Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Prophecy Comes From...

Isaiah 50:4-5 "The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. 5 The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back."

At first glance these two verses jumped out at me and I began to pray, 'Yes God, speak to me. Give me the words to speak to the weary. Open my ears! I will not rebel." I was thinking along the lines of believing God to receive prophetic words from Him for those I minister to. This prayer is healthy, but as I looked again I realized there is a completely different level of power on these words than what I originally thought.

I had missed that all of the references to 'me' or 'my' were capitalized...implying they are actually spoken from the perspective of the Messiah. These are the words of Jesus saying they He has been given the words to speak to the weary.

Jesus is the Word of God, & here He says He has been given the words for the weary, therefore the word to the weary is simply The Word of God! This is a solid reminder that as I seek to minister in God's Kingdom and comfort those that are weary, I do not need to feel responsible to wait for some new prophetic word from God. All I need is the Word I already have! Jesus has been given the word for the weary, & then He passed them right on to us!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Clean up your own junk

In 2 Chronicles 29-31 there is a story of King Hezekiah restoring Israel to a heart of worship. The result was a cleansing of the temple and a 7 day feast that turned into a worship session that lasted for 2 full weeks! But what really jumped out at me about this story is what takes place in 2 Chronicles 31:1.
"Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah, broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the Asherim and pulled down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the sons of Israel returned to their cities, each to his possession."

Several kings of Israel made it their first act to go through their kingdom and remove and/or destroy the altars and images to false gods. However, Hezekiah went about this in a different way. This revival started with a corporate worship gathering, which was extended an entire week! The move of God on the hearts of the people was personal to them. This was not a decree from a king to pull down idols.
After a week of worship it was their first act to go and pull down the idols themselves. This is the kind of leader I want to be. This is the kind of revival I want to see. That God would move so powerful that people would go out and clean up their lives themselves rather than always waiting for the pastors to do it for them!

What am I doing to make sure those I lead are learning the importance of taking responsibility for their own lives and hearts? If I am constantly doing all the cleaning myself, am I still an effective leader?

God, help me to lead well. Help me to lead by example, train, and then release those I lead.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't throw away your keys

Have you ever lost your keys? How limited does that make you feel? You can't drive, can't get in your house or office at work. Without those little pieces of metal you can do very little of the things that seem to common to us in our daily lives.
I see in Hebrews 10:35 that there is another key that God has given us that if lost will cause us to miss out on something God wants us to view as common.
Hebrews 10:35 says "Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward," (NASB).

Obviously there is an implication that my confidence can be lost as I go through my life in reltaionship with God. The devil is attacking my confidence at all times. If he can get me to decrease my level of confidence in who Jesus has made me to be, he can get me to back down from a lot of battles.
But what so many believers miss is that there is also this bonus 'great reward' that God wants us to have through the maintaining of our confidence and that the devil wants to steal from us by the destroying of the same. Some people would take this to be a proof that salvation can be lost and that the great reward is eternity in heaven; but I believe that is a short sighted perspective of the rewards God wants us to have.
Yes, heaven is going to be amazing! Yes, it is the ultimate reward! But God taught us to pray that we would experience life on earth as it is in heaven. There is no sadness, sickness, pain, lack, sin, etc. in heaven and God taught us to pray for that life to be a reality in this life! Now believing that will take some confidence.

I want so desperately to live my life to the fullest that God has planned for me. But God never forces us to be successful. He will never reward a lack of faith or confidence. So it is my job to hold firmly to my confidence at all times, at all costs, in order to see that great reward God has for me!

We must remember that our confidence is the key to our great reward. These rewards are meant to be common parts of our daily lives as Christians. To throw away your confidence is like deciding to throw away your keys. Both decisions will instantly limit your ability to live to your potential. Both will ultimately rob you of your potential.

So i dont know about you but this is my decision in response to this. I will not throw away my confidence! I will not allow the devil to lie to me! I am the righteousness of Christ and I have a Father who loves me. It is my Father's good pleasure to give me all of His kingdom and to fulfill the desires of my heart!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get it yourself!

Joshua 17:14-18 'Then the children of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given us only one lot and one share to inherit, since we are a great people, in as much as the Lord has blessed us until now?” So Joshua answered them, “If you are a great people, then go up to the forest country and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and the giants, since the mountains of Ephraim are too confined for you.” But the children of Joseph said, “The mountain country is not enough for us; and all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both those who are of Beth Shean and its towns and those who are of the Valley of Jezreel.” And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—saying, “You are a great people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot, but the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.”

The tribe of Joshua has indeed been blessed by God and has asked for more land to be given to them as a result. Joshua's response is not, 'oh but of course'. Rather, he replies by saying IF you are a great people then go get your lot yourselves.
Like a spoiled child the tribe replies that the task at hand is too great for them because of the people in the land and their advanced arms system. But it does no good; Joshua agrees that they need more than one lot of land because of their size and says they must clear their own land and drive out the inhabitants if they want it.

I see two major points here.
1. There comes a time in our development as Christians that we become responsible for our own growth. The battles will still need to be fought and land cleared, but it's up to us to manage that ourselves and stop burdening those who trained us up to that point to continue doing the work for us. In what places do I need to start doing the work myself?
This is also a good lesson to learn from Joshua's perspective. In what places do I, as a leader, need to kick some of those I lead out of the nest, trusting that they are big enough to start doing some of their land clearing and development on their own?
2. There is also a prophetic edge to Joshua's words in verse 18. He says that the tribe of Joseph will most definately clear the land and drive out the inhabitants, despite their supirior arms! It's like God is saying, 'Growth comes at a cost to your comfort, but don't assume that just because you are not comfortable I will not make you victorious.'

There cn only be one appropriate prayer response to these lessons:
God I know You have blessed me greatly. Show me the land You want me to take. I will take it!
I also thank You for those in my charge. Show me the land they are to take and I will release them to take it!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm a happy fool

In the New Living Translation, 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 says, 'So
where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's
brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look
foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never
know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to
save those who believe.'

My first reaction to this was to picture God sitting in heaven &
smiling every time one of us thinks we've discovered some new wisdom.
But that doesn't quite sit right me. I believe more that God is
grieved every time one of His creation wanders off into the
intellectual world in an attempt to find the meaning of life.
God did not decide to make our wisdom foolish because He thought
it would be funny to observe our flounderings. God is simply
infinately greater than any human mind could comprehend. His wisdom
will subsequently be far beyond our grasp.
But what is astounding is that God, who's ways are above our ways,
made the choice to reveal His wisdom to us!

I learn humility from this. The infinately wise God loves me
enough to give me a leg up in my abundant lack of wisdom through the
foolishness of the preached word. Furthermore, I have been called to
be a bearer of this foolish wisdom!
I am humbled by the magnitude of my calling yet thankful that even
though I am a fool, that means I am perfect for the job.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh dang! I might be a Pharisee!

Mark 2:17 "[Jesus] said to them, 'Those who are well have no need of
a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the
righteous, but sinners, to repentance.'

This reminds me of a discussion I got into after Pastor Ken's message on Sunday in which he said, "The church will never change the world if we continue to hang onto out consumer mentality about church". Some friends and I were talking about how we are called to have God change our lives, but must then be responsible to be a part of God changing the lives of other people through us! It is all too often that people come to a worship gathering with a "What can I get?" mentality rather than the "What can I do?" mentality represented and encouraged by Jesus. It has often been said that The Church is the world's only organization that exist predominantly for those outside of itself. Sadly, this becomes less and less true as we continue to consume God's resources without regard for those outside who have no connection to God on a personal level.
They are sick and dying. They are the ones for whom Jesus came. And yet they are ignored unless they take initiative to come inside our inward facing circle. This is exactly what the Pharisees of Jesus day were guilty of!

I wonder what ratio is of time I spend focussing on those inside the
Church to those outside. An honest assesment would be pretty bleak.
Jesus did not come for the healthy but the sick. He certainly did not
send me to do something different than His own purpose!
How do I fix this?!

Jesus, You came for a very specific purpose; to call the lost to come
to life. You have sent me to be your ambassador now and I have not
lived up to the full extent of my calling at all times. Please forgive
me for the places in my heart that are bitterly Pharisaical! Remove
any of the distaste in my mouth for the lost and increase
my passion to GO into all the world as You have commanded me to do!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

God is Seasonal

Scricture: Leviticus 26:3-4 ‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, (4) then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.'

Observation: It is important for us to recognize the use of the word 'season' in this context. So many have been led to believe that when God speaks of giving us physical blessings that He always means that we will become rich and have more than we could ever need. While this may be true in some cases, it is short sighted to assume that this is how God always functions. Here, God's promise is that He will give rain in its season, not always. He goes on to say that threshing will last till vintage and vintage until sowing. There is no overflow in this particular promise; but the is certainly no lack!
It seems to me that God wanted them to know the seasons for a reason. Perhaps so none of God's blessing would go to waste. Not one rainy day would come without God's kids being prepared for it; not one harvest without His children waiting in anticipation to pull it in!

Application: As a follower of this great God who has promised to supply all my needs according to His riches in glory, I must prayerfully take stock of the Promises of God for my life. God is seasonal. There are times His promise is to bring me through the rain, others when He has provided more than I could ever think to ask for sothat I may be a blessing to someone in a different season.
I must not be wasteful of God's seasonal provision. I do this when I complian in hard times or when I think I was the one who brought the blessing to my life. I have been given a great blessing above all material things; to serve a God who loves me and knows what is best for me! I count it pure joy no matter what season I may be in, knowing that God has a good plan to make me more like Him through every season!

Prayer: Father, You are so good to me all the time! Thank You for Your perfect provision in my life! I commit to look for a way to honor You in every season in my life!