Monday, May 25, 2009

It Is No Secret

It is no secret what God can do. What He's done for others, He'll do for you..."

These beginning words to an old Christian song present a wonderful message.

It is no secret for many reasons not the least of which is Jesus told us! "The things that I do you shall do also and greater things shall you do because I go to the Father..."

God has chosen to do much of His work through us. Somehow we must re-awaken to the truth that God desires to pour His power out through us!

Seek all that God desires for you in faith!

Don't settle for less.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Heart of Peace

The Holy Spirit is such a wonderful teacher!

First let me explain how the Holy Spirit has shown me not only the message but has punctuated the message with the deep feelings of the message.

Do you remember a time when your heart hurt?

This last week Sheryl and I went to the shopping mall to do a little shopping. As we walked down the mall she decided she wanted to stop at a particular store to buy a gift for a friend. The store is a small, busy store so I decided that I didn’t need to join her in the store but, instead, would stand guard outside doing a little people watching.

Little did I know that this was the time that the Holy Spirit had in mind to show me the depth of God’s love. As I was scanning the crowd, down the mall walking in my direction was a father and his young daughter. My attention was immediately drawn to them. The father was a youngish, tall man and the girl was somewhere in the elementary school years age. She was looking a bit unkempt; her hair was straggled and her coat was half on and half off.

As they approached my post, the father was looking straight ahead while his daughter bounced around him trying to earn his attention. The best way that I can describe her actions to you, and every unfitting, is of a young puppy jumping around trying to get the attention of its master. She skipped and hopped around on one side of him; then quickly darted to the other side to do the same, jabbering all of the time. NOT ONCE, did the father even look down, smile or, in any way, acknowledge her.

My heart ached for that young girl. As I write this, my heart still aches!

There was a time in history when God specifically identified individuals with hurt hearts: Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voice, “Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in hand.” And behold, six men came from the district of the upper gate which faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among them was a certain man clothed in linen at whose loins was a writing case. And they went in and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in lined at whose loins was the writing case.

And the Lord said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.” But to the others He said, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity, and do not spare…but do not touch any man on whom is the mark…” Ezekiel 9:1-6

Perhaps the saddest thing about this history is that it only took one person to mark those whose hearts hurt but it required six to lay out the judgment upon those whose hearts were cold.

Has there ever been a time when we substitute judgment for hurt hearts? To hear us talk about the state of our society one could quickly get the idea that we might be a tad judgmental. God looks for sighing and groaning and we give him gripes and disgust. The one dressed in linen looks for the troubled; the six with weapons look for the comfortable.

Jesus, displayed the depths of His heart one day, And when He approached the city (Jerusalem), He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! Luke 19:41&42

He said, further, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Matthew 23:37

I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hug that young, hungry for attention girl; or to grab the father and shake him out of his coma!

Surely you have experienced the hurt of a heart.

There is no place for judgment in the hearts of those whose hearts ache! There is only a longing for things to be set right; for peace!

Jesus, Isaiah states is the, Prince of Peace! 8:6

Do you know; I mean really know that in this day, even you, the things which make for peace are contained in HIM?

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Position With Benefits

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord. O my soul….

So begins Psalm 103. “Bless the Lord”. Surely this must be a mistake. How can we do anything that “blesses” our God?

While we maintain our independence and our own agendas, we control our own decisions. The natural course is for us to make decision after decision based upon our own ideas and habits. This is the precise place where we can bless our Lord.

The conscious, deliberate decision to redirect our thoughts toward Jesus brings blessing to our God. This is what Hebrews 13:15 calls a “sacrifice of praise”. Sacrifice is referred to as a sweet aroma to the Lord throughout scripture.

Psalm 103 continues: And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all of your iniquities;
Who heals all of your diseases;
Who redeem your life from the pit;
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things…

The purpose for our blessing the Lord is to please Him. The accompanying benefit to us is that it changes and softens our hearts and clears our vision. We refocus our spirits toward the “benefits” that we have received from Him.

As our hearts are softened our spirits begin to soar. The circle begins: we bless the Lord, the Lord blesses us which leads us toward blessing Him more and Him blessing us more, blessing Him, Him blessing us….

It is absolutely critical for us to understand that the order of this blessing is important. If we were to hold out for God’s blessing before we blessed Him, we would be waiting a long, long time. Our focus is askew and no matter what blessings He sends we will miss.

Choose to “bless the Lord” this week and “forget NONE of His benefits”!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Little Child Shall Lead

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all. Mark 10:15

Consider how a child “receives” things. Particularly, during the Christmas season we can see the exuberance of a child who receives gifts.

Many young children awaken early in the morning, excited for the new day. Magnified beyond all reason is the energy on Christmas morning. A child has an inner expectation about the new day. Energy, inquisitiveness, unbounded joy flow out of the innocent lives. What about this picture is required to “enter the kingdom of God”?

Faith is about expectation. Faith is about energy, inquisitiveness and unbounded joy. As a matter of fact Jesus taught us about expectation when He said, …I say to you, all things for which you pray, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you. Mark 11:24

To actually believe that God will grant our requests would bring expectation. To see the results of His gift would bring unbounded joy and a persistent inquisitiveness regarding His desires.

We can choose to enter the kingdom today and everyday or we can choose to dwell in the drudgery of this world and just wait until the day that we die before we really begin to live.
The key to enter the kingdom now has been provided for us; it is our option to choose to open the door!

Living by faith isn't natural and it isn't easy. We must choose!