Monday, April 30, 2012

The Heart of the issue!

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 very 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, April 23, 2012

Deep speaks to Deep!

Have you ever been in a difficult position? Of course you have, but have you ever been in such a difficult, hopeless position that your heart ached?

I think that is where we find Hannah after years of humiliation and failure brought her and her aching heart to the temple whether in faith or simply in desperation we will never know.

A little background might help us understand Hannah’s heart.

You see, Hannah was one of two women that her husband had taken for a wife. As difficult as this might be ordinarily, the situation that had arisen within this family was that one woman had children but the other, you guessed it, Hannah did not. Well you can’t hide a problem like that for very long. There can be no doubt as to who has the problem.

The matter was complicated by the person that scripture calls Hannah’s rival. The woman who had children "bitterly provoked" Hannah to irritate her.

The situation had become so serious that her husband, who and done various things to show his support and love for Hannah, cries out in frustration to her, "Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"

I sure that none of us have ever been where Hannah found herself at this point. There is a point where the hurt can not hurt anymore, where one just mentally "throws up his hands" or "throws in the towel"
Scripture tells us that Hannah, was "greatly distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly".
After some interaction with the priest regarding her actions Hannah explained, "I poured out my soul before the Lord".
There are times when we stand strong in the strength of the Lord and we pray with boldness and confidence. There are these other times which seem somehow less valuable; less faithful.

We easily comprehend and admire the faith of a prayer offered by someone who prays like he knows personally the One to whom he talks. To pray with someone who prays expectantly is a wonderful experience. These opportunities are easy and welcome and wonderful.

There are things that we should not miss about the faith of the Hannah type of prayers.

There exists in a believer a level of faith that is buoyed by our convictions, by our experiences or by our commitments. There is yet another level of faith that we find when everything is stripped away and all we find left is the core of one’s being. The times when all pretensions, all suppositions, absolutely everything but one’s existence is let go, a level of faith remains.

This faith is what lies at the very core.

Jesus has written that core faith in the recesses of our hearts (Hebrews 12:2). It will never fail us nor will it ever desert us. It is the direct connection to Him.

( the story of Hannah is found in the book of I Samuel chapter 1)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Too Wonderful to be fully believed.

Where can I go from Your presence? the psalmist asks.

And continues, where can I flee from Your Spirit?

Have you ever come to grips with the fact that there is absolutely nowhere you can go that God is not already there?

If I take the wings of the dawn; if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will hold me, your right hand will lay hold of me.

It is one thing to mentally ascent to the fact that God is everywhere; it quite another dimension when you understand that He holds you, even more, that His (strong hand) right hand holds you tightly.

The psalmist finally proclaims, such knowledge is too high for me, I simply cannot attain to it!

These words of the 139th psalm are only the beginning of the description of how tenderly and completely God cares for you. Open the 139th psalm and hang-out there for awhile. While you are there, talk openly with the God who loves you so incredibly even though He knows you completely!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Milk or Solid Food?

How long have you attended church?  

What would you think of one who attended high school for that long?  Even if he/she only took one class per week, should he reconsider his/her situation? this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. Hebrews 12-13

There are two applications to this message for you to consider:

First, how successful is the current way we do church?  Each week gather and each week we go home pretty much as we arrived.

Second, isn’t it time to change something personally?  Are you going to continue to just go with the flow or are you going to do something radical.  Isn’t the “word of righteousness” worth risking?

Finally, if you consider this message worth hearing. would you refer you friends to this blog?  Maybe together we can begin to effect change of the number one consideration above.

Monday, April 2, 2012

There is a Light!

You are the light of the world….Jesus (Matthew 5:14)

Think for a moment about that statement…

What strikes you as you encounter this stark statement of Jesus?

Did you notice that it is a rather certain statement; that He said "we are" not "we might be"?

Light is so very important . Have you noticed that it even jumps out in the darkest night regardless of how far away it might be? The light of one single candle will bring a warm glow and visibility in a dark cold room.

The importance of light was evidenced in the beginning when God selected the time of light creation. The very first act within the account of creation was God’s statement, "Let there be light". Genesis 1:3

Fascinating, beyond comprehension is our God. Light was created on the first day of creation but the sun and stars were not created until day four. The power of light is beyond the vehicles that carry it.

1 John 1:5 states, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.
You, undoubtedly, have taken note of the continual battle between darkness and light. Withdraw the light in any room, or in any society, and the darkness moves in. Contrary, interject light into the dark place and the darkness literally flees; it cannot leave fast enough.

John 1:5 says, "the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it."
There is no compromise between light and darkness. They simply cannot exist in the same place at the same time.

You are the light of the world, Jesus said. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp stand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.

How secure is your basket? Perhaps we all should invest some "one on one" time with Jesus seeking His opinion on the size and security of our baskets.