Monday, November 29, 2010

A Heart Issue

The Holy Spirit is such a wonderful teacher!

This week’s thoughts were centered around the Book of Ezekiel.

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?

Some time ago 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?

Ask our God to give you a new heart; a heart that is tender rather than judgemental; a heart that hurts rather than condemns.

Consider leaving a comment ot encourage others.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Battle of Faith and Circumstances

Difficult times continue on and on for those who have been struggling due to the economy or difficult job or family issues. This is not the first challenging time in the world's history.

Jeremiah 33:10-12

"Thus says the LORD, 'Yet again there will be heard in this place, of which you say, "It is a waste, without man and without beast," that is, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say,
"Give thanks to the LORD of hosts,
For the LORD is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting";
and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the LORD. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,' says the LORD.

"Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'There will again be in this place which is waste, without man or beast, and in all its cities, a habitation of shepherds who rest their flocks.

Hear the word of the Lord. Circumstances do not determine the results in God's kingdom. Faith is the currency of the kingdom and faith is best expressed in words of thanksgiving to Jehovah Jireah, the God who provides.

Whenever your spirits begin to drag over circumstances there is a moment of choice. The world does not have this choice and Christians who do not avail themselves of the choices are subject to the whims of circumstances.

The choices: 1) circumstances determine my faith or 2) faith determines my circumstances.

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His lovingkindness is everlasting!"

Monday, November 15, 2010

Righteousness and peace have kissed each other

Psalm 85

O LORD, You showed favor to Your land;
You restored the captivity of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of Your people;
You covered all their sin. Selah.

The word "selah" means a significant pause to consider what was just said. The greatest that God's people could hope for was that God would "cover" their sin. How can we remain silent, those of us how have been redeemed, because our sin is not simply covered up be totally erased. Jesus became sin that we might be the righteousness of God.

You withdrew all Your fury;
You turned away from Your burning anger.
Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.

Romans 8:1 "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". Notice that this statement is in no way conditional. Our righteousness is but filthy rags in God's sight. The righteousness of Jesus that is accounted to us absolute!

Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
Will You not Yourself revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?

This is my biggest frustration with the people of Jesus. Do we not realize what has been done for us? How can we not rejoice in every circumstance? God's mercies are new every morning for His people it just remains for us to find them.

Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD,
And grant us Your salvation.

Their prayerful longing is the very thing that we take for granted. Our lives display our level gratitude and our level of understanding our position in Jesus.

I will hear what God the LORD will say;
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.

Do you hear his voice? He is speaking constantly. Please realize that this part opens up with the statement: "I will hear". We live in a noisy world. Everywhere we go there is noise and distraction. This noise has been put their for the very purpose of clogging our ears so we can not hear out God. To hear Him we must purpose to hear Him!

Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.

Salvation = glory in the land. The church has fallen asleep. The world is the worse for the lack of glory that we openly display.

Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

This portion of this psalm has rocked me to the core. To my mind, love and godly truth seem to be separated. Either God can choose to love us or He can continue to stand for truth but God had found the only way, Jesus, to allow the two to meet.

Righteousness and peace are strained in today's world. We see many examples of angry "righteousness" in many of the religions of the world, including the Christian religion. God's righteousness in impeccable. His standards are beyond excellent yet He found the only way, Jesus, to find peace by accounting righteousness to those who don't deserve it.

Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.

The first four chapters of Proverbs displays how available wisdom is for those who seek it. We have been "sold a bill of goods" that possessions and positions are more valuable that simple wisdom. The false god of financial "security" has diverted us from truth.

Indeed, the LORD will give what is good,
And our land will yield its produce.

The simple design of God's creation is the provision for His creation. We hoard but don't have, we gather but still we lack, we chase but never catch and wonder why our lives are so empty. Are hope is in the getting to the next weekend, our relief is looking toward our next vacation. All empty shells!

Righteousness will go before Him
And will make His footsteps into a way.

The "way" has been set as a path before us. Choose this day which path you shall trod. Choose carefully for the easy one, the broad one, leads to destruction. It is the narrow way that leads to life!

Please consider leaving a comment to challenge or encourage others.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A New World

The deal of a lifetime; no. The deal of an eternity!

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

When I ask a Christian, "What did Jesus do for you?" The common answer is that "He died for me". Although that is true, it is so very far short to the total picture.

Too many Christians fail to understand their true position in Jesus. We have, indeed, become the righteousness of God unless we continue to labor under the opinion that we are simply "redeemed sinners". Scripture indicates that we are so much more than that!

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

What old things, that have spiritually "passed away" are you still cultivating. Isn't it time to agree with God and let go? Allow the "new things" to come. There is a whole new world designed for "new creations". Why not join us?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Courage cancels faith

What is it that God could ask you to do that would cross the line of your faith? Be honest now!

Now large crowds were going along with Him (Jesus); and He turned and said to them,
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.
"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Luke 14:25-27

I had the opportunity this week to pray for a christian brother who need courage to do something. It struck me how often we expect that we need courage when what we really need is faith. Courage is a false substitute for faith.

We have been "sold a bill of goods" about courage. Faith is diametrically opposed to courage. Faith is not having the courage but doing the thing that you should do anyway.

We simply want to pursue comfort and it has cost us everything God values. It costs us our freedom.

Allow God to expand your faith at the very risk of your comfort.