Because He loves you. He loves even those that will never love Him in return.

Who can define that kind of Love? Love that doesn’t begin and love that never ends.

All the religions that respect Jesus as a teacher, forget that Jesus said He would do all this ahead of time and that He is the only way to Heaven. He either is exactly that, the son of God, our redeemer, or -He was a liar. Nothing less.

Who would do that for you? Who would you do that for?

You, are accepted, restored, pursued and bought by the blood of this Easter story, our Lord and Savior

No matter what your story has been. Amen

Betrayed

29 Mar

“For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born. “ Mark 14:21 NLT

Wow! This jumped off the page from my devotional.
This passage is one small one from a very powerful chapter. The Last Supper. I have thought about this all day.  I discussed this with a couple of wise friends.
Easter is such a powerful, redemptive, hope-filled, thoughtful time. What better time is there to discuss the importance of salvation? I am going to do my best to share my thoughts on this during this Holy Maunday Thursday

My first thought is this: Our lives are mapped out long before we are born. God creates each of us. Judas was created, for his purpose. His purpose was to betray Our Lord.

It is so hard for me to think that some people are not called. Some people just live in this world and never go to heaven. We want to think that everyone does. It’s painful to really sit and think there was a disciple bound for the Lake of Fire for all eternity.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and it’s gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
In Luke 13:24, he said “ Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.

My second observation is this: Jesus loved Judas. He knew he would betray him and loved him, his enemy, as the perfect example for us.

It isn’t enough to just say it,  you must love the Lord with all your heart and also, you must love your neighbor as yourself.

This includes the Judas in your life. Yes, even your Judas.  Jesus loved Mary and he loved Judas. There is just no other word’s to say about that.

In my wish to see all things be loving and wonderful  and everyone to be blessed and know Jesus, even those that have harmed me; In my heart that is more jaded, more cautious, (I am still me under it all), this heart absolutely loves people and breaks to think of anyone going to hell.

I hope there is a time for all before that time, in that time where every knee will bow,that maybe there is an opportunity for redemption.  Judas knew who Jesus was and I pray he repented before he took his life.

If not, then his whole  purpose was to know Jesus, to betray him, but never to be with Him in heaven. This breaks my heart, even as I trust God with wisdom and knowledge and compassion I can’t begin to know.

Lord, let me never forget and always remember, You loved me before I ever repented. You loved your enemies and those that would betray you. You are the lover of our souls Lord, help us to love our Judas’ as much as we love our Mary’s.  Amen.