Sunday, January 8, 2017
Have you ever suddenly awakened in a place to which you had arrived without knowing how? I mean, you weren't asleep, or perhaps you didn't feel like you were, but you didn't remember getting there. You were subconsciously elsewhere or maybe journeying through a routine so muscularly memorized you simply ended up at your destination. I believe many of us are there right now in our faith walks. Present, but not awake.
Somehow, we've gotten caught up in a trap of trite, majoring in the minor, focusing on the futile and scorning the significant. We've lost sight of the fundamentals of redemption, righteousness and worship and as a result have fallen victim to the disruptive distractions designed to dilute our faith walks to mere Sunday morning happenstances and to sedate us to all that is going on around us.
One day, while concerned about the dangers facing them if they returned to Judea, Jesus explained the importance of walking in the light an being awake. He told them, as long as they continued walking in the light, they were not in danger of stumbling. Awakening Lazarus became a priority, not just because he was a friend of Jesus, but because of the power it demonstrated in Jesus' ability to revive and restore our believing.
If you find yourself present, but not awake, seek the light. Jesus is willing and able to come and get you and give you a new, true great awakening. Simply ask.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Often, we get so caught up in obtaining things, that we lose sight of the power to create that lies within us. That same power to create was planted in us by God's own words from the very beginning. By giving us all things, He eliminated the need to obsess over obtaining. Yes, we have everything we need. Our focus needs to be on producing.
Challenge yourself to return to the basics, the "genesis." Ask God where you have been focusing on obtaining when you should be focusing on producing. Perhaps getting what you want--a husband, a wife, a new job, a new house, healing or peace--will only be ignited by your unequivocal ability to produce what God has placed in your heart to invest in the Earth. Find that thing and get on it. You need it. We all need it.
Monday, March 28, 2011
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
He set forward mandates for our lives that all hinge upon our diligence in becoming sons and daughters in relationship who act because our actions reflect who we are. Instead, our lives as believers have been thwarted into a series of performance-based actions to reflect what we measure as hierarchical levels of feigned kingdom status. We are attempting to act to become (and failing because we are using our own power), when we need to be becoming (accepting our rightful inheritance through Jesus Christ and His word) which would automatically result in successful actions.
Don't be deceived. The gift of righteousness is not a license to live any kind of way. Although my mother and father will always be my mother and father no matter what, their is a certain responsibility I have to honor that relationship with the way I live. The same is even more true with our relationship with God. I "do the right thing" not because it solidifies my relationship with the Father, but because I am a daughter of a Father who is pleased when I do.
Prayer: Father, thank you that you have not established a performance-based salvation system. Forgive me Lord for not focusing on being the daughter or son you have called me to be. I am so grateful that your spirit leads me to living the life that is pleasing to you because that is a result of our relationship, not a contingency of it. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Friday, December 17, 2010
12And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
We often take for granted the power and freedom that is ignited by capitalizing on the gift of forgiveness. It is a concept that goes beyond the humanly logical standards of life and is uniquely fashioned for those wanting to optimally experience the essence of a whole, healed and ultimate Christian life.
We know without a doubt that we are to forgive. Everyone knows “seventy times seven times.” So the question isn’t the IF’ness of forgiveness. No, the core issue is how we forgive. What does true forgiveness look like?
I know, I know. I, like you, have subscribed to the tiered forgiveness trap. Let me show you.
Tier One: Back to the Future Forgiveness
I guess I will be able to forgive you one day.
Tier Two: Forget-This-Not Forgiveness
I forgive you, but I won’t be forgetting this.
Tier Three: Fear-filled Forgiveness
I forgive you, but I’ll keep my distance.
Tier Four: Live and Learn Forgiveness
I forgive you, but I don’t completely trust you because now I know what you have the capacity to do.
Tier Five: The God Kind Forgiveness, The Only True
You did what?
Our tiered approach to forgiveness is unfortunately often, (with the exception of some extreme situations) a cop out and, fearfully so, a sad method of self-appeasement. We feel like we’ve done what we were supposed to do, saying, “Oh, I’ve done the best I can” or “I tried” or “I’m not God.” But all we’ve done is lowered the standard of God’s intent to make ourselves feel better. We often forget that Jesus didn’t come so that the facets of our lives as Christians would be easy, but Jesus came so that they could be possible.
We fail for one major reason. We depend on our own minimal power to forgive, which compared to God’s empowerment is nothing more than laughable. The key to forgiveness is to realize that the only way for it to happen is by dependence on God’s power working in and through us to do it.
God’s very love sets the standard for our forgiveness. He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9). He said he would forgive us of wickedness and would REMEMBER our sins NO MORE (Jeremiah 31:34b). Sounds like forgive and forget to me…
And not only that, John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave….” God’s fore-giving (giving restoration PRIOR to offense) sets the framework for how our forgiving (giving restoration AFTER offense) is supposed to look. The foundation of our faith is God’s sacrifice for reconciliation. God’s love gift (Jesus) was given to reconcile us to Him. Our vileness merited the need for forgiveness even prior to the reality of our offense. But His love for us carried the burden of restoring us back to a place of wholeness and completeness and unlimited fellowship with Him, independent of the extremity of our iniquity. Simply put: If we repent, we get the gift.
That’s what His forgiveness looks like. Pure. Without resentment. Forgetting the past. Clean slate. Back to square one. (My Lord!) Just like new. Unabated, unadulterated, unlimited. Complete and unconditioned. Reconciled.
We have a long way to go.
Prayer: Lord forgive me. Forgive me Lord, because I haven’t been able to forgive. Forgive me because sometimes I don’t even want to forgive. And forgive me Lord, because I have been depending on my own power to do something that only you can. Father, I want to unblock the power and freedom and faith and forgiveness that has been hindered by my lack of forgiveness. Teach me everyday to grow in your love and your forgiveness and in faith. Live in me, moment by moment, and I will be sure to give you all the praise. In the matchless name of Jesus, who made forgiveness possible for me. Amen.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. Exodus 4:2
Mr. Larry, a homeless gentleman, approached me last week on the corner of Commerce and 5th asking for help to purchase some food. Since he did not like the food in our immediate vicinity and I was short on time to walk to the restaurant he did like, I decided to further engage in conversation, hoping to decipher if his desire for food was genuine. Holding out two hands filled with pennies, Mr. Larry appealed to me, “You see all these people in suits and ties,” he said. “This is all they give me—a whole bunch of pennies.”
Looking in his big, soiled hands with dirty fingernails, I realized that Mr. Larry truthfully had a whole lot of pennies. “Well Mr. Larry,” I explained, “pennies can become dollars. All you have to do is wrap them up and take them to the bank.” To which he replied, “I don’t have time for that. I don’t want all these pennies. I want some dollars.”
I reached in my purse and gave Mr. Larry a few dollars. So grateful, Mr. Larry pulled out handfuls and handfuls of pennies and asked me to take them off his hands for him. When I refused, he insisted. Mr. Larry gave me more in pennies, than I gave him in dollars. I walked away with a purse weighted down with pennies. He walked away with two dollars.
Oftentimes, we plead with God to give us something we already have. He has set His kingdom on the inside of us. His word does not have to be retrieved from the highest of heights or the deepest of depths, it is already on the inside of us, waiting to be recognized and utilized.
God has already provided us everything we need to get to where we need to be, it just may not be in the form we want it. We ask for a few dollars when we may already be holding a few thousand. What things have God trusted your hands to that you are overlooking for something that looks or feels like you want it?
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
After a long week’s work, she returns home to an empty house. Seeing as how she lives alone, she sees no reason to cook a full course meal even though she knows she should. Instead, she decides to just eat out again. Alone, she enters the restaurant greeted by the hostess and requests, quietly and sadly, a table for one.
One of the most prevailing emotions among singles is the overwhelming, crippling feeling of loneliness. Many singles view being alone as a reflection of worth; others attempt to cover loneliness by assuming over extended schedules and over committed lifestyles. Don’t be deceived, loneliness is not the same as aloneness; one can be lonely even in a crowd. And let’s not get it twisted, aloneness is in no way a bad thing. Loneliness, however, can be a dangerous controlling agent of the enemy.
The enemy utilizes this feeling to make you believe something other than what God says. You’ve heard those voices, “No one wants to be around you,” or “You’re not worthy or good enough to be with someone.” Don’t allow the enemy to steal your interpretation of this season in your life. He desires to control your thought life so that you are wasting this valuable opportunity on thoughts and feelings God never intended for you. Don’t give license to the enemy to label where you are and where God does or does not want to take you.
Change your perception of aloneness. Know that God wants to utilize your solitude to mold you into independence from the world and dependence on Him. He has set you apart to focus on knowing Him and growing into an uninterrupted and consistent fellowship with Him. Having seasons of aloneness gives you a greater appreciation for relationships and gives you a chance to know yourself. Seasons of aloneness can be powerful chances to learn who you are and who God called you to be. Value the time God calls you apart to Himself as His very own. It might make you feel better when you realize that God loves you so much that He wants you all to Himself.
Remember that being alone may be your reality, but being lonely is your choice. Choose to be happy with just you, God certainly is.
Monday, November 2, 2009
1 John 2:15 – 16 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Does a Happy Meal make you a happy? Sounds like a crazy question, but just entertain me for a few more words. Our culture is bombarded daily with concepts and forced perceptions that, when we really think about them, in no way align with reality. The infiltration of these perceptions has been dictated by the world, leaving God’s perception, the only true reality for believers, by the wayside.
Happy Meals may have put a smile on our faces as kids, but as we grow we realize that those nuggets and fries have absolutely no nutritional value. Frankly, the only thing that is happy about a Happy Meal is its name.
Just as we did with Happy Meals when we were kids, so go our relationships. We get so sucked up into a proverbial vacuum of adhering to what the world calls “relationship” that we often end up in situations that fill us for the moment, but contain absolutely no weight in sustaining us.
Think about it. They satisfy physical desires—I eat good tasting food. (Lust of the flesh). They tickle the want for enticing possessions—because what’s a Happy Meal without the toy? (Lust of the eyes) And one gets to feel satisfied that he/she has complied with the external pressure and societal expectation by having something everyone else has—everyone is getting a Happy Meal, why can’t I?(Pride of life). And the Word said that this “is not from the Father but is from the world.”
Let God’s perception by your reality, not the world’s.
Father, sometimes it’s easy to confuse what you want for my life with what feels, sounds, looks and taste good to me at the moment. By the power of the Holy Spirit which resides in me, please don’t allow me to fall victim to the lust of my flesh, the lust of my eyes or the pride of life. Help me discern the lies of the enemies and empower me with your word every day of my life. Thank you Lord for making your perception my reality. In Jesus name, Amen.