Friday, July 31, 2009
I’m kind of up against the wall here lately. Waiting to see what happens with where I’m going to live in less than 15 days, how I’m going to pay for it if I do get a place, and just other things like my ministry that I feel I’m supposed to be doing. I feel God has spoken to me and given me words and scriptures and al that, but nothing has happened. I’m standing very much empty handed and putting all my hope in something I think I’ve heard from God.
Now this can be quite nerve racking if I let it be. You can very easily start to freak out and think things like, “Well, what if that wasn’t God?” “How do you even know God is speaking to you?” “Are you being lazy and just calling it ‘Waiting on the Lord’?” It’s really easy in these times for the enemy to creep in and blow all of that up even more, too. Literally, I am living on a prayer… ooooohhhh I’m half way there…
So it’s in these times that our faith is put to the test and we realize if we really mean the songs we’ve been singing. Is God really mighty to save? Is nothing impossible for Him? Even the old kid’s song, “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do! (For you!)” You have to pretty much look at yourself and say, “Do I believe these words or not?”
We must believe. We must believe that God ACTUALLY SPEAKS to His children , and that Jesus IS the Good Shepherd and knows how to lead His flock. We must believe that if God’s put it in you, then it will be so.
See, the problem is that so many people give up on the promise and their faith because nothing’s happened. We live in a society where success is measured by time. If you haven’t graduated by [now] it means you’ve been screwing around too long. If you don’t own your own business by [now] you’re not trying hard enough. If you ain’t married by [now] it means something’s wrong with you. In the Kingdom of God, though, it’s not about time. It’s about faith and the voice of the Lord. Don’t be afraid to wait. Patience and laziness are two entirely different things.
“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
Faith and patience always get the promise.
If you’re in the middle of July in Florida, how could you ever believe that it will get cold and Christmas will come if we haven’t seen it happen before? It’s like 900 degrees in summertime. You can’t even walk outside without shoes on because your feet will melt into the pavement and you’ll be stuck there to the ground like a statue, waving at people walking by. You can’t feel winter coming. You can’t see it coming. But it always comes. And we know it will because we’ve seen it happen before. In the same way, remember the things the Lord has done in your life and know that He will do it again. He is more faithful than the seasons.
So don’t lose heart because it seems like things are taking forever and will never come about, it’s a testing of your faith.
“I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.”
Sometimes you have to fight for your faith and persevere for your peace. I know there’s been times been times where I’ve been going through something and I’ve prayed and then God has given me peace about it, and then in no time I’ve lost that peace. Does that mean that God never gave it to me? No. it just means that you have to fight to hold onto what God gives you sometimes. We have an enemy that wants to take what God gives you.
“The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
You know sometimes I forget that God is stronger than the world He created. It’s all His. He knows what He has made and how it works. And I think these verses sum everything up:
“29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
It’s comforting to know that God knows. He knows what we need even before we ask. So ask. Don’t lose hope just because you can’t see what’s happening or how it all plays out. The only we need to see is Jesus.
The day after I wrote this, I got a call from two of my close friends, Alex and Mike, about them needing a place to live, so we’re getting a place together now. I didn’t know where I was going to be living in a matter of days, but God provided!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I consider myself open, but also very closed off when it comes to my faith. Certain things I will never be shaken on, they are the foundations of my faith, but some things I am open to at least thinking more about and researching and asking questions about.
But lately I’ve been frustrated because, quite frankly, it is annoying at how many differences we have over the Bible. I wonder if God is annoyed, too. But if He is, you’d think He would have written things out more clearly, where there are no grey areas. But come to think of it, I guess He did that with the Law and all those very exact rules written down, AND STILL people couldn’t get it. And now at least we have the Holy Spirit, the one who helps us understand in our faith.
The more I search for knowledge and the more I look outside of just the scriptures to things like commentaries, preachers, and books, the more I see that things aren’t as clear as I wish they were.
The problem I see in much of it, though, and even in Godly men and women, is there is a three letter word America is quite familiar with… “Ego.” I mean it’s amazing the extent of claims people will make just to say, “Look, I’m right!” There’s an old John Reuben lyric that’s always stuck with me, “We could agree to disagree and move on, but humans love proving each other wrong.”
What is man’s obsession with being right? It’s contradictory to itself because the more they want to be right, the farther they move away from Truth. The need to put someone in their place or be the first to figure something out becomes the obsession, taking away the obsession and desire they should have for the Lord.
Some men have such a desire to break away from the tradition and the acts of being conservative. But I think some people want to be so edgy that they end up falling off the edge. They end up in territory that is completely false, but they’re there so they stick with it and take the “The church can’t hang with me” cross and act like they’re a martyr for their faith, when in reality, they are the ones who have killed it themselves.
Now I’m not saying the pursuit of knowledge of the Scriptures is wrong and that we should all be satisfied with what we learned 10 years ago and leave it at that. But we have to keep ourselves in spiritual check. Keep an attitude of humility. Because the Bible makes it clear-
1 Corinthians 8:1-3,
“Knowledge puffs up but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.”
I think a good way to tell people’s motives behind their pursuit of a deeper knowledge of God is to see how quickly they are willing to get into a debate, and how quickly they are willing to help someone. True wisdom is preceded and followed up by humility.
The thing about God is that He hates pride. So in your pursuit of knowledge, get ready to be put in your place by the Living God. Check your motives for what you do. But yes, seek seek seek after the Lord! Go deeper! There is so much of God that we know nothing about! He wants us to find Him in new ways. But we cannot let our desire to know take the place of our desire to know God. And to be honest, our minds will never fully comprehend God. If you work Him down to rationality, you’ve missed Him. He is not a God of facts, He is a God of faith.
2 Timothy 2:23
“Have nothing to do with foolish arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”
So lets stop trying to prove each other wrong and start trying to prove that we love each other.
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Well, I can’t think of a better point to prove than that.
Monday, July 20, 2009
“Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, He will trample down our enemies.”
Nehemiah 5 (specifically verses 5 and 9-12)
5:5 “…But we are powerless, because our fields and vineyards belong to others.”
Nehemiah was trying to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem and some of his workers who were poor were dealing with problems put on them from their own people. (Neh 5:5 – Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our countrymen…) They had their sons and daughters in slavery because their fields and vineyards belonged to others, even though it was theirs.
What in your life has God promised you or given you that seems like the enemy has taken? Love? Peace? Family? Even possessions? I can think of things in my own life.
This is not a prosperity message, but I do believe that God wants to restore and rebuild in our lives. In John 11:25 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life;” He is life from death. He is the transformation and the restoration. If God has promised you something, then it is yours because His word is good. But someone is always going to want what the Father gives you, because every gift He gives is good. (James 1:16-17, 1 Corinthians 4:7)
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
So Nehemiah goes to the ones who were causing the trouble to his people in verses 9-12 and calls them out and demands that they give it al back and fear the Lord. And verse 12 says that they did!
We must not let ourselves get taken advantage of by the enemy! He is always looking to destroy our faith, love, joy, peace, and our families by using lies and fears of this world. We must not let him, because God has given us His fields and vineyards to produce good things.
See that’s the thing about God. He doesn’t just bless you so that you can sit on it and say, “Look how much God loves me.” He blesses you so you can bless others, and you can say, “Look how much God loves them and me.”
In times like these, we must put our faith in God, not in the wisdom of man, because “the wisdom of man is foolishness to God,” (1 Corinthians 3:19). And Psalm 108 says, “the help of man is worthless, with God we will gain the victory.” Key words there – “With God,” not “with man.”
Go with God and get some victory in your life. It’s coming. It really is coming.
Friday, July 17, 2009
I feel kind of like the boy that went to hear Jesus speak to the 5,000, and all I have is 5 loaves of bread and 2 lousy fish. Odds are they were not the finest pieces of bread and the most desirable fish that kings would want. But our King did.
I struggle so much with insecurities and what God is and has called me to do, who I am in general, how I look, and my abilities. I really feel like if you put everything together that I have, it probably would not amount to much more than 5 pitiful pieces of bread and 2 plain fish. But for some reason, Jesus wants that. He wants me.
The beauty of it all is that when our loaves and fish are put into the hands, the holy hands, of Jesus Christ, we can watch them become something so much greater. He can use them, multiply them, taken them so much farther, and actually feed people with them.
To me, and everyone else, all we may see is a sorry excuse for a meal, but Jesus sees a great feast. Our gifts, our callings, our desires… they all belong in the hands of Jesus, as well as our lives completely.
I’m putting what I have in the hands of Jesus and expecting to see miracles and watch Him take what I have and use it far beyond what I have ever thought I could possibly do with it.
--Jesus, this is all I have. Some bread and some fish. I wish I had more options to choose from, but I don’t. But I give it to You. Bless it. Use it. It’s Yours. You are the God who made man from the dust, and You can take the dust of my life, my loaves and fish, and make something amazing from it. And I know You never leave anything incomplete. You are a God who finishes what He begins (Philippians 1:4-6). I love you so much Jesus. It’s all Yours. Amen.--
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
There are miracles. There really are, but they must be received. They must be believed in. They must be hoped for. Even if you can’t quite see it just yet, you still have to know that it is there. That is what faith is. “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Or, it is “being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Can you believe in someone you cannot see? Can you trust words never audibly spoken? Can you wait for a promise that has not yet come?
Miracles can happen everyday. When someone believes in faith unseen in a world full of doubt that demands proof, a miracle has taken place.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
“Your battlefields will become your altars. With what the devil brought about to harm you, the Lord will heal you.”
In Old Testament times, when God would deliver the children of Israel somehow, like in a battle or something, they would make an altar right where that was. So when they passed by it again, it would be a reminder of the deliverance and goodness of the Lord. (Exodus 17:15-16, Genesis 35:7, 1 Samuel 14:35, etc…)
In my life, and in others’, I’m declaring the places we have battled will become the places we break bread. The places we have been wounded will become the places that we worship. The Lord will deliver you out of your troubles, and your heart ache will become your heart’s praise.
“Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He answers him from His holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
Here in the power of Christ we stand. So get some stones together, I feel like we’re gonna be building some altars pretty soon here.
Monday, July 13, 2009
No one is really put together are we? The way this life seems to work is that you get a little bit of growth and then you are knocked down again. You turn your back on your past and before you can completely turn around, there it is staring you in the face again. Sins that we've confessed, cast out, and condemned seem to hunt us down and have free reign in our lives at times.
Why is this? Why does life work like that? It's as if God made us just strong enough to realize we can change our ways, but too weak to pull that change off. Could it be that God's perfect design is imperfect people?
God makes all things well, but He also makes all things new.
Ecclesiastes 7:29 - "This only have I found: God made man upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes."
God made us upright and in His perfect design, but sin corrupts and perverts perfection. We are born with sinful natures because of the fall of man, and in a sense powerless to the power of sin. Helpless and hopeless.
But through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross, we have been given the power to change. The power to be free. The power to be made perfect again the eyes of the Father.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come."
We have been created weak enough to find the strength of our Savior and Healer, Jesus Christ. You see, Jesus is so amazing that He can take our sin and create what is now gain for us; He can produce love from our sins.
Luke 7:47 - "Therefore, I tell you, her [my, your] many sins have been forgiven-- for she [I, you] loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
And that is why I love Jesus so much. Because I am so weak, because I have sinned so many times, because I am not put together, and I am not ok. But I have been forgiven much, so I cannot help but love much.
Our pasts, no matter how distant or recent, cannot keep us from the love of Christ. For all of the extent of our sins, we can come to know the extent of His love, His great love for His precious children.
He has loved much. So much.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
with all the car problems i've been having lately, i feel that i've learned so much more, at least about car problems. feels like i've been to the mechanics about 20 times in the last 19 days. but these flat tires and broken things don't phase me no more. cause you can either get upset, or you can get even... wait that's not right. not get even, i meant you can either get upset or learn something new. you can learn how to rejoice in the annoying bad times, or you can sulk over it.
the night of my first radio show a few weeks back, i got a flat tire on the way to ocala, and i was getting drenched in sweat trying to change it and it was taking forever. i was getting upset, and then what i've been talking about just now hit me, i decided i was gonna just praise the Lord. i turned my speakers up in my car and put on "blessed be your name" and some hillsong stuff and just started singing. then, 2 angels appeared before me and said "do not be afraid." and then lifted the car up off the ground and filled the tire up with air and screwed in the bolts again...
ok that didn't really happen, but I did end up getting the tire changed and i did it with joy in my heart. the Lord really just made things better, that's the best way i can describe it. you see, your attitude affects everything.
what you put in your atmosphere changes everything. if you put negativity and doubt in your atmosphere, then you are going to live in a world full of it. but if you put the joy of the Lord and His words in your atmosphere, that atmosphere of God can protect you from attacks of the enemy and of this world. stupid things that eat some people alive won't phase you. not to say we're never emotionally moved by anything or nothing can ever annoy us, but you'll be surprised what some time with Jesus will do for your life. petty prayer allows petty things to destroy your life. but persistent prayer can bring about persistent joy, a joy that will hunt you down. that's pretty good.
check out the famous Psalm 23, verse 6-
"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all of the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Notice David doesn't say, "I will look for goodness and mercy and find it," he says that they will follow him, meaning they will go where he goes as long as he is walking with the Lord as his Shepherd.
Put the things of God in your atmosphere. pray and read your bible. praise the Lord even when you ain't at church. spend time with God, and all these dumb things won't phase you like they do other people. and that's good news right there!
trust and obey.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
check these verses out...
5 This is what the LORD says:
"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
7 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."
There is so much truth in this passage and so much good stuff. But the first thing that stuck out to me was that the difference to blessing and cursing in life is where you put your trust. Trust in man = cursed. Trust in God = blessed. And I really think it is just as simple as that. What really stuck out to me too was the fact that the Lord said, “Cursed is the one who trusts in man.” He said “cursed.” Not just “out of luck” or “too bad you missed out on this,” but cursed. Apparently God takes this whole trust and faith issue very seriously. I get the impression that He is angered by lack of trust and lack of faith. And that makes sense because the Bible says in Romans 10:17 that, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Ipso facto, God gives men faith. And for us to take the a gift from God and not use it… well yeah, I can see how that would be pretty annoying. God takes faith very seriously, and so should we.
I love the imagery of the tree planted by the river. If our faith is in God, we will blessed and never be lacking any good thing. While the rest of the forest (the world) is depending on rain (the economy, jobs, relationships, etc.) to give them what they need to live, the tree planted by the river (God – the River of life) doesn’t even care if it stops raining, because its roots run to the river. It has more than enough water. And I got a hunch that trees that grow by rivers are the strongest. Run your roots to the River.
Put your hope in the Lord or you will die. That’s blunt, but true.
trust and obey.