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The kingdom of heaven belongs to children

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14

Jesus loved children during his earthly life, as seen in this verse. He was blessing some little ones and his protege's tried to stop him and then he said the statement recorded above. We can only imagine what must have prompted these guys to try to steer Jesus away from the children. Somehow they thought that Jesus time was better spent amongst adults and not children, but Jesus strongly disagreed. The idea that being under age would disqualify you from Jesus touch, his fellowship, his blessing, or his attention is a mistake.

Not only are children fully qualified to receive Jesus touch, but Jesus also makes the statement that to children belong the kingdom of heaven. The notion that children are too young to receive the kingdom of heaven and it's treasures is false. The truth may be the opposite.


How judgement comes

Thus says the Lord:“For three transgressions of Judah,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they have rejected the law of the Lord,
and have not kept his statutes,
but their lies have led them astray,
those after which their fathers walked.Amos 2:4What is sad in this declaration is that Judah has become just as guilty of the same sins as the ungodly country, Moab. They have rejected God's revealed ways for living, have stopped following God's commands and begun following lies.
While it's true that all of God's wrath was placed on Christ at the cross, God also visits the church with purifying judgements (1 Peter 4:17). A person's belief in Christ may assure their eternal salvation, but they may or the people may corporately have sin that God must deal with when he visits. What I mean is that God who is completely holy and just must deal with sin. Sin that is placed on the cross is dealt with and God is completely satisfied with his forgiveness for i…

Vengeance

The God who gave me vengeance...
Psalm 18:47

God gives you vengeance. You don't take it out on people. God gives you vengeance on the enemy. Your brother or sister is never your enemy. Their is an enemy and God gives you vengeance on the enemy.

Hell is real

The realm of the dead below is all astir
to meet you at your coming;
it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—
all those who were leaders in the world;
it makes them rise from their thrones—
all those who were kings over the nations.

Isaiah 14:9

Isaiah here is talking about the reaction hell is having to the coming of the king of Babylon. I think that passages like this should give us sobriety about eternal separation from God and that those who do great harm and refuse to repent have themselves been decieved.

He is still born in a stable

I am going to do a small series of posts on Aspects of Christmas, the first one titled, "He is still born in a stable".

"and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them."
Luke 2:7 (TNIV)

Christmas is all about Christ's birth. He is God's gift to humankind. He was sent to reconcile us. He also showed us what God was like. Rather that transport into earthly life or appear, like an angel, Jesus was born to an obscure set of parents, under obscure circumstances, at an obscure time, and in a very obscure place.

He wasn't born in the finest hospital of the day, nor in a palace, and not on a mountain top. He was born in a room that western minded moderns think of as a stable, where animals lived and were sheltered for the night, just like you would find on most farms or ranches today. Actually, it was a room in the house where the animals lived and had shelte…

Have you experienced God's goodness?

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Psalm 34:8 (MSG)

Have you experienced God's goodness? The psalmist says that you've got to experience it, tasting and seeing God's goodness. This experiencing is the place from which we grow and go.

Those who have tasted the good have good taste. You'll see the good, do good, be an agent of good. God is good.

God is always good, God is always doing good, and no matter what happens, God is good. It's not a feel good, say-it-three-times affirmation; but pure fact. God is good.

When you know God is good, because you have partaken of God's goodness; you know that when bad things happen, God is still good.

You already have what you need to do it

I had this little accident with super glue. I was holding a tube of it and I accidentally squeezed it and since the cap was not on tight, the glue flowed onto my hands. My friend grabbed a piece of paper to set the glue tube on and I rushed to the sink to wash the stuff off with soap and water, but it was too late. The glue had dried all over my fingers. Soap and water did very little to dissolve it.

I got on the computer and read that nail polish remover would take care of it. I read more and found out that petroleum jelly also will dissolve super glue. I think realized that I had lip balm in my pocket that probably contained petroleum jelly. Yes, it worked.

I then thought of God's word to Moses: "What is that in your hand?", in Exodus 4:2. I realized that this experience was a metaphor for the fact that God prepares us in advance for work or problems. Many times, you've already got what you need when the moment of need comes.
Only a week or so before my in…

Two lanes

Some thoughts about two lanes:

You're either coming or going. What I mean is that you are either going away from or towards something in particular. Neutral always means drifting backwards. So, are you going forward in faith, in God, in love, in reconciliation; or are you moving away from these things?
My insight is that if you don't know, you're probably drifting backwards.

The number two lane. It's good to be in the number two lane. Number one lane people are passers and speeders. You may use the number one lane from time to time, to pass slower drivers; but it's safer to get back in the #2 lane as soon as you can. Let others pass you who are in more of a hurry or have a need for speed that isn't who you are called to be.

Being a #2 person. It's good to have someone you are serving. It's good to let someone else have the spotlight, while you hold their water bottle, hair brush or flashlight.

Lord in our midst

Why should you be like a man confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not leave us.
Jeremiah 14:9

This verse captures how many of us feel right now. The truth is that God is in charge and "on the job". But God also wants to be in our midst, among us, communing with us. I believe that the church is going to be a place where people encounter God's presence. I believe that while people will still need a word or guidance for their lives, even more, they will need an encounter with God for change in them. Many people have have Bible studies, sermons, seminars, retreats, discipleship groups, accountability relationships, counseling, and intense worship; without a life-changing God encounter. This is what people want and really need and what will happen, I believe.

Crucified mind

And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull).

Matthew 27:33

Jesus was crucified on a hill that had a peculiar name, meaning "skull hill". Jesus died there to save us from our sins. Our bodies participate in sin and we speak out sinful things, but it originated in our minds, in our thoughts. How we think needs to be saved. I don't want to just stop doing things and saying things, having been saved unto righteousness; I also want to think in a godly way, in a Christ-forgiven way!

If the mind is important, then the enemy is going to go after it. It's important to decide to let Christ rule in your mind, if you are his. If the enemy can get in your mind, in how you think, then he's got you immobilized. Figuratively speaking, you may need anti-virus software for your hard drive, if a trojan or worm has gotten in.

Post election blues post

Like many people, I was disappointed with the presidential election results. Here are my thoughts. ten days later:

God is righteous and just. He does right, he knows what he's doing and he settles all things fairly. Father does know best.

The same people who prayed for Obama not to get the office now need to pray for him. It was a tragedy that many people who could have prayed for Bill Clinton, did not.

What's happening in the presidency or washington d.c. does not determine what God will do spiritually in the country.

Praying over these next 13 days

Re-post:

Wednesday, August 13
making it into the next season

I've been reflecting that the time we're in is like a team that's going into the fourth quarter of a good, but tiring game. Victory nor defeat is assured. The whole team has to hang in there and fight to have a chance of winning.

What's the counsel from scripture?

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

This little verse says everything you need. What it says in plan English is:

1. Stay in the place of prayer
2. Be vigilant
3. And take communion continually

We need to keep ourselves positioned in prayer. Distraction might be our worst enemy right now. All prayer is not constant talking out loud either. Prayer is staying connected, staying available, staying awake to God.

Being watchful is also about staying focused but also about staying sober. Sober mindedness is to keep the fog out and not be be carried away by things that take you away from prayer focus. A vigi…

This is My Father's World

This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world: He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world: the battle is not done;
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heaven be one.

This song was written by Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1858-1901) and was published after his untimely death. The story behind this hymn, according to center for church music :
Maltbie Babcock, a pastor in Lockport, New York, enjoyed hiking in an area cal…

Travail intercession

Now why do you cry aloud?
Is there no king in you?
Has your counselor perished,
that pain seized you like a woman in labor?
Micah 4:9

Thousands of people are praying for the election and their prayers are already having an affect.

Misteltoe

The mistletoe bears it's fruit at the time of the Winter solstice, the birth of the new year. Like life springing from death. Today is the Jewish New Year.

Moving from being helped to being perfected

And Azariah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Jotham his son reigned in his place.
2 Kings 15:7

Azariah means, "Jehovah has helped", and Jotham means, "Jehovah is perfect".

The Biblical idea of perfection is a bit different than our Western idea of perfection. A perfect score, a perfect job, marriage, game, meal, etc. The Biblical idea of perfection is wholeness. A moral person who is content is perfect. A person who's joy comes from the inside is perfect.

Just getting help is like getting money of food or having a need met. We all have needed help and help is good. But, a better thing is to be one who has so much that you give help. It's a great testimony to have received help from God, but it's even better to be one through whom God helps others who may later become one's who help others.

Shifting supply lines

Arise, go to Zarephath which belongs to Sidon and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow to feed you.
1Kings 17:3

Previously, Elijah had been commanded to go to the brook Cherith where he got water and the Ravens fed him. But, a time came when that provision ended and God directed him to a new one.
The brook drying up and the Ravens no longer bringing food, focused Elijah back onto trust in God, rather than reliance on God's gifts. Elijah is drained of self reliance.

Zarephath is the third place Elijah has been moved to in this season.
Zarephath is a Gentile city, in the region that Jezebel is from.
The word Zarephath means refinery.

God took Elijah from the brook in Israel to a Gentile widow. Jesus references this story in Luke 4:25-6.

God sovereignly chooses people, unexpected people, people out of left field; who will be key people God has chosen to help us. God chooses someone whom He will have to do a miracle through to bring provision. He chooses someone who will all…

God's building

Unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain.
Psalm 127:1a

At first glance, this word might be taken to mean that God's got to be at the center of something, inspiring it and empowering it, blessing it; for it to be real or valid or authentic. While that is true, it is the secondary meaning. The primary meaning is revealed by looking at the original words that were chosen. The words for build and house have the same root as son and daughter, as well as each other. So, "builds the house", is not primarily talking about building a place of worship or a community thereof, nor is it primarily talking about building a business. It is primarily talking about God building families. Then, if you want to talk about God building the church for instance, you have to go back to this fact that God is a family man. When God builds something, he builds it through fathers and mothers and sons and daughters. Fathers and mothers have children and they also adopt child…

That'll be the day

Buddy Holly-That'll Be the Day


Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

Well, you give me all your lovin' and your turtle dovin'
All your hugs and kisses and your money too
Well, you know you love me baby
Until you tell me, maybe
That some day, well I'll be through

Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

[Instrumental Interlude]

Well, that'll be the day, when you say goodbye
Yes, that'll be the day, when you make me cry
You say you're gonna leave, you know it's a lie
'Cause that'll be the day when I die

Well, when Cupid shot his dart
He shot it at your heart
So if we ever part and I leave you
You sit and hold me and you tell me …

Takes your breath away

"...it all took her breath away."

2 Chronicles 9:4

You can be so "wowed" that your breath is taken away. You pause, you are in awe. The Queen of Sheba had her breath taken away by Solomon. God wants to do this for all of us.

Confusion driven out

Isaiah 47 The Fall of Babylon 1 "Go down, sit in the dust,
Virgin Daughter of Babylon;
sit on the ground without a throne,
Daughter of the Babylonians.
No more will you be called
tender or delicate.

Babylon means confusion. Babylon rose and fell in Bible times, but Babylon also rises and falls on the prophetic book of Revelation. Babylon is falling again today and it may rise and fall again in various places before it's all over because Babylon is a spirit.

One of the enemy's tactics is to confuse you: father of lies, and one of the things God likes to do is bring clarity: the Spirit of Truth.

I like this song by Rick Cole:

Part the waters that surround me
Make the wind and waves be still
Pierce the soul of my confusion
Clear the mist and rend the veil

See the longing in my spirit
Know that I choose to be Yours
Lord, I’m hungry and I’m thirsting
To be filled and to be used

You’re the Holy Lord Almighty
And I come to seek Your face
You’re my Light, my Hope, my Mercy
And Jesus…

Torrential

In the above picture from England, it was said that they got two months rain in two days! You might feel dry and parched, but what if rain is on the way? Are you ready for it? What if God's rain storm of blessing is on the way to you? What if your prayers are about to be answered? Will you be able to receive it?.

the invitation

“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”

Proverbs 9:4a

Are you simple or complex? Are you simple or sophisticated? Are done learning or ready to learn?
Are you resistant to advice or open to counsel? Are you hungry for wisdom or full of your self?

Father

Listen son, to the instruction of a father and give attention that you may gain understanding.

Proverbs 4:1

Fathers teach their children through word and deed. We learn from our dad's and we catch life from them. I think that our examples are powerful. I probably heard millions of words from my dad, but his example stays with me as much as the words. Words are powerful and I could not have done without those, but example is just another dimension that is as important too.

God gathers

"In that day," declares the LORD,
"I will gather the lame;
I will assemble the exiles
and those I have brought to grief.
I will make the lame a remnant,
those driven away a strong nation.
The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion
from that day and forever.
Micah 4:6-7
We look around today at spiritual fellowships and we wonder where God is in them. Jesus famously said, "I will build my church". Now, if he is doing that today, there must be some data on the how and the who and the what of it in the book.
God gathers the lame. God really cares about people who are sick, or infirm.
God assembles the exiles. Many people love God and believe the Bible, but don't do church. Many people have stopped going to church but still carry Christ in their hearts. Some people have been banished from the church by church people. Everyone who's been to church has been hurt there, but many people choose to go away. The Lord wants to gather these p…

Memorial

Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day.

Joshua 4:9

After the tribes of Israel crossed over the Jordan river into the promised land, they made two memorials made of piled stones. One was up and outside the river, but the second one was smack dab, in the middle of the river. What can we make of the second memorial and why was it necessary?

The double doing of the memorial to God bringing them across the river calls serious attention to this event. The second one gives impact. Important and real important to remember.

When the Jordan was low or dry for natural reasons, there the stones would be reminding them that God dried it up once so the people could cross over. Seeing the memorial in drought times would also remind them of God's provision. When the Jordan's waters were high, but clear; the memorial would remind them that God…

on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him

Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.Now is the time to forgive this man and help him back on his feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown him in it.2 Corinthians 2:7 (NIV, TMB)

We need to be encouraged to forgive and restore those among us who fall into sin. The one who has fallen needs to repent, yes; but often we don't embrace the repentant one and restore them.

Some notes on this from others:

"Forgive and comfort him: They were just as wrong in withholding forgiveness and restoration to the man when he had repented as they were to welcome him with open, approving arms when he was still in sin. The Corinthian Christians found it easy to err on either extreme, either being too lenient or too harsh... Paul told them to do more than forgive, he also told them to comfort." (David Guzik)
"There may be a judicial forgiveness which is hard, and leaves the soul always consciou…

making it into the next season

I've been reflecting that the time we're in is like a team that's going into the fourth quarter of a good, but tiring game. Victory nor defeat is assured. The whole team has to hang in there and fight to have a chance of winning.

What's the counsel from scripture?

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

This little verse says everything you need. What it says in plan English is:

Stay in the place of prayerBe vigilantAnd take communion continually We need to keep ourselves positioned in prayer. Distraction might be our worst enemy right now. All prayer is not constant talking out loud either. Prayer is staying connected, staying available, staying awake to God.

Being watchful is also about staying focused but also about staying sober. Sober mindedness is to keep the fog out and not be be carried away by things that take you away from prayer focus. A vigilant watchman is passionate about keeping watch.

The third one …

what will happen

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Psalm 14:7

This is what I believe the future holds: salvation, restoration, and rejoicing.

Comanche leadership lesson

I was reading about the Comanche people and these points about their social culture (war leadership) were interesting to me: the emphasis is mine.

Comanche groups did not have a single acknowledged leader.
Instead, a small number of generally recognized leaders acted as counsel and advisors to the group as a whole. These included the "peace chief," the members of the council, and the "war chief."
The peace chief was usually an older individual, who could bring his experience to the task of advising. There was no formal installment to the position, it being one of general consensus. The council made decisions about where the band should hunt, whether they should war against their enemies, and whether to ally themselves with other bands. Any member could speak at council meetings, but the older men usually did most of the talking.
In times of war, the band selected a war chief. To be chosen for this position, a man had to prove he was a brave fighter. He also had t…

nobody, nowhere, nothing: no problem

Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:1

If you're a nobody, if you seem to be going nowhere, if nothing seems to work; then celebrate.
Human nature celebrates human ingenuity, born winners. But God likes to take "failures" and make then fruitful.

This verse is spoken to the people of God in transition. God is saying, be encouraged, it's a new beginning time and I've got great plans for you. This word is spoken to people who want God's best for themselves and it hasn't worked out. They are discouraged. Did you know that God not only has plan B when plan A doesn't work out, but he also has plan C, D, E, F; and on and on. God is not a perfectionist. God is not discouraged when we fail or when others fail us. God doesn't pack up and go home when the enemy wins a rou…

This is the day

I grew up in the Jesus People revival influenced era and a simple song, This Is The day, was popular at the time. Here it is:

This is the day, (echo) This is the day,
That the Lord has made, (echo) That the Lord has made.
We will rejoice (echo) We will rejoice,
And be glad in it (echo) And be glad in it!
This is the day that the Lord has made,
We will rejoice and be glad in it!
This is the day (echo) This is the day,
That the Lord has made.

The reference is Psalm 118:24. What's Psalm 118 all about? Psalm 118 is all about breakthrough. That's what the song is about. Any day and every day can be breakthrough day, because of God. Every day is God's day. Every day is a new day. It's true that we have bad days that sure don't seem like breakthrough days. That's true. But the greater truth is that every day is God's day and with God, breakthrough can occur. I didn't say breakthrough occurs every day for everyone, but that with God, breakthrough …

A word to slave owners

Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
Colossians 4:1

You might read this verse and ask, why Paul didn't say, "free your slaves right now, if you want to be a Christ follower". That's my first reaction. But he didn't say that. This is God inspired scripture.

In the New Covenant, God changes people from the inside out. The whole law is valid, but now God changes people from the inside. Slave owners, in a slave culture, were joining the church in droves. People "came as they were" when Christ called them and their transformation began. It doesn't take long for a slave owner to see that God is calling slaves to Christ and we are all the same. In Christian community, the slave owner is going to be changed and eventually free his slaves or let them stay on as real workers, but it starts with treating them justly and fairly. We know that slavery is not just or fair. Treating slaves justly will u…

Recovery church

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

Luke 4:16-19

Are you in recovery? What's that, you might ask. Have you lost anything? The bigger question is are you lost? Maybe you aren't lost, but you've been found. If you've been found, have you recovered what was lost? What about what was lost before you were born? What about what was lost before your great, great, great, great, great grandparents were born?

My point is, did Jesus come to help you have a better day, get a better j…

No discrimination or haves and have nots

For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

1 Corinthians 4:7

Paul here is addressing people who were filled with pride because of their spiritual gifts. His message is that whatever you have, you received as a gift. So, humbly receive it. The idea of superiority here is the idea of separating yourself from those, above those who don't have what you have. Giftedness makes you gifted. Because you are gifted, you might get to stand, to be "up front" or on a stage. You might even be called to represent the group or speak for God because of your gift. It seems like a no-brainer that this does not make you superior. But, humanity tends to think this way and needs to be course corrected.

Commando

(Websters)
Etymology: Afrikaans kommando, from Dutch commando command, from Spanish comando, from comandar to command, from Late Latin commandareDate:1839
1South Africana: a military unit or command of the Boersb: a raiding expedition2 a: a military unit trained and organized as shock troops especially for hit-and-run raids into enemy territoryb: a member of such a unit

What if God has people who are commandos? Would you like to be one? Think figurative, spiritual. I believe God is right now calling people to this.

The tribe of Gad were fierce warriors:
Raiders shall raid Gad,but he shall raid at their heels.
Genesis 49:19

These Gadites were officers of the army; the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand.
1 Chronicles 12:14







Recollection

Recollection

1 a: tranquillity of mindb: religious contemplation
2 a: the action or power of recalling to mindb: something recalled to the mind

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:21-23

Call to mind. Remember. Meditate. Turn your thoughts. You have a grocery list of problems. Horrible stuff. You can read the first 20 verses of Jeremiah reciting his list of woes and they were real. However long a list or bad the problems, they are followed by a BUT. Don't forget the BUT. Recall it, remember it, turn to it... recollection. No matter what, God is good. No matter what, there's hope. God does not forget his covenant. These aren't things you just say to encourage yourself, but they are truth and truth is encouraging. Never give up on God, because he never gives up on you.

Carry on, pilgrim

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
Psalm 84:5

You are a pilgrim, if you're a person of Judeo-Christian faith. A pilgrim is a person on a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place. Perhaps, the people who came to America from England were called pilgrims because their holy place they were seeking was a place of religious freedom.

Your pilgrimage is not an event or events, but it is your life, your whole life.
So, where is the journey to?
The question is, "what is happening in your journey?", or, "how is the path changing you?", or, "what do you see ahead?", and many other questions. Who asks these questions? Fellow pilgrims ask these of each other, then encourage each other, and have communion with each other. Then you see that the church is a traveling road show, covering ground and taking territory, attracting new Christ followers to His light.

Eventide

Eventide is an older English word that means, "the time of the evening". Various times of day are symbolic of particular things. You need to know what time it is, figuratively, to position yourself and to flow. A good farmer obviously needs to know his seasons or he's in trouble. A person walking in the spirit also needs to know what time it is and what season it is, figuratively.

Chuck Pierce published a book in 2006 called "Reordering Your Day", in which he describes the different prayer watch times. here are notes from pages 81-81 on the evening watch:

1. The First Watch; (Evening Watch) 6:00 pm- 9:00 pm
•During this hour we regroup
•Be still before the Lord away from the world
•Psalm 46: 10
•Time for meditation
•Find 30 minutes to meditate before going to bed
•From your meditation, release your anxieties to the Lord in prayer
•Isaac went out to meditate in the field of the evening (Gen. 24: 63)
•In the place of meditation, Isaac saw his future
•The evening watch …

Tortoise prayers

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2

Have you ever been inspired to pray for something and it didn't happen? It seemed that God didn't answer, and so you went through a time of frowns and then went on, maybe a little bitter, getting the idea that prayer doesn't work. You have experience with prayer not working.

Well, if that's you, you're the one I'm writing to. I'm in that boat too. Prayer is, more often than not, a marathon. Think tortoise, not hare. It's not that God isn't answering or not hearing or that your prayers don't matter. What it is oftentimes is that prayer is a process and much or most of it you do not see, so it seems like nothing is happening when it really is.

Don't forget the admonishment to be thankful. Let your thankfulness be added to whatever your requests are. You might be asking for things only God can do. The way is to throw in, speak in, the things you ar…

How people get bored with revival

He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.
Psalm 103:7

I was listening to Byron Wicker talk about the Argentine revivals of the 80's and 90's and how large numbers of people who were involved in the revival became bored after some time. Bored with God. How could this be? People who saw many people come from darkness to light and change, people who saw miracles and deliverance's, people who were there in meetings when God's presence was palpable. These same people became bored.

I think that being in the meetings, being a member, being a ministry person, being a leader; none of these things will induce you to walk with God for the long term. They're all good and fine, but something else is way more required. It might be called your secret history with God, intimacy with God, or your real openness in your heart; your prayer closet times. Remember when Jesus said to the ministers, "I never knew you"? You have to know him and…

Useful

Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.
Philemon 11

Are you useful or useless?

The gospel changes people. You are still in the same situation, but you've changed. Many people are just taking up space. They just consume. You can get without giving, but it's very small and you stay small and become vulnerable. You actually become weaker. In the kingdom, you really only go forwards or backwards. It you think you are standing still or being neutral or passive, you really are going backwards.

pochette

Pochette is my word for today. It's a French word that means "small purse" or "small envelope", small container of valuable things. There's something to small things that is good. Small things can be concentrated, like with chocolate or coffee, for instance.

Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, that is one of the smallest seeds, but it grows up to be big. Jesus also talks about selling everything to buy a field that has treasure in it. the treasure is small compared to the field, but is worth more than it..

There's something really good about the small affecting the big for the good. Steve Sjogren says that, "small things done with great love will change the world". Every act of kindness counts. The little stuff totally matters. It's a delusion and a lie to believe that your little things- little steps, little acts of kindness- showing God's love, don't matter. YES they do.

God, who is beyond huge,…

Seven changes

I took some notes after watching a video of a conference from 3/07, of Peter Wagner:

Seven Changes happening in Christianity Today:

1. From church to kingdom.
Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of salvation is part of the gospel of the kingdom. Gospel meaning message or good news. Jesus invited people to come into the kingdom, not to come to church. The kingdom message is God centered, not "what's-in-it-for-me" centered. When you encounter the King, you get or perhaps reject Him and His salvation. You also become His servant, receive His healing, His deliverance. You give up everything and He takes care of you. In the kingdom of God, you don't accept His salvation, but not His Lordship- they go together, and there's no confusion.

2. From pastors to apostles.
3. From evangelism to transformation.
4. From despair to dominion.
5. From determinism to openness.
6. From petition to proclamation.
7. From poverty to prospertity.

cross over

Attention, Israel! This very day you are crossing the Jordan to enter the land...
Deuteronomy 9:1a

There is a time to cross over, a window of opportunity so to speak. Timing is everything.
If there's a time to go, a time to strike, a time to act; what do you do before that window comes? Prepare. Be prepared. Get ready.

Here's a key point about transition that is simple, yet profound: You have to fully leave in order to fully arrive. If you don't fully leave, then you can not fully arrive, at your new destination, because part of you is still "back there" or you've brought some of the "back there" to the "here". What's sad and what you don't want is to be in a new place with your old stuff. Grieve the loss and be healed.

Back to basics

Remember therefore from where you have fallen;
repent, and do the works you did at first.
If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent.

Revelation 2:5

You can read the context here for yourself. This statement is from the letter to the church of Ephesus. These guys had so much going for them. It's all listed in the statements before and after this one. But something was so wrong that God says repent and do what you did at first. They had stopped doing these first things, these basic things. Every musician, athlete, artist, poet, writer, comedian, and soldier knows that practice, working out, sharpening the saw, doing the fundamentals; is the key to going forwards to goodness or greatness. It's the same thing with being a Christ follower. Ya got to keep following. You don't stop following. Great leaders are themselves great followers.

You don't get beyond the basics and become superior to them. Sounds foolish even saying …

You're pre-approved!

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Ecclesiastes 9:7

Food was God's idea and so was eating it. Wine was also God's idea. Eating disorders and alcoholism happen when something is broken. It's possible to abstain from alcohol and many do for a variety of reasons, but everyone has to eat. So, eating issues, food issues need to be dealt with or met with the healing power of God for us to become whole and walk in God's plan for humankind to enjoy eating. To me, the tag line of "God has already approved what you do", says, "don't be ashamed to enjoy eating and drinking- God expects you to enjoy it!" If you have shame around eating or drinking, I want to tell you that God can heal you through Christ, so be encouraged. God gave eating and drinking to humans and it's a gift that can be restored to you.

Azusa Street Mission & Revival (Book by Cecil Robeck)

I read the first 1/3 of this book on the Azusa Street Mission revival the other night and I have a few take-away's: William Seymour developed the habit, before the revival hit, of spending 5 hours a day in prayer, alone with God. I don't mention this to shame the rest of us, but just to say, "wow". It's just something to get inspired over to maybe increase our alone times with God.

The second thing is that William Seymour was a very meek man. But he was not a weak man. Meekness is "enduring injury with patience and without resentment", according to Websters.
I think that any leader that wants to be used by God can learn much from Seymour's style or ways. Most people probably think of his message on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, but to me a big part of who he was and what he should be remembered for is his meekness. He could have bailed or crashed at any point from personal attacks. He seems to have understood that big…

Suddenly for you

Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to hide it from the Midianites . Judges 6:11


Ophrah was an obscure Benjamite town, in the promised land, where an obscure man named Gideon lived. In Ophrah, the people of God had pretty much walked away from their roots and were engaging in pagan worship with noticeable idols and alters in their town. In this seemingly God forsaken place that seemed forgotten by God and defeated by darkness; suddenly the angel of the Lord shows up and calls out Gideon. Gideon responds to what the angel says and he's off into a new life. Gideon is the person that the story is about- what happened to this nobody. But the lesson for us is God's intervention in human affairs. Gideon did not study or intern to become a leader. He didn't build up a network and find money to do good. Gideon was just trying to survive in a…

Nations

Psalm 87

He founded Zion on the Holy Mountain— and oh, how God loves his home!
Loves it far better than all the homes of Jacob put together!
God's hometown—oh! everyone there is talking about you!

I name them off, those among whom I'm famous:
Egypt and Babylon, also Philistia, even Tyre, along with Cush.
Word's getting around; they point them out: "This one was born again here!"

The word's getting out on Zion: "Men and women, right and left, get born again in her!"

God registers their names in his book:
"This one, this one, and this one— born again, right here."

Singers and dancers give credit to Zion:
"All my springs are in you!"



God loves the nations, all the nations. The church is meant for the nations. The church is meant to be open to all tribes of people to encounter, meet, and be forever changed by God. God wants to touch people who are different than you through you and have you and them commune in Christ. Commu…

Father's day!

Time to do your soul laundry

Psalm 51:1-7Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I've been; my sins are staring me down.

You're the One I've violated, and you've seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair.
I've been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born.
What you're after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean, scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.

Have you done your laundry lately?
Or have you surrendered yourself to the cleaners?

From strength to strength

They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:7

Normally, you get weaker as you go further on your journey. But when you go on a journey with God, towards God; you get stronger. This is a paradox, especially when you feel weaker and weaker. But you really are getting stronger. Keep moving.

The turn-around

Is there anyone around to save Israel?
Yes. God is around; God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope,
turned-around Israel sings laughter.

Psalm 14:7

God turns things around. This is the gospel message. And while God is always at work, turning things around with many people in many places; there is a time when God turns things around for you. Things that are wrong are made right. Things that are messed up get cleaned up. What was lost gets restored. When turn-around's are happening for people across the board, it's called revival. God is in the business of setting captives free and setting them back to where they belong.

Sent

I have sent him.

Col. 4:8a

Have you been sent? Where have you been sent to? Did you think that you were just incognito in your life, your job, your relationships? Does God only specially send certain people or are we all sent all the time or most of the time? Did God send you to be your spouses spouse and your children's parent? Did God send you to your neighborhood?

Have you gone where you weren't sent? Have you tried to go where you weren't sent?

Have you gone the opposite way from where God wanted to send you and bad stuff happened?

Are you waiting to be sent? Is God waiting to send you? Are you prepared to be sent? Are you doing what you know to do to prepare?

Write your letter, let your letter be written. Maybe you can't read what God's written.

Get the postage on that letter. Get is sealed. And prepare to be sent.

God is with you

We watched some Rob Bell videos tonight. This is the preview of our favorite, called "Rain". Rob tells the story of carrying his one year old boy through a rain storm. God is with you in your storm.


"Things don’t always work out the way we want them to, or the way we think they will. Sometimes we don’t even see it coming. We get hit with some form of pain out of nowhere leaving us feeling desperate and helpless. That’s the way life is. Still, it makes us wonder how God can let these things happen to us. How God can just stand by and watch us suffer. Where is God when it really hurts? Maybe God is actually closer to us than we think. Maybe it’s when we’re in these situations, where everything seems to be falling apart, that God gets an opportunity to remind us of how much he really loves us." Rob Bell

Some advice for older guys

Older men are to be sober-minded.

Guide older men into lives of temperance.

Tell the older men to have self-control.

Teach the older men to be temperate.

Titus 2:2a

Apparently, in the place where this letter was written to, too much wine drinking could become a problem and had to be addressed. We have plenty of alcoholism in our culture as well. The word is moderation. Drinking isn't a sin, but drunkenness is. And what is too much? What immoderate? I think it's gone too far when it's a controlling factor, when the addiction trumps relationships- relationship with God and with family and with humanity. Something you like becomes something you crave, and then at some point, it becomes an idol. Then, God is not a part of this little worship time and it's a dark place.

From another, perhaps more practical angle, it's obvious that alcohol dulls you. Men of God, Christian men are called to be vigilant, on guard; ready: to answer, to serve, to hear, to obey God, to go…

Trials and wholeness

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

You thought you had faith until you faced a trial, and after the trial or during it, you find out if your faith is real. And what is it that you had faith in before the trial? God's existence, God's goodness, that Jesus saves, that the gospel is true? What happens when life brings you circumstances that scream that it's not true? You find yourself in desperate need. What if God does not come through for you? Will you still believe then?

When James says that the result of the testing of your faith through trials is perfect completion, he means wholeness, maturity. A mature tree has deep roots. You are like a tree, but you can want your roots to go deeper. You can seek to grow deeper into God during hard times. You …

Air conditioning

Just some thoughts here: If Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), can we change the atmosphere where we are? I believe, yes. I believe that prayer and praise and worship changes the atmosphere.

I believe that Satan only has power that he gets from basically tricking people.
When we agree with him, we give him power.

A room can be prayer conditioned, to quote Leonard Ravenhill.

Jim and Casper

I listened to the sessions from the CE conference with Jim Henderson and Matt Casper.
I still can't wait to read their book, Jim and Casper Go to Church.

Conversational Evangelism

I starting listening to the sessions from the Conversational Evangelism conference yesterday.

A few take a way points so far are that there is a disconnect between Jesus and the church. Non-Christians and non-church attenders don't always have any problem with Jesus, but they have lots of problems with the church. There is a perception that church goers are out of touch with regular, non-church-going people. Jesus wasn't this way at all.

Another key is that as a Christian, you don't need to add evangelism or a missional focus to your already busy life. What you need is a new life(style), like Jesus.

A Christian is not someone who just goes to a lot of Church meetings, who just studies the Bible, just shops at Christian bookstores, and who just watches Christian television. A Christian is someone who follows Christ, who has Christ in them and who is in Christ. Evangelism is not about inviting someone to a meeting to hear and see someone else, although that's not …

Gad

And of Gad he said,
“Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
Gad crouches like a lion;
he tears off arm and scalp.
He chose the best of the land for himself,
for there a commander's portion was reserved;
and he came with the heads of the people,
with Israel he executed the justice of the Lord,
and his judgments for Israel.”

Deut. 33:20-21

The tribe of Gad was one of the fiercest, bravest tribes.
Gad means troop or raider and Gad sounds just like good fortune.
Gad was Jacob's seventh son, borne from Zilpah, Leah's servant.

Aaron

God spoke to Aaron, "Go and meet Moses in the wilderness." He went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. Moses told Aaron the message that God had sent him to speak and the wonders he had commanded him to do.
So Moses and Aaron proceeded to round up all the leaders of Israel. Aaron told them everything that God had told Moses and demonstrated the wonders before the people. And the people trusted and listened believingly that God was concerned with what was going on with the Israelites and knew all about their affliction. They bowed low and they worshiped. Exodus 4:27-31

I have a few thoughts to share about Aaron, Moses older brother in the Bible.

I have focused on Moses, how he ran away and lived in the desert all those years, until the burning bush. Moses had been saved from the killing of all the babies and raised in the royal household, and later ran to Sanai. Aaron stayed in Egypt among his enslaved people.

When God calls Moses from the burning bush, whi…

Responding to what God is doing

Praise the Lord!
Thank the Lord because he is good.
His love continues forever.
No one can tell all the mighty things the Lord has done;
no one can speak all his praise.
Happy are those who do right,
who do what is fair at all times.
Lord, remember me when you are kind to your people;
help me when you save them.
Let me see the good things you do for your chosen people.
Let me be happy along with your happy nation;
let me join your own people in praising you.
Psalm 106:1-5, NCV
Hallelujah! Thank God! And why?
Because he's good, because his love lasts.
But who on earth can do it—
declaim God's mighty acts, broadcast all his praises?
You're one happy man when you do what's right,
one happy woman when you form the habit of justice.

Remember me, God, when you enjoy your people;
include me when you save them;
I want to see your chosen succeed,
celebrate with your celebrating nation,
join the Hallelujahs of your pride and joy!
Psalm 106:1-5, MSG

Praise the LORD! Oh giv…

Cherry Blossom

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43:19a

The Cherry Blossom tree blooms only once a year in the spring. Each flower only lasts for two or three days. A group of trees can have it's blooming period last up to 14 days.

Some thoughts I have are that when "opportunity knocks", you have to respond quick. "Suddenlies of God" happen and you've got to respond. You've learned to wait and wait.
Suddenly, what you've waited for is here and it's Carpe Diem time!

Are you appalled by sin?

Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me because of this unfaithfulness of the exiles. And I sat there appalled until the evening sacrifice.

Ezra 9:4

When was the last time you were appalled by unfaithfulness to God?
Have you ever gathered together because you and the others were all trembling at God's word?

There is great joy in returning to God, in walking with God, in sharing life together. But there is also a clear revelation of stuff in us and stuff we do or hold onto that needs to go. If you truly encounter God, then you have to be changed. Repentance is part of genuine revival. The fear of the Lord is real. The Lord who is gracious and merciful, kind and loving is also awesome and terrifying. To be out of synch with him or to be holding onto a sinful practice when he comes is a terrible thing.



Hezekiah's 41

Hezekiah was a good king in Judah. Good but not great. He did many good things, but did not finish well. He was 39 years old, looking at turning the big 4-0, When he got a visit from Isaiah the prophet, telling him that he would soon die. He immediately prayed to God that he was not ready to die and could he please have more time. God spoke to Isaiah again and he went back and told him that God says you've got 15 more years. Hezekiah believed Isaiah, but asked him (to ask God) for a sign that he'd really be healed (in 3 days). God gave him a choice of two ways the sun would slow down or speed up in terms of time or shadows and Hezekiah chose the harder one which God did, of turning the shadows or time backwards- no one knows exactly what happened- the text is a little unclear, but God did do something miraculous.

So, all seemed well. Hezekiah had done all these good things and he got healed and had this sign done and God had also wiped out this invading Assyrian army t…

If you're alive, there is hope

Anyone who is among the living has hope —even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

Ecclesiastes 9:4

It seems obvious that if you are alive, there is hope. The lion is the most majestic of creatures, while the dog (in Bible times) is among the vilest. The living vile have hope, while the majestic dead do not, as far as life-change. There is hope for the most despicable and lost. There is hope for the most dire situation while life holds on.

Jesus prays for his disciples

I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world. My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them.

My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.

I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world but for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.

I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours.

John 17:9 (NLB, CEV, TMT, YLT)

At this crisis point Jesus is wholly employed on the behalf of his disciples, who are about to go out for good with Jesus message. He is high priest here, giving the second part of the prayer on the day of expiation for the the priests (Adam Clarke).

David Guzik's notes:

a. When Jesus says I do not pray for the world it is not out of unconcern for the world's plight. It was because of a focus on His own disciples. "He was praying for the instrument He was creating, through which He would reach the world." (Morgan)

Beware: your enemy is shrewd

they on their part acted with cunning...
Joshua 9:4a

The children of Israel were conquering the promised land city by city. They had just obliterated Ai. Then they had a massive meeting where all of Israel renewed their covenant with God.

The next thing that happens of note is that this rag dressed group of guys comes along, saying they are from a far off country and plead for Joshua to make a special covenant with them of peace. they hung out for three days and then the covenant was made.

When Joshua figured out that he had been deceived, he cursed them, but the covenant still stood.

What's the point of the story? If the enemy can't get you head on, he goes to the side where you don't expect it with deception. He tries to get you to agree to something through lies. Seems like a contract would be no good that you signed if it was "sold" to you on lies, but that's not true. Once you've entered in to the contract, it's hard or impossible to get o…

Live in the present

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Proverbs 27:1

Talking about what you think will happen distracts you from what's happening now.

Worrying disengages you from the present.

Most things we worry about never happen or happen differently than we imagine.

Nothing is wrong with success. Nothing is wrong with dreaming big.

The problem is when we brag about good things that have not even happened yet.
This leads to presumption- presuming success for ourselves.

The problem is that in presumption, we fall out of God-reliance, going to self-reliance, and in danger of delusion.

Only God knows the future. You can reach out to God, who holds the future, in the present.

Deal with your stuff first

"Don't criticise people, and you will not be criticised. For you will be judged by the way you criticise others, and the measure you give will be the measure you receive." "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and fail to notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me get the speck out of your eye', when there is a plank in your own? You fraud! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you can see clearly enough to remove your brother's speck of dust.""Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your ow…