13 November 2016

Loving IS Living in the Light.

“If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.” ~1 John‬ ‭2:9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬
How loving am I to other believers? Even (and especially!) those who cherish doctrines distinct from what I personally believe? Whether it's gifts of the spirit, eschatology, or other tenets or precepts, do I draw lines and insist on agreement, or do I relentlessly choose for the love of God pour through me without restraint?

Father God, show me the places in my own heart where I need to let go of judgement. Show me how to evict it, and the path to move forward, walking in forgiveness toward all flesh. I thank you for the consistent support you provide for me directly and through the body of Christ, for the community I belong to both in heaven and on earth. Thank you for your eagerness to connect with me, and make yourself known. Pull all the stops out, Father, and show me how to move through this life motivated and empowered by your love, walking more and more in alignment with your will and heart for each and all. No fear, no condemnation, no reserve against what you ask me to do. Bless this world, bless my community, bless my church communities, bless my family, and bless me, in Jesus' name, amen.

12 November 2016

It's time to make some NOISE!

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” ~Psalms‬ ‭95:1-2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
I love how the psalmist talks about really making NOISE.

This God of ours is not a staid old stoic, requiring silent reverence. (Although reverence can also be silent.) The reality of our God's nature draws boisterous praise from the psalmist. Why not from us?

Papa God, let your people be released to make as much noise over your goodness and the victory of Jesus as they do at the winning touchdown in a championship football game. Let us use our voices to declare the joy of your reality, changing things around us forever. In Jesus' name, amen!

God Works with Us

"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen." ~Mark 16:20 KJV
Folks. Even the King James Version, translated to ensure uninterrupted fealty to King James and the Church of England, teaches that God partners with his people to accomplish his work!

Let's step up to the invitation Jesus offers, literally calling to us every moment of every day, longing to work intimately with us in the harvest of souls that he's desperate to bring into his garners.

Papa God, show us all how to come "farther up and farther in" to the riches of your grace that you are pleading with us to accept so we can be transformed, and we can transform the world more and more into the image of God. Lead us in this miraculous work, teach us how to open our hearts to you more and more so our hearts can be more and more open to those around us. Thank you for the incredible, amazing way that our relationship with others so mirrors our relationship with you, empowering us in ways we could never have imagined. I rejoice in you always, and can't even begin to put into words how amazed and wonder-filled I am at the thought of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and everything that it means to me. Thank you, Papa! Thank you!!!! In Jesus' lovely and precious name, amen.

29 October 2016

On Waiting

“Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.”

Hebrews 6:15 NLT


wait on less commonly  wait upon

  • 1
    a
      :  to attend as a servant
    b  :  to supply the wants of :  serve
  • 2
    :
      to make a formal call on
  • 3
    :
      to wait for

(From http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wait)


Waiting on the Lord is not a passive thing. Abraham didn't sit in his house all those years, wondering when God would get with the program. Yes, waiting on the Lord often involves not doing something; but it ALWAYS involves being actively engaged in a godly life, seeking out the will of God and doing it.


And so, today I'm asking myself: how can I better wait upon the Lord as I look forward to his promises being fulfilled in my life?


Father, thank you for the illuminating power of study--for the way digging into the meanings of words empowers my understanding and my life. Help me hear you more clearly, obey you more faithfully, and praise you with more joy and rejoicing every day. Thank you for filing my life with such blessing, and reach me to own my heart and mind more and more to your goodness and your love, in Jesus' name. Amen.

25 October 2016

Always, Never, and ALL

S: “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will NEVER reject them.”

~John 6:35, 37 NLT


O: Jesus has promised that he will not only provide for our needs when we come to him, but that he will NEVER reject those who come to him.


NEVER.


And who are those the Father has given to Jesus? 


“God has put ALL things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over ALL things for the benefit of the church.”

~Ephesians 1:22 NLT


A: I believe the Father gave Jesus everything he redeemed. All creation. That includes all flesh. Whether or not we seek Jesus is up to each of us. But we have the word of God that he will not reject us when we do. Not ever.


So if you feel like God has rejected you, KNOW THIS: that is a lie from hell. A lie designed to keep you captive, separated from the God who paid the ultimate price so he COULD accept you ALWAYS, so he could cover your sin and imperfection with mercy and charity, and be close to you as soon as you turn to him with a repentant heart.


God's word is truth.


And one of the most hopeful, encouraging things I've ever realized is that if I don't see God's promises coming true in my life, God is not the problem. It's me. Hallelujah! 


I can't change the word of God, but I CAN change me! I can learn of him and listen to his words, I can change the way I think, change what I believe as I learn more about Jesus, and watch the promises unfold like flowers after a long winter. Because my God does not lie. I can trust him. Always.


Papa God, thank you for being constant and faithful. Thank you for the blood of Jesus that bought me, not to enslave me, as men who buy human lives intend, but in order to set me free. Bless all flesh, Father, and show me how to pray so I can better partner with you in the incredible work you are working to set all flesh free, in my home, my church, my community and my world, in Jesus' name, amen.

12 October 2016

A Time of Exceeding

We are seeds; embryonic versions of what God plans for us to become.

We carry within us seeds. Idea seeds. Emotion seeds. Word seeds. Action seeds.

The work of the seed looks like the destruction of the seed. It IS the destruction of the seed.

The finished work of a seed looks NOTHING like the seed. It smells nothing like the seed. It feels nothing like the seed. It tastes nothing like the seed. The seed is the promise of the finished work. It is only potential.

Just looking at a seed, we can't always know what it is. Or we can THINK we know, because we've seen something very similar before. Or we can think we know a seed is bad because we watched someone else try to plant and raise a good seed without the Master Gardener. But unless we have seen that seed properly planted, nurtured, and then bearing seed from itself, we must hear the word of God that tells us what kind of seed we have discovered, hidden deep in our spirits.

This is a time to listen to the word of God that tells us what these seeds are.

And we have to let go of the seeds. We have to let them be buried, however deep the Master Gardener directs. We have to believe, while we cannot see, that the seed is swelling and breaking open and beginning to unfold. That a tiny tap root is reaching deeper down into the soil than we think is necessary, while we eagerly await the first tiny green bump to push through the surface. And while we wait, we need to keep the planting watered and free of weeds. And once those cotyledons appear, we have to watch over the tiny seedling, and let the loving faith community God has ready for each of us to help guard and provide for the growth of that fragile yet explosively growing new thing within us.

This is a time of exceeding. Do you hear it? Ex-seed-ing. Of going beyond the seeds--the seeds we are so comfortable with. The seeds that comfort us; because it's easier to adore the promise of the seed than create the conditions for that promise to spring to life. The seeds that we treasure, but aren't willing to let go of and plant them. Or the seeds that we hide, afraid of what the planting and care might cost us.


And all the while, God speaks to us:
This, this is an apple seed, round and shining with the promise of fruit to feed nations.
This, this is an orchid seed, so tiny you can hardly see it, but the beauty and fragrance of this flower will draw the lonely into My arms.
This, this is a ministry seed, sharp and black, but that will rise from the earth and bloom in the softest hues to comfort and gladden every heart that sees it.
This, this is a friendship seed to bridge the chasm surrounding a lost and broken soul.
This, this is a love seed that will bind you to Me, forever and always.
This, this is a healing seed that will make the amputee whole again.
This, this is a service seed.
This, this is an apostolic seed.
This, this is a pastoral seed.
This, this is an evangelical seed.
This, this is a teaching seed.
This, this is a charity seed.
This, this is a dunamis seed.
This is a time for seeds to release what they hold, to release the potential and the process that will become a finished work for the glory of God.

(Sparked by a podcast of a sermon by Justin Paul Abraham. Boy, does he challenge me . . . )

08 October 2016

I Trust Him

“Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.”
~Isaiah 26:4 NKJV

A year ago this weekend, I had one of the most powerful revelatory experiences I have ever had. God gave me very clear instruction, and sent me dreams and understanding to equip and direct me.

As I waited for sleep to come last night, I looked back over the year and examined how I had tried, and believed I had failed, to follow that very simple, two-word injunction: "Get strong".

But almost as soon as I turned my thoughts that way, I felt Jesus gently correcting me. Yes, I definitely had not achieved what *I* saw as the primary purpose of those words. I'm not running a 30k tomorrow. I don't weigh sixty pounds less than I did at this time last year. He knows that. But he showed me the many ways I have grown significantly stronger, and I was surprised to see just what a difference there is between last year and now.

A year ago, I stepped out in my own wisdom to retake my physical health. I also stepped out, relying as fully as I knew how on my Lord, to receive and learn whatever he had in store for me. I've learned so much from both experiences, and with great mercy the Lord of Heaven and Earth has drawn and taught and guided me as much as I have been willing to hear and follow. Including instructions for how to begin, in this moment and circumstance in my life, to receive the physical healing and strength he has waiting for me.

Father God, I will trust you, for you truly are my everlasting strength. Thank you for all you have shown me, all you have taught me, and all you offer in the future. Watch over me and my family and loved ones. Let me be the physical manifestation of your love on the earth, the visible evidence of your Word. Show me how to receive your spirit in more depth and consistency, so the outflow of my life will be deeply nourishing, blessing everyone who comes across my path. Thank you for everything, God. I love you so much. In Jesus' name, amen.

04 October 2016

Acceptable to God, or Acceptable to the Flesh?

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Romans 12:1-2 NLT


1) Often, what we find acceptable is not what God finds acceptable; and what God finds acceptable is NOT what we have been taught to think of as acceptable. 


2) If we want transformation, we MUST allow God to change the way we think. (Hint: that includes how we define "acceptable"!)


3) If we recognize that what we think of as acceptable (along with all our other thinking) needs be to available for God to redefine, and we are pliable in His hands as He changes our thinking, letting Him transform us, we will KNOW His will for us in our lives. Which includes hearing Him well.


Papa God, I have loved this passage for a long time, and know it almost by heart. But this lesson never occurred to me until today. What an awesome connection, and what a powerful lesson! Thank you for your promises, thank you for your faithfulness, thank you for the way you never, EVER stop working with us, calling to us, teaching and blessing us. Thank you for this key, and for all of the things you have spoken to me lately, in so much love. I love you, Papa. In Jesus' name, amen.


11 September 2016

Some Things Need to Burn

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said to his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire? ” “Yes, of course, Your Majesty,” they replied to the king. He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.””
Daniel 3:24-25 HCSB

The only thing consumed by the fire were the bonds Nebuchadnezzar's soldiers had used to tie these three men if God. 

Holy Spirit fire is the same way. It utterly consumes everything that binds us, every device of the enemy.

How close to the fire am I willing to go? All the way in? Or just close enough to get nice and comfortably warm? Will I let it consume everything that is not part of God's plan for my life, or will I protect my idols to the point of separating myself from God?

Good morning, Father. Thank you so much for this challenge today. Thank you for the continued opportunity to draw closer and closer to you, to know you better and to love you more. Let your word speak to your people clearly, and draw them more and more into you, in Jesus' name, amen.

25 August 2016

Sincere Imitation

"Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.” ~III John 1:11 NKJV

Imitation. That's where it starts.

So far, today has been a day that requires a tremendous amount of metacognition (thinking about thinking) in order to throw off chains the enemy has been throwing my way. And God has given me another tool in my kit to overcome on days like this: imitation. If what I should do doesn't flow naturally from my heart, I can start with sincere imitation, desiring that flew to recommence.

And once I begin with sincere imitation, the fountain within opens up and I'm free to operate in an overflow of love once again.

Thank you, God, for the word. Thank you for the body. Thank you for an innumerable host of examples to follow, and for the way you so insistently pursue me. You know the desires of my heart, that I will always welcome you in, and I love so much the way you continue to work with me in developing what you know I will need in order to receive the love, blessings and joy you have planned for me in the days and years ahead. I will continue pursuing, continue worshipping, continue praising, continue serving, continue in your love always. In Jesus' name, amen.