Tuesday, April 19, 2011
In the generation we live in, it has become normal to be under stress. We all bear our loads. But Jesus makes a point here, that I believe a lot of us miss. He isn't just offering relief; He is telling us all, "You need a yoke!"
No one wants to admit that we don't know what we're doing with life. If we did know, then we wouldn't make mistakes we regret now would we? Nor would we stumble about spending so much time stressing out on what to do and how to do it. Realize this, and that puts you at a crossroads-- I can go at this on my own, or I can have a shepherd. See, shepherds lead and steer us in the right way. Psalm 23 talks of a "rod and staff", two common implements shepherds use. Matt.11 talks of a yoke, which is a steering device. Jesus makes it clear, it's not harsh or hard or burdensome; rather it is light and easy to be bourne. It's a steering device on our will, on our decision-making process.
As we entrust ourselves to Jesus and His Word, we submit to His shepherdship, by saying I will do what Your Word and Your Spirit leads me to do. I won't go it alone, I will look to You, Shepherd. He will impress upon your will a sense of fitting-ness before you make decisions. You will have a sensing that will grow over time spent heeding the yoke. Yet, you still decide what to do. It's still your life. You have to decide to want this yoke, and to heed it in order to be successful.
What a risk God took here, giving us our own free will. And what an offer He made, basically granting us success in everything we do, since the One doing the leading knows the end from the beginning, and loves you more than anyone ever can. Truly mind-blowing. Doing it the solo pilot way just doesn't make any sense.
Relief is momentary; this yoke is the long-term solution to stress and screwing up your life. I choose the long-term solution, I choose the yoke!
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
16 "How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents,17 'We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.'18 John came fasting and they called him crazy.19 I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riff-raff. Opinion polls don't count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating."
"You're damned if you do, damned if you don't" seems to be the message here. Thank You, Jesus, for exposing yet another characteristic of this last-days generation.
When people are offended with the truth of God's Word in the mouth of a messenger, there will always be some fault to find. John was too wild, too extreme. Jesus was too "worldly", too un-religious. Truth is, this generation did not want to welcome the Word, because of the change it would require. Change? Yes. You can't simply hear the Word, be a spectator, nod your head in agreement. The Message Jesus was driving forward (and John too) was REPENT, change, hearing the Word isn't enough; being of the chosen people isn't enough; rebirth and change required (Matt.3). So this was contrary to the living examples of the pharisees, those powerful church leaders of the day.
A preacher in the style of John comes into your life, and you will find fault with his roughshod and violent passionate approach. A preacher in the style of Jesus comes into your life, and his association with the sinners and worldly will bother you. Always complaining, like spoiled children. Sigh. When will our easily offendable brothers and sisters in this Body grow up and start to LOVE the Word, regardless?
A commitment to change is required. Gotta lose the snakeskin. Gotta change from within. No pat answers or spiritual buzz words will carry you through. Offense is the gate that whittles out the fake from the genuine, that separates the serious-about-God from the serious-about-self. Hallelujah, bring it on Father!
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. 'Nuff said. Clear as day. You can display your plastic fruit, but one bite and the show is over. The only opinion that counts, is Yours, Father.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
The remnant is a smattering of ragtag survivors, who survived the hypocrisy as well the growing blanket of apostasy that is choking out the word in so many of our brothers and sisters in all the churches around the globe. This is real war. There is a real enemy, a spiritual enemy. There is real work for us to do, in joining Jesus in undoing the works the devil has done.
Jesus came preaching solely in the context of the last days. "Occupy, until I come" is a military directive, a directive of the kingdom, to gain and keep the ground we are taking back from the enemy. That's right, we are to be on the offensive here. There isn't much time. We have to get working, we have to get on with it.
Do you remember that time Elijah was agonizing over this same Israel and cried out in prayer? God, they murdered your prophets, They trashed your altars; I'm the only one left and now they're after me!4 And do you remember God's answer? I still have seven thousand who haven't quit, Seven thousand who are loyal to the finish. It's the same today. There's a fiercely loyal minority still-not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They're holding on, not because of what they think they're going to get out of it, but because they're convinced of God's grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago.
With great glory comes great betrayal. This is the equation of our time.
Jesus had to deal with betrayal, at the hour of His glory. It's a recurring pattern, this is how the devil attacks. All in the hopes that our hearts will be ripped out and the wind sucked out of our sails, right at the moment when we need strength and resolve the most, right at the moment of God doign glorious things.
We cannot take it personally. Jesus is our example. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
And so the fight goes on, and that betrayal serves as a marker-- a marker of progress, of the Word being exalted, of Truth advancing.
"This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God.Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure.But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is."
Hallelujah, people! Occupy, and guard your heart like never before. What an honor to be a part of this work.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
We are a 3-part being, and in that lies the key to our power and sonship. When we unite, spirit, soul, and body, with the power of God, we are unstoppable, we are invincible. Notice that most of the devil’s attacks against us are to keep us disunited? Whether worry, or fear, or an attack against your health, or your finances--all designed to keep the schisms alive. Your mind, wracked with worry, contradicts the peace that wants to reign through your spirit. Your feelings, gripped with varying emotions, run off quickly when your spirit wants you to get a grip. That dis-unison is the main reason why we lose! The attacks are always so beatable-- we must learn to master ourselves and stay “one”.
When our being is united in proper order, and functioning that way, we line up with what God said of Himself: “The Lord your God is One; though shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength”. David in the psalms and Jesus in the gospels strengthened this, by repeating the same: “Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.” Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27 says “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence”.
And if we are to love this way, then it follows that we should fight this way too!
So line up your being with this word, your true created destiny, and start speaking and exclaiming your way into God’s desired reality for others and for yourself.
Next thing here, another key:
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” -Phil. 1:6 The Message
It hit me this way: one who is full of the complete range of exclamations to God is also one in whom doubt finds no room. Amen! I believe that. Look at it again: never the slightest doubt in my mind. Doubt, like fear, takes up space. And for fear, it’s love that displaces it and kicks it out of doors:
“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” 1 Jn 4:18 the Amplified.
For doubt, it is faith that does the displacing-- THIS kind of expressive, obedient, active faith, a faith that speaks and exclaims through a united vessel. United in spirit, soul and body. Displace your doubt NOW!
Monday, May 3, 2010
Philippians 1 caught my attention when I was reading it in the Message. I’ve always said that I want a life that I can be proud of. But I also want a life Jesus can be proud of! I want bountiful fruits from the soul, a life that makes Jesus attractive to all, and to get everyone I reach involved in the praise and glory of God. Nothing less!
I preached from here last Saturday night, and so many truths became so clear to me.
We all want verse 9-11 results in our lives. It reads:
9-11So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
But let's get the entire context figured out, so all the nuances become clear. I believe the path to having that fruit starts in verse 3-6:
3-6Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
Exclamations to God! This is it! Our ACTIONS of exclaiming opens up the gateway to prayer. I realized how much I do this, when I think of someone, when I get a text message, or hear how someone is doing, there is a matching exclamation. Sometimes in thanks, but oftentimes with other emotions. Like the time I heard a brother was sick, I got angry on his behalf, and started to exclaim out loud in rebuking that sickness and calling in his healing at that very moment. Or the time I remembered another brother in a distant land, I started speaking exclamations of peace and safety, to surround him with the love of God and with strength for his soul.
The first key to our exclamations having power and significance, is that they are done with full cooperation of our entire being. Said OUT LOUD, originating from unction in the gut and with oomph from the soul. And the kind of prayer this leads to is not wishing or hopeful prayer; it is powerful creative prayer that accomplishes the very word it sets out to do. Prayer using the keys of the kingdom--whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose shall be loosed in heaven--Jesus, Matt. 16:19. Imagine, the more we pray like that, how much will be done, how much will be transformed, how much will be energized into existence in someone else’s life! This is key!
I recognize that the other key to these exclamations is the ORDER in which we connect our mouths to the rest of our being. Do we have our mouth connected to our minds directly? Then we will say any old thing that pops in there, and have ineffectual words. Do we have our mouths connected to our souls? Then we will give expression to any feeling, without any sifting, and we will walk a very erratic course of life, a life tossed to and fro based on whatever blows our way. And we then will be beings whose substance constantly leaks out, open for anything else to fill us. Not good! Connect your mind to your spirit, and connect your soul to your spirit. Then your spirit, the eternal part of you, the part that hears God clearly, the part that discerns without error, can direct your mouth. Your spirit should sit as umpire! Shouting “safe!” or “you’re out!” to feelings and thoughts that desire your expression. Saying “foul!” when one of those tries to sneak its way to the creative portal called your spoken word. See, the devil knows the source of your power, and the importance of your tongue. In his strategy, all he needs to do is get you expressing these unsafe and unaimed or foul things, and you will be basically shooting yourself in the foot, and he doesn’t have to do anything else to sideline you. Get ahead of that and defeat his strategy by connecting your parts properly.
The power is ALWAYS in the spoken word! Get your mouth open, get your mouth connected to your God-inhabited spirit and SEE the change!
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010:
I am sitting here, thinking about all the stuff we go through, the drama, the stress, and it hit me: how many of us actually believe and trust that “all things work together for good, to them that love God and are fitting into His plans” when we are in the middle of an intense situation? How many of us connect to Psalm 23 “even though I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid, for You are with me...”? We need to expand our sight and take a good look from a different angle. “Bad things” happening to us may not be simply “bad things”. It could be a particular valley you are meant to go through, for God to take you to the other side. Especially those of who us who have stepped forward and said, “I’m all in, holding back nothing, take me where You want to take me Jesus, use me all the way, this is it”.
Meant to go through? I believe so. We all influence our own destiny. My choices determine my future. If I say, “Father, I am meant for more than this. Take me where you want me to go, I am here for that purpose” then you better believe He will acknowledge that! And we don’t realize the ensuing valley-passing is a direct result of that request. Our discontent is not with the pasture we are currently in; it is with the knowing that “there must be more than this that is meant for me, I want to be THERE!” So God, the best Dad there is, takes us by the hand and takes us there--often through the “death valley express route”. I find that looking at things this way relieves the strain, presents me with fresh light and puts fresh wind in my sails.
A frequent perspective check is always good. Good to sound things out, good to look at it again, from a different viewpoint. Good to question your own decisions and see if they’re still up to snuff. If it can’t stand up to my own scrutiny, it ain’t worth the doing.