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Showing posts from September, 2016

Warfare Worship

Then my head  Will be high  Above my enemies around me;  I will offer sacrifices  In His tent  With shouts of joy. I will sing and make music to the Lord. -Psalm 27:6

There is a place where God lifts our heads up above our enemies and we give high praise to God with shouts of joy, songs and music.  There is a reality of warfare in our lives with the enemy: God's enemy and our enemy.  There is a key to walking in victory over the enemy, which is simply practicing the presence of God.

There is a place that God has for us, where we are above our enemies, and enjoying God.  Warfare worship is to travel into God and then praise God, sing, and shout from the elevated place of God's presence, where the enemy can not touch us.

The starting point of worship and warfare is that God is our salvation.  The act of God saving and delivering us immediately brings us into spiritual warfare.  When we are saved or delivered, the first thing that is natural to do, is to thank God and enter into…

Longing For God

As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.
-Psalm 42:1

Do you long for God?  I believe that a fundamental activity in the believer's life is longing for God.  And we only stop longing for God when we have drank from God.

If we have not drank from God and are not longing for a drink of God, then I believe something is wrong, because I believe longing for God is a fundamental activity in the believer's life.  Just as a deer can not survive without water, so we also can not live without God.

If you say you have God, I would say, show me your longing.  A fundamental activity in the believer's life is longing for God, seeking God, and being with, in, and all wrapped up in God.  If you are keenly in the place of strong longing for God, crying for God, with painful desire for God; and you wonder if something is wrong with you, the answer is no, you are not wrong, but right.

Longing for God is good and you may very well feel immense pain in your longing and ev…

God Is Calling Us Back To Simplicity

I have been Yahweh your God ever since the land of Egypt.
I will make you live in tents again, as in the festival days.
-Hosea 12:9
I believe that God wants to bring his people back to a simpler lifestyle.  We have gone down a complicated path, while God has been on the simple one.  We have been living in a busy, over-booked, stressed-out, complicated, burned out life; while Jesus has been beckoning all of us to his life of rest and peace.
God's square one or our doorway to walking with God is his deliverance of us.  He delivers us from sin, death, the ways of the world, and the demons that are loose here.  God becomes and remains our savior and deliverer, for our entire lives, until we transition out of our earthly existence.
Salvation is no just an event, but a process and an ongoing relationship with our God who saves.  The one who saves us keeps us saved and keeps saving us.  If we turn away from God, or treat God's salvation as an event and not an ongoing processional re…

Big Rain For The Burnt Out People of God

You, God, showered abundant rain; You revived Your inheritance when it languished.
-Psalm 68:9
Big rain is coming.  I was going to say, be prepared, but that's not right.  The word is, be encouraged.
We, many of us, although we have faith and are filled with hope and joy, contentment and gratitude; are tired.  We are weary.  The word that many modern translations use, in this verse is 'languished'.
To languish is to suffer, because you have been forced to remain in an unpleasant situation.  You might feel abandoned, neglected, or forgotten.  Plants languish from lack of water and people languish in prison, from lack of living.
People get weary, even in doing good.  There are a wide variety of causes of weariness.  Many people, including me, are weary and languishing.
The good news is that God sends refreshing, reviving, and restoring rain to his weary people, his languishing people.  It is what God does.  Watch for it, and expect it
It is notable that God just does it for…

Reflections on Israel's Salvation: Looking at Romans 11

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
The Liberator will come from Zion;
He will turn away godlessness from Jacob.
-Romans 11:26

The Salvation of Israel

All of Israel will be saved.  Does this mean the State of Israel, or all of ethnic Israel?  And is this going to happen at a certain time?  When we study this phrase and then look at it in context, the answer is very simple and clear.

The key that helps us understand are the previous words, that answer the question of 'how?', and they are, "in this way".  What is this way that Israel will be saved?  The answer is: All of Israel that will be saved, may be saved in the same way that Paul and the remnant of Jews in his day were saved, and that is through faith in the gospel.

Israel will be saved as they respond in faith and receive mercy from God, in the same way and through the same mercy, in which God saves any and all peoples.  The offer of mercy has gotten more appealing, interesting, and att…

Let The Son Shine In

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you.

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lamp stand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
-Isaiah 60:1, Matthew 5:13-16
Do you know the Cowboy Sunday School song, that says this?: So let the sun shine in, face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose and frowners never win.
So let the sun shine in, face it with a grin
Open up your heart and let the sun shine in. Every Christian ought to know that the Christian life is about letting the Son of God shine into and out of their life.  I saw a cartoon, the other day, that showed a solemn seeker of Christ, who climbed to the very top of the mountain, seeking the deeper wisdom and knowledge.  When he got to the top, Jesus simply s…

How We Learn in The School of Jesus Christ

I wrote the first narrative, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day He was taken up, after He had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God. -Acts 1:1-3
Jesus ministry is not just a teaching ministry.  Intellectual learning is only one part of the whole package.  We receive teaching, then we have a transformational experience, and then we do something about it.  That is real learning, Jesus style.

The things Jesus said and did provoked or invoked a response in people.  His teaching was experiential, in that it always invited his learners to have an experience.  The passive classroom or passive theater setting of church is not Jesus' way of teaching and learning.

We may have an interior experience that is deep and marvelous, when we learn or are taught.  But the proof…

Pain, Suffering, and Jesus

Jesus wept: burst forth into tears (cried).
-John 11:35

Jesus is with us, each one of us, in our pain and loves us.  He said, "I will be with you, even to the end of the age".

Jesus burst into tears.  Jesus cried from the grief he felt on more than one occasion, and his crying was neither fake nor out-of-control.  He authentically cried.

Sometime between the age of 12 and about 30, the most important man in his life, Joseph, died.  Later, when Jesus had to leave home and his family's business, that must have been hard.

And his brothers, who grew up with him, thought he was crazy when he began his ministry that we read about.  That had to be painful.

The majority of the people around him either did not get it, did not get him, or did not believe; and were hostile towards him, even wanting him dead.

At the end, the crowd roared, "Crucify him!".  It was real and authentic hate.  Rejection.

And, in a sense, we were in that crowd.  Something to ponder.

Jesus faced…

Wake Up Call

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
-Ephesians 5:14b, Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV)

We had two different phone calls that woke us up, while sleeping, this week.   This got me thinking about God's wake up calls.  We say to someone who is not engaged or is in denial, "Wake up!", and that is how the phrase is used in Ephesians 5 and Revelation 3.

In Ephesians 5, Paul is teaching that there are two ways to live, and one is the way of death and th…