It’s A Stretch

It

Psalm 77:1-3 (ESV) I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

If I were to wake up with a headache, I would immediately get out of bed and walk to the kitchen. In the last cabinet on the left bottom shelf, there is a bottle of ibuprofen that has proven to give immediate relief in the past. As I reach for the container, popping off the lid, I take two little tablets with some water. After about fifteen to thirty minutes, the headache usually dissipates. Problem solved. Health restored. Simple, right? True story – my child (who goes unnamed) tells me that they have a headache. I give them directions as to where the pain reliever is located and tell them exactly how many pills are appropriate. A little while later the same child complains of headache. I ask, “Did you take some medicine?” The answer is “no”. Different child is feeling some pain from dental work. Same instructions given. Child continues to gripe about their mouth. Same question is asked, “Did you take some medicine?” “No…” I further inquire, “Why not?” Answer from ailing child, “I don’t like to take medicine.” Now it is me ready to hit the medicine cabinet…

My first kid wanted me to do if for them. They were waiting for me to go get the medication and a glass of water. I was supposed to bring it to them. Without asking, the assumption was that I would know and do it in response to their complaint. The second kid has a fear of swallowing pills. Rather than overcoming fear to receive the relief desired – this child would continue to tough out the discomfort instead. I am not a pill pusher. In fact, I am a borderline hippy when it comes to medication. The point of these illustrations is only to share some insight about the Lord today.

In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.

It is human nature to pursue God with our problems. To ask for relief, pray about problems and give Him a complete and detailed list of our desires. In the beginning, coming to the Lord like a child, leaving full of hopeful expectation. But as the relationship grows, it can also become stale and stagnant. We stop reaching for God’s Heart only seeking His Hand. When His Hand does produce what we want and how we want it – we stop reaching. In the day of my trouble…I seek the Lord. Same. In the night my hand is stretched out without wearying. Same. My soul refuses to be comforted. Concerning and still same. There are times when it is our nature to live in our consequence, dwell in our problems and make our situation the excuse of incapacitating faith that will not bend to relieve us or soften to sustain us, but will only be complete in our believing. Nothing is impossible for God. (Luke 1:37) If we believed this simple verse completely and if it was the conviction of our life – we would be fully restored and renewed sparking a revival of epic proportions.

Luke 5:12-13 (ESV) While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.

Faith in Jesus Christ will always produce a miracle. Oh I hear the naysayers, I have been praying for years. My body is not whole. My bank account broke. My loved one not saved. I have no peace. The list goes on and on. Faith will produce nothing until it is invested in Jesus Christ. You can love the Lord with all your heart, mind and body but if you do not trust Him enough to believe – it will do nothing to produce His Promises in your life. Obedience is essential. The man had leprosy. A common ailment in Biblical times. It made him a beggar and outcast. He fell on his face before Jesus and full of faith said, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” When was the last time, you fell on your face before Jesus and spoke similar words? Jesus didn’t hesitate for a moment, but immediately stretched out His Hand and healed him. Right there on the spot. Why? The Lord is ready to heal us. Renew us. Restore us. He is waiting on you. Jesus is waiting on me.

Matthew 12:10-14 (ESV) And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”  Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

The organized body called church has been infiltrated by preference rather than permeated by His Presence. Oh God is with us. Where two are gathered in His Name…He is right there. He is right here with all the power to save, heal, and deliver promised to those who believe. He can and will do exactly what His Word says that He will do. His Word cannot and will not return to Him void. So if the Lord is ready, willing and able according to His Word to do miracles, solve problems and heal bodies there is only one other explanation. We do not believe.

The man with the withered hand is an awesome illustration of church. He came to church with a problem. The religious folk had doctrine to follow. But then Jesus filled with the Presence of God showed up, and messed up the carefully planned service on the designated day. He gave the man one simple instruction – “Stretch out your hand…” He did. He was healed in that moment. I wonder if we are not experiencing the miraculous because no one is reaching out to Jesus. The fruit of our faith is believing. Believing is trusting. It means reaching when no else is reaching. Stretching our hand out when everyone is staring at us. It means doing what He asks in that moment to receive what He has for us! We want God to bring it to us where we are when the Lord is trying to deliver us from our current situation. We desire the healing but not the healer. The giving more than the giver. We want to be saved but do not have a desire for our Savior.

Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV)  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

A relationship will fall apart of one person stops reaching. The moment that there is not stretching to come together and continue in a relationship it is the beginning of the end. Jesus Christ offers openly to become our life partner. To shoulder the weight and carry the burdens of our life, but to give it all to Jesus means giving up the right to complain. It means reaching when others just stand there. It means stretching even in our discomfort to access the divine. The yoking of our life with Christ is a covenant relationship of continual exchange. He asks us to come to him. Take my yoke and learn from me. You will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy. My burden is light. We must simply come.

Psalm 143:5-6 (ESV) I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.  I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

To be completely honest, I don’t mind bringing my kids some meds and a glass of water. I love to take care of them. If I were to wait on them hand and foot, they would never understand what is required of them in life. Sometimes you have to reach for things even when it’s a stretch. I can give them what they need but it is up to them to heed my instructions and take what is given. God is a good father. Jesus is a faithful Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit is constantly cultivating God’s Fruit within us by faith. The trouble is that if we stop reaching – we will never take hold of what faith has in store for us. We drag our baggage into church and lug it right back out because we identify with the weight of it. To release it all to Jesus is an act of total trust. What if He doesn’t do anything? Oh, my friend, what if He does?

Psalm 84:11 (ESV) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

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On the Fringe

On the Fringe

Mark 6:56 (ESV) And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Well, I thought I had dodged it, but I was wrong. The mommy immunity let me down and sickness entered my body. After taking my husband and daughter to Urgent Care, on Christmas Eve eve, my throat was a little itchy and voice a bit nasally. I prayed that the Lord would keep me from befalling the virus that had spread through our home, workplace and church even assisting him with an immunity booster. However, by Christmas Eve, the itchiness was now soreness and I began feeling a bit fatigued. Waking up on Christmas Morning, it was clear it got me. Who has time to be sick on Christmas? Spending the day in bed was not my plan, but nevertheless that is exactly where it landed me.

The virus generally runs its course in seven to ten days. It has a timeline. As long as my body does what God designed it to do, my immune system will kick in and kick out the nasty invader. In the meantime, I must endure sniffles, sneezing, headache, sore throat and endless coughing. There is symptomatic relief which I will rely on. The Lord is my healer. He works in me mercifully to get rid of illness, but what I have discovered in illness and infirmity is far more telling than a common cold or occasional virus. When our health suffers or body aches, the contents of our heart is revealed.

Paul asked three times for the thorn in his flesh to be removed, God’s response to his inquiry – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The weakness in our body gives way to strength of heart. When we are weak and powerless, believers turn to the Lord in desperation. Job was blessed. He was a wealthy man with a flourishing family and successful business. When it was all taken from him, he still served the Lord. When his body afflicted, his heart turned in desperation to the Lord. Pride was eradicated and he was blessed double for his trouble. It would be easy to feel sorry for myself today. I am sick. I am tired. I don’t want to go to work. I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep the sickness away. God’s Grace is enough for me today. His Grace is power when I am weak. He perfects me with power when I do not succumb to weakness but give it all to Him.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (ESV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

The human heart has secrets. Darkness finds recesses to hide from the Light of God’s Love overtaking us. It is only when tested that our heart speaks such things. The human heart gives up its secrets in human weakness. Powering through is the human equivalent to perseverance and even persistence. But what do you do on the days when human strength and ability cannot deliver you? When pride hurts because the flesh is weak and cannot fulfill that which is desires to. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12) Faith is assurance of things hoped for and conviction of the unseen. Faith is challenged by doubt every day. The enemy of our soul offers us counterfeits, compromises and substitutions for God’s Very Best. In our weakness, it is easier to give in to such tactics rather than giving our weakness to the Lord. To make excuses as to why we are the way we are or for the condition of our suffering rather than seeking to live on the fringe.

What if the power to overcome every sickness, disease and illness is in the Presence of God? What is Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life that leads to complete recovery, restoration and renewal? Unfortunately most of the time, it is only the desperate that discover the true potential of Jesus Christ!

Matthew 9:20-21 (ESV) And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 

Twelve years is a long time to deal with an infirmity. The kind of illness this woman had impacted her not only physically, but financially and socially. She was a shut-in who only made trips to every physician. Living in the day and age that she did, there is no telling what she was subjected to in “modern” medicine of that time. When she heard about Jesus, she had to try just a touch of the fringe of his garment was supposed to bring healing to those who dared reach out. She made her way through the crowd despite her anemia. She was weak and weary but she had to know. Was it possible that power flowed from Him? She couldn’t resist the hope rising within her so she did it. She came up behind Jesus and touched just the hem of His Garment.

Matthew 9:22 (ESV) Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well.

To be desperate is to feel a sense of hopelessness that sometimes is so bad it becomes impossible to deal with. Are you desperate today? Sickness can make you feel that way especially when “modern” medicine can offer no solution to a physical problem. Brokenness can make us desperate trying to hold all the pieces of a shattered heart and devastated expectation in hope of finding a healer one day. There are many forms of weakness that may come our way each day. I wonder what would happen if rather than giving in to desperation, God’s People came into His Presence. All forms of desperation are marked by human weakness. The birthplace of God’s Power is in our inability to change our circumstance, solve our situation or heal our infirmity. In in places marked “impossible” or “never” that miracles are born of the dead dreams of human weakness. God wants to do the miraculous in us and through us. It is His Will for us to prosper in every season of life overcoming cycles of unbelief and doubt as the enemy tries to take what already belongs to us. Christ completed His Work on the Cross. New life as a new creation belongs to us. It is up to us to allow the Lord to complete His Work in us to have it all.

Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV) Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

I must remind myself of God’s Benefits when my flesh is weak and acting up. There will be seasons of drought and famine which only increases my hunger and thirst for more of Him. There is be days of infirmity and weakness which allows God’s Power to manifest in my life. There will be days of faith that relies strictly on the unseen reality of hope and it is more than enough to get by on. I must remind my soul of the benefits and blessings associated with my salvation especially when my flesh cries out. Jesus took the stripes that would become my healing. He bore a crown of thorns that would allow me to take captive every rebellious thought so I could have the Mind of Christ. He redeemed my life from death so there is always life for me. He has crowned me steadfast love and pursues me with His Goodness every day. He provides new mercies each morning. I have enough grace to last me from here to eternity. The people who received their healing lived on the fringe. They sought the Presence of the Lord no matter what the cost. The Lord is passing by today. He is offering all these wonderful benefits. Will you live on the fringe? Wait until He comes? Reach for His Robe of Righteousness? The Lord wants to revive, restore and renew you! Do not let Him pass you by.

Romans 15:13 (ESV) May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Issues

issues

Hebrews 11:6 (NLT) And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Life is full of issues. It is complicated, chaotic and just plain messy. The word “issue” comes from the “exire” or “to go”. To use the word to describe a problem is actually a form of slang not its original intent. We all have issues. Things that we deem problematic but also embrace as acceptable weakness. These issues are the foundation of our attitude and actions in life. They also can be crutches if not carefully discarded to the Power of Jesus Christ. These excuses line the path of many failures as human weakness claims victory over amazing grace that releases the Power of God through Jesus Christ. The true definition of an issue is the act of sending out or putting forth. Promulgation to make known by open declaration. It is the act of distribution. It is up to the individual if their life will be defined by their “issues” according to term developed by the world (and ruler of darkness) or if I will allow the Power of God to work in me and flow from me in this life.

It is all about faith. Faith is the game changer in life. It is the moment when I choose to remove my residency from this world including all natural conditions and circumstances to become part of the Kingdom of God inheriting every blessing and benefit that is there waiting for me. My issues can become the very thing that God uses to promulgate His Message of salvation, deliverance and healing to the dying planet. However, my issues must be changed into something worth sharing with others. In a state of disbelief, they are debilitating and messy. But subject to the Power of God – they are able to offer deliverance as a message. What can I do to obtain such a transformation in my mind, soul and body? Faith. It is all about faith.

Hebrews 11:1-2 (NLT) Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for. Faith in the Name of Jesus Christ is evidenced by it. But do I really believe in the Name of Jesus? Is there evidence in my life that I know there are unseen factors working for me and against me in my pursuit of the Kingdom? Do I live in alignment with such thinking? Faith is the reality. It is the credibility of one’s salvation and must not ever be taken lightly. It is not the lottery. It is not random. It is the intentional mindset that there is more to life than this and it exists purely in my connection to Jesus Christ which facilitates full adoption as Child of the Living God.

Ever since our son achieved victory over cancer by faith in Jesus Christ, many people have asked us to pray for them. This is a profound privilege which allows us to agree with them and kick the enemy where it counts time and time again. But my faith must connect with your faith to make it happen. It is the power of agreement. However, if you do not have faith in the Living God and Power of Jesus Christ – my faith will not be enough for you to overcome. Your miracle is in you. Your healing is in you. By grace you have been saved through faith, it must believe in the supernatural inheritance that is received as God’s Precious Child and Jesus Christ’s Beloved. Faith is granular in nature. It is difficult to achieve. We must overcome our issues and make them promulgated notices of Gods’ Power and Authority over our life.

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT) Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Do you believe in the blessings and benefits of faith? Do you believe that God will do all the things promised in His Word? Do you know what the Word says are such things for your life? Faith points to the Word of God as the Will of God for you. Faith adds links that keeps hope the anchor for our life. It is absolutely necessary to have all the Promises of God and His Power issued in our life. Grace allows us to experience all these things despite the times our weakness overtakes us. F

Let all that I am praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart. I will praise His Holy Name. “Let all” it is a process of turning over every aspect of our life that allows faith to take over fear. Belief to drown every doubt. To let confidence move aside cowardice. It is to take on the name Child of God and live like one. This is the evidence of faith that believes beyond what we see so we walk by faith and not by sight. It is a journey. Not a single encounter but multiple experiences that build on our first encounter. Salvation is only the beginning of God’s Process of Transformation. He is bringing dead things to life. God has a purpose locked in you that releases God’s Full Potential day by day simply when I choose to believe.

Mark 5:25-34 (NLT) A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition. Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?” His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

The woman with the “issue” of blood is a powerful story of deliverance. She is the perfect testimony of getting over our issues to allow the Power of God to take over our life. She had been bleeding for more than 12 years. Her body was anemic and weak. She had seen many doctors. She had exhausted her resources looking for a cure. The woman had gotten no better and it is unimaginable the many things she had been subject to in the name of medicine. She hear the name of Jesus. She believed. She went into the crowd. She touched the hem of his garment which I believe means she probably had to crawl through every one to get to the Lord. His Power healed her instantly. She withdrew. He called her. She could not remain a nameless face any longer and came to kneel before Jesus.

The woman got over her issues. Can I? Let’s talk about some of her issues:

Matthew 19:26 (NLT) Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

The woman could find no earthly cure to her infirmity. She had exhausted all options for medical treatment. She had spent all her time and money pursuing an answer to her problem. Now she entered the realm of hope called impossible. Faith is only needed when man can offer no solution. It is no wonder there are impossible opportunities in our life. To reach the end of human possibility is to enter the realm of hope where all things become possible if we believe. This is a crossroads in life each one of us come to. It is the choice to believe beyond this world or remain subject to our situation and circumstances. What is your issue today? Is it impossible? If not, you are on the verge of a breakthrough. You are at a pivotal point in your journey to eternity. Will you press in or give up?

 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT) Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The woman was weak from her issue. She was more than likely severely anemic which altered her appearance and ability to function. The decision to go to Jesus that day was not taken lightly. She would have to face all the people who shunned her because of her “issue”. It would challenger her body as she had no physical strength. She was completely overpowered by weakness. She did not let that stop her. It was time to press through. She heard the Name of Jesus and believed. Her belief in Jesus Christ was enough to empower her to get to Him that day. What about you? When faced with weakness where do you go? What do you do?

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)  I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Her faith made her press in to touch the hem of His Garment. Unlike others before her, she did not Jesus to do it her way. She literally crawled on the dirty street through the feet of those who trampled her because she believed that the Lord had something for her that day. He did. What about you? Do you truly believe that if you can simply touch the edge of His Presence that the Lord has something in store for you? If you do, you will seek Him wholeheartedly. You will humble yourself before the Lord because pride will not keep you from the blessings and benefits waiting for you as a Child of God. I believe the altars of our churches would be full again if someone was willing to give up their issues to fully accept the Power of God in their life.

John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the way. The woman did not wait for Jesus to meet her expectations but her full effort into making Jesus her Expectation. She believed she would be healed by just touching Him. She didn’t need or want anything else. Too many times our issues dictate our response to Jesus Christ. Rather than the issue of His Power in our life becoming our priority. We want God to heal us our way. We want Him to deliver us to our destination not His. We have all these issues in the natural that must be put away to have the supernatural. God’s Power works in grace because we need it. Every day I have new mercy because of my many faults and failures that become my issues. Today can be different if I choose to have faith in Jesus Christ and place all my expectations in Him. This means that He becomes My Way, My Truth and My Life completely.

“If a person suffers for a while from a complaint and seeks no medical advice, but in the end goes to the doctor, he invariably says, “You should have come to me sooner.” But it is the glory of Christ that He can heal those who come late to Him.” (Biblegateway.com) Reading this today, I could barely keep from just dissolving in tears. This is Jesus. He gives us the opportunity to accept His Grace and have His Power the very moment that we ask Him to be our Savior and Lord. Even in our struggle to live for Jesus, believe in Him, trust Him and know Him – He never berates us but meets us right then and there when we reach out and touch Him with faith.

Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Quickly the Physician saw the patient, and trembling with self-consciousness but too glad and grateful to falter, she confessed to her touch of His robe. “She told him all the truth.” She experienced that open confession is good for the soul. What a glow of gratitude her countenance must have had, as she publicly stated that her burden for twelve years had rolled away!” (Biblegateway.com) You are the Light. Light is not meant to be hidden but project and illuminate darkness. It is human nature to be ashamed of our weakness. Pride tells us to hide our issues. Faults are kept on tight wraps and failures glossed over in an attempt to earn some form of faith that is not reality. Faith is to fully accept God’s Grace and Power through Jesus Christ when we believe. If I don’t believe, I have nothing in the end. I will not overcome. I will not be victorious. When I am, it is my due diligence to share it with others. This is the Light. Faith becomes brighter when fueled by belief. With each issue given to God and resolved in His Power is an opening in our heart that allows His Light to shine in the world. We must stop trying to cover up our weaknesses and insufficiencies made complete in Christ and become the Light of the World that He indicated.

Do not be fooled. Everyone has issues that are in need of the Savior. Some are just better at hiding them than others. If you want the Resurrection Power of Jesus Christ to surge through your life making all things new it comes with a level of transparency that says, “Look what the Lord has done.” We must be willing to share the Gospel of His Love with others by relating such experiences. These are the life changing testimonies that will foster belief in other people. Their ability to identify with you and see the hope that has changed everything. Are you willing to be the Light today? Or are you allowing issues to dim Power of God within you today? This nameless woman earned a place as a Biblical legend. All she wanted was the healing power of Jesus to set her free. Her faith was small but has yielded a much larger return when she was willing to come to Christ overcoming all her personal issues so that His Power could become the issue in her life.

Revelation 12:10-11 (NLT) Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.

My Ministry

my-ministry

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT) The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

I am called to ministry. Immediately upon reading these words, many images probably came to your mind. Writer. Speaker. Teacher. Pastor. The list of offices endless from religious to simple government. However, I find that the more I am sure of who I am it becomes clear that the picture painted in my mind changes. I felt the tug on my heart to full-time Christian service as a teenager. Just out of high school, I was employed with one of the largest Baptist churches in the country. I was doing ministry. I was not a minister. Over the years, I tried to push the calling of God into the past. I missed it surely in my wanderings, failures, shortcomings and imperfection. I could make the cut. I wasn’t “good” enough to lead others to the Lord.

I wake up around 4:30 AM during the week to spend time with my Jesus before heading off to work. I need Him every single day. I need to know that my Lord is with me. To believe that He is in complete control of this chaotic existence called life. At 4:31 AM, my phone buzzed with a text message. Many times, our son who is a police officer working through the night will call or text on his way home. I am the only one up so get the pleasure of his company. Not today… it was a brokenhearted friend. My heart breaks for her. During the exchange, I share the things that I have come to believe through a completely broken heart that must rely on Jesus to keep together every day. So much hurt… So much brokenness… So much Lord… I hear Him speaking softly through the dark…”You were made for such a time as this…”

What if…ministry is not an official position? What if ministry has nothing to do with a title, paycheck, or keys? What if it didn’t offer a platform or any kind of affirmation at all? What if it is not a sermon or good preaching? What if it is nothing more than opening our heart to others and allowing the Spirit that keeps us together to pour out on them? The Lord has anointed me. Not like Jesus, but with the exact same Spirit. There is only one Jesus. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the Son of God. God is pleased with Him. He is the access point of my salvation. Walking through His Blood and showered in His Grace, I am made right in the sight of my God. Apart from Him I can do nothing. Some days I think I would not be able to take one more step or draw a single breath without my Savior.

Today as I read Isaiah 61 again, I realize that anointing is for the broken. Those who have it all together do not need it. Anointing must flow into an open and waiting vessel. We come packaged with selfish souls, sinful hearts and armors of pride. Crying out to God use me yet never knowing how great the price. Jesus could not be considered a “sacrifice” until He was broken for sin. If He came to this world, yet decided that He did not want to die – we would all be lost and never given the opportunity of grace. Jesus decided to give up His Life so that I could have mine. He was broken for me. He is my example. In order to fulfill our calling as believers, brokenness is required. Ministry is to administer the same anointing that Christ gave up on the Cross. He said, “It is finished.” This was not a weak statement but a profession of authority. It was his victory speech. Then Jesus released His Spirit to us. The anointing now available to men and women. The call of ministry was given when Jesus made the way for us. To know true ministry is to know Jesus.

John 12:44-50 (NLT) Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”

Jesus was a preacher. He said only what His Father said. He did only what His Father told Him to do. He told the people that day, “if you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me.” Our message means nothing if our life does not reflect the Truth. We preach a sermon each and every day in how we live and who we love. My sole purpose is to introduce others to my Father. Sound familiar? The Gospel is good enough. There is no need to add to it or take from it just know it, believe it and live it. It speaks for itself. Too many words filled with false teaching and empty promises have closed the ears of this world to the message. People are tired of religion that offers plenty of rules and regulations but little hope. Yelling from a platform or shouting through a microphone is not enough to share one’s anointing. It is in the quiet conversation with a hurting heart. It is offering words of encouragement to the one who stands off to the side. Jesus preached a gospel far more telling with His Life. We must do the same.

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT) Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Jesus is the Healer. I have experienced firsthand miracles. Our youngest daughter was miraculously healed of asthma when she was two years old. The kind of healing that happens in an instant. It was crazy. It was real. It is medically documented. Our younger son was diagnosed with cancer when he was 19 years old. He relapsed four times before he entered remission. Though his body is now cancer-free, thank you Jesus, he has many infirmities secondary to five rounds of poison being pumped through his body and maximum dose radiation. His testimony is his life. When he walks in a room, there is hope. Yet he is not complete or made whole yet.

It is important to understand our role as healer to the world. We offer hope. Jesus Christ is the Hope of the world. Our bodies will die. It is our heart in need of healing. A hard heart cannot experience such a miracle. It is through brokenness that it receives. What if ministry is not waiting for the Power of God to fall on a place or in an arena but rather for us to look for every opportunity to share the love of Jesus through encouragement, affirmation, acceptance, and love? Could it be that the Healer is in us looking for a way to pour out on others while we are just sitting around waiting on Him?

Jesus is our healer. He is our hope. I must never forget the “good things” he does for me beginning with forgiving my sins and heals all my diseases especially the one eating at my soul. My life is renewed just knowing Him. I must share with others the hope that I have found in Him.

John 8:31-32 (NLT) Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Galatians 5:1-2 (NLT) So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.

Jesus is the Deliverer. Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship. Freedom from religion was definitely a work accomplished on the Cross. Jesus delivered us from sin, shame, guilt and ultimately death in that moment. He also bestowed heavenly authority and power to us in His Grace. It is more than enough to overcome every obstacle and barrier in our life. God’s Word brings us complete and absolute freedom from sin to live with Him forever.

Is the gospel shared freedom to the captive or an exchange of one cell for another? If the gospel that I preach is not Good News, then what is the point? If it does not offer freedom, why would anyone want it? People need a Savior. The enemy is constantly condemning us and reminding us of all our weaknesses, insecurities and shortcomings all the while massaging our flesh and training it to fight for its life. What do we offer that is any different? There is nothing I can do to earn my salvation it is the Gift of God through Jesus Christ.

As Christ-like deliverers, I have heavenly authority to proclaim two things: 1) Peace with God and 2) War against the enemy. It is my profound privilege to set captives free by offering the Good News of Jesus Christ without my own terms and conditions. We are to reach in the miry clay, fiery trials, and depths of darkness and pull people out of bondage and into the Light. The Light of God is Jesus. He magnifies unconditional love. I must reflect this truth to be a deliverer as I am anointed to do.

I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

I Corinthians 13:13 (NLT) Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Jesus is the Comforter. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. The Matthew Henry Commentary offered this tidbit about the Comforter. “The holy cheerfulness of Christians is their beauty and a great ornament of their profession.” He goes on to say that the oil of joy given to us by the Lord comes with the garment of praise. One will be accompanied by the other. The only comfort that I can offer a broken heart or devastated soul is Jesus. I cannot explain it just offer them the love and consideration in every situation and circumstance that Christ has given me. Unconditional love that comforts the heart and soothes the soul.

Love has a distinct look. It has defining characteristics demonstrated by Jesus Christ that must be the job description of ministry. Love. Love some more. Love when it hurts. Love when you don’t want to. Love more than self. Love over pride. Love. Love is greater than faith and hope. God is love. We cannot be His Children without it. My confidence in God’s Love is essential in influencing others to allow the Lord close enough to be their comfort, become their friend and to fall in love with the One who loves them most. If I don’t love others, how will they ever love Him? If my actions and attitudes do not relay any form of comfort or relief, what’s the point? They know what condemnation, rejection and isolation feel like. They want to experience real love.

James 3:17-18 (NLT) But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Jesus Christ is the planter. “All that Christ does for us is to make us God’s people, and some way serviceable to him as living trees, planted in the house of the Lord, and flourishing in the courts of our God; and all this that he may be glorified—that we may be brought to glorify him by a sincere devotion and an exemplary conversation (for herein is our Father glorified, that we bring forth much fruit), that others also may take occasion from God’s favor shining on his people, and his grace shining in them, to praise him, and that he may be forever glorified in his saints.” (Matthew Henry Commentary)

I am the girl that plants shy away from when I walk through the garden center. I have a brown thumb. It is the mark of death to all plant-life. It’s a wonder that the Lord allows me to parent people when my record with nature is terrible, oh for grace. On a more serious note, planting takes patience. It requires effort with only a promise. Each seed planted is with the hope of productivity. We plant. We water. God gives the increase. What are you sowing? Jesus was sowing life. Seeds of Truth that would grow into promises. We cannot plant what we do not have seed for. His Spirit produces the Fruit in us that becomes our seeds to plant. Sowing and reaping occur whether intentional or not. We sow seeds in our life every day. Those sown of the Spirit produce life…life abundantly. Ministry is sowing the seeds of righteousness including faith, hope and love at all times, in every season, to all people. It is not a performance in a particular building according to a certain doctrine. Ministry is life and how we choose to live it.

Ephesians 4:11-13 (NLT) Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

I am a minister. I am called to ministry. You are called and equipped if Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord to share the Gospel with the world each day. You may never be called pastor, preacher, teacher, prophet, apostle or messenger but you are all that and more. Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world. You have Light in your heart that will free many who live in absolute darkness. Will you share it? Will you answer the call to worship? Will you accept the anointing including oil of joy and garment of praise that gains the attention of the weak and broken? See the Gospel is in you. You are an Ambassador of God in the perfect place at just the right time to set captives free and offer healing to the broken. The rest, my friend, is up to you and me.

2 Corinthians 3:3 (NLT) Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

Falling Chains

Falling Chains

Psalm 107:13-16 (NLT) “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; He snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them. For He broke down their prison gates of bronze; He cut apart their bars of iron.

There is power in the Name of Jesus to break every chain. Do you believe it today? I do. Yet why do so many people remain in bondage after receiving salvation through Jesus Christ? Do not be so quick to judge them. There are layers to bondage in our soul as it accumulates over time. Grace begins to move in us as God works out His Salvation in us according to His Will and Divine Purpose for our life. I have eaten a lot of my own words of harsh ridicule of others once I discovered just how close I am to falling or failing the Lord. Religion builds our confidence in self through behavior modification and the formation of good habits that lead to better choices. Somehow in the midst of all consuming love, overwhelming goodness and overflowing grace – our flesh decides it has things under control venturing off to conquer the world on its own. Once more than conquerors, we become weaklings apart from our constant connection to Jesus Christ. It is our relationship with Jesus Christ alone that makes all things possible for those who believe. We build relationships over time investing copious amounts of trust and heaping on lots and lots of faith even when there seems nothing left to give – there is something more to muster up even in our meagerness to have the true love that is desired. In human relationships, one must constantly give grace to keep love alive. In our relationship with Jesus, He is the One who brings all-sufficient grace that keeps our love alive for now and forever.

Back to my question, if there is power in the Name of Jesus, do you believe that in His Name every single chain can be broken? Faith is required to escape the chain and iron doors of bondage in our life. Human strength is not required but faithful fortitude is. The courage to shake off the chain or to walk through the open door sometimes is more than we have to give. Hope is the anchor for our soul. It is also that thing that drives us from comfort and complacency in life to see what freedom holds. I have felt chains of bondage fall from my wrist in the Spirit multiple times. It’s funny how we do not feel the weight of them until entering the Presence of the Lord and He begins to gently lift our weight and burden. Returning to the world, we can choose to drag those chains with us or shake them off at His Feet. We decide if the Name of Jesus is enough to obtain our freedom by the amount of faith invested in remaining free.

If I have a sledgehammer, I have the power to break a metal chain that binds me. The problem is that I do not have enough power to thrust it over my head, or bring it down heavily on that thing which keeps me bound. I need someone with the power to do that. If my husband picks up the sledgehammer, he can definitely use it with force. However, if that chain is on my wrist or ankle, I have to trust that in breaking the link that he does not break me. I trust him. He is my husband. My one true love. I know that he will not do anything to knowingly or willingly hurt me and if he is going to swing that hammer, my man will be certain that I am out of harm’s way. He loves me completely and will do anything in his power to free me. Like I said, I completely trust him with my life.

Jesus has the power in His Name alone to set us free from every chain and open every door that keeps us from freedom. In fact, when He saves us that is exactly what He does. He breaks every chain and opens every door. Why do we live in bondage? We do not trust him enough to make Jesus our Lord and follow Him. Freedom is a gift not an obligation. Jesus is our Savior and Lord not dictator. He will not force you or me to be free. He offers it to us. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) It takes wisdom and understanding of His Gift to know how to obtain it and use it in our life. He gave us that in His Word and by His Spirit. (Ephesians 1:6-8)

Acts 12:6-10 (NLT) The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered. So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.

Peter was chained between two soldiers. He would be placed on trial the next day. Clearly consumed with anxiety and fear (insert sarcasm), he was asleep. How sweet the Peace of God given to those who trust Him! How asleep was he? When the angel of the Lord entered the cell, it “struck him on the side to awaken him”, so he was out. The angel of the Lord made the chains on his wrists fall off. Now fear could have kept Peter right where he was as the slightest movement might disturb the soldiers or alert the guard causing his imminent death. The angel told him to get up and get dressed. He did it. The angel order Peter to follow and he did. He would go past two more guard posts up to the large iron gate leading to the city. When he approached it, the gate opened by itself and he passed through it. The angel left Peter a free man.

Freedom is a choice to follow the Lord out of bondage. Jesus removes the chains and opens the doors but if we do press on to walk in freedom then we will remain forever enslaved. He sacrificed His Life to obtain our complete freedom from sin, bondage and burdens in life. Will we follow Him? Will we walk in it? Will we overcome the fear of the things we can see to walk into the place that He is calling us to live and breathe in Him? Jesus has already done His Part handing us the Keys to His Kingdom. The rest is up to us. Will freedom be the pathway of choice?

Acts 16:25-26 (NLT) Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 

How would you respond if imprisoned for sharing the Gospel? I wonder the same thing. Could the evidence of my belief in Christ demonstrated in message that I speak and more importantly the life that I live be enough to convict me? Back to the story, Paul and Silas were praying and praising Jesus having church in their cell while the other prisoners were listen. They were essentially preaching a life gospel. Our response to hardship, oppression and disappointment in life portrays our true belief and value system to others more than anything we do or say when things are going well. Suddenly happened. I love when God comes rushing in suddenly. All the doors immediately opened and the chains of “every prisoner fell off”.

Can we freeze this moment in time to assess the situation? One minute its midnight in the midst of a prison and all the prisoners are listening to the two crazy Christians sing and praise God probably thinking these guys are nuts. Now what? Galatians 5:13 says, For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Now Paul and Silas could have rushed out to tell others “look what the Lord has done”. But they didn’t. What did they do? Used their freedom to free others in the Spirit. First of all, every prisoner was set free. (vs. 26) Paul saved the life of the jailer who was about to commit suicide rather than face his commander. The jailer was saved on the spot. (vs. 30) They went on to share the Gospel with his entire household including family, friends and servants. (vs. 32) Do you see that sometimes the deliverance we seek is our ministry and message to others? Sometimes those things that we go through have a purpose in the end far greater than our own endurance. Less I digress, we must respond to our circumstances and situations in life with faith, trust, praise and obedience to continue to walk in freedom daily. Each step should lead others to freedom as well.

Luke 8:27-29 (NLT) As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town. As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power.

We know the story of the man of Gerasenes who was demon possessed. The Lord cast the mass of demons called Legion from him into pigs that ran off the cliff to paraphrase the story. (Luke 8:26-39) I was reading about him today and noticed something that I had not seen before. In verse 29, it says “for Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him” and that the “spirit had ‘often’ taken control of the man.” Does this freak you out a little? Or maybe a lot? Don’t let it. This was before the Holy Spirit could inhabit human beings. Once the Holy Spirit comes in and takes over your heart nothing can overpower Him. Greater is He who is in us then he that is in the world. However, do you see that even those who encounter Jesus can still struggle with the enemy and being overcome with evil? Jesus did not tell the man look we have done this before and you keep getting messed up again. Why do Christians so harshly judge others in their struggles with bondage to sin? Overcome by evil, where can they go?

This time would be different because after the legion of demons were gone this man made a choice to follow Jesus and maintain his freedom. He asked Jesus allow him to join in their journey but Jesus set him forth in his own ministry. The man was obedient. We walk in freedom when we follow Jesus and obey Him. (vs. 38-39) But what about the people from the city they were in, what was their response? Fear. They asked Jesus to leave immediately. (vs. 37) Fear leads back into bondage again. Doubt delays our destiny every time.

Isaiah 58:6-9 (NLT) “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

In Isaiah 52:1-2 it reads, “Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer. Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor. Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” Have you ever had to be in the same clothes for more than a day? Whether laid over in an airport without luggage or in an emergency situation unable to shower or change due to your circumstances? Do you remember how wonderful it felt when you could finally shower, change and brush your teeth? It is so refreshing. Along those same lines, I wonder how a prisoner newly set free feels when he removes the dingy uniform of captive to put on regular clothes again. The new clothes mark a new day but too often they are faced with the same problems now compounded with mitigating circumstances and label of “convict” that lead back to imprisonment all over again. I am challenged by this today. How do we learn to put on the clothes of righteousness and walk in freedom when our sin constantly convicts us, guilt and shame tell us we will never fully claim our freedom, and regret binds us to the past. I don’t care if you have been saved for ten minutes, ten years, or most of your natural born life – we all struggle with our freedom and maintaining it because our flesh keeps us in captivity to sin.

Sin causes us to assume self-responsibility for a life freed by grace. We fear moving from darkness to light because who knows us better than us. What if His Grace is not enough for me? What if His Promises fall short of my satisfaction? What if His Love is not unfailing like they said? What if I remove these chains only to find I am still bound to something else? Lord help my unbelief today! We all need to cry out like the young man’s father who told the Lord, “if you can”. Every chain is broken and door opened in the Name of Jesus Christ. It is about time the church started shaking off those broken chains, pushing on some open doors and claiming our freedom so that we can show the way to others. His Grace is enough. We don’t have to look right or do right just follow Jesus as He leads us from darkness and sin into the everlasting. It is time for the church to remove the chains of slavery around our neck including religion and tradition to embrace a world living in darkness, bound by chains, and captive to sin.

2 Timothy 2:8-10 (NLT) Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained. So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.

What would happen if we stopped judging people who fall down at the altar and joined them there? What if our persistence for freedom went beyond our own comfort and control so that we could radically love other people and meet them where they are? I am a soul set free in the One I love. Yet from time to time, I find myself in situations and circumstances that reveal chains in my life. As I shake them off, I am able to share these experiences with other people. To act like I have no struggles is to devalue God’s Grace. I will not do it. I struggle with sin just like the next person. I just love Jesus. In loving Him, I must be willing to help others obtain their freedom or my life isn’t worth much. Revival comes at the sound of falling chains beginning with the saints of God stepping down from their high horses, soap boxes, holier-than-thou attitudes and religious agendas to sing songs of praise in the company of prisoners. To reach out to others and help them open the unlocked doors to freedom in Christ. I cannot lead another in a way that I have not gone! I choose to use my freedom to become a slave to God! (I Peter 2:15-17)

Psalm 116:16-19 (NLT) O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people—in the house of the Lord in the heart of Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!

 

To Die For

To Die For

Philippians 1:21 (NIV) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

There is a worship song by Anthony Brown and Group Therapy called Worth that we sang yesterday in church. It says, “You thought I was worth saving so you came in changed my life. You thought I was worth keeping so you cleaned me up inside. You thought I was to die for so you sacrificed your life. So I could be free, so I could be whole, so I could tell everyone I know.” This song is a summary of my experience with Jesus Christ. Is it yours?

There is something about saying, “You thought I was to die for…” Jesus Christ saw me and decided that I was to die for. The first two lines remind me that I am grateful that Jesus changed my life. He shined a Light of His Love so brightly that I could come out of the darkness that once overshadowed me. I am so thankful that the Lord thought I was worth keeping. Like a piece of furniture tossed in the trash, picked up by someone who saw its potential. Taking home they cleaned it, sanded it down, repainted it and reupholstered it taking the time to make it what it should be again. Now someone’s trash has become someone else’s treasure proudly displayed in fulfillment of purpose as a masterpiece in their home. The Lord has indeed cleaned me up inside. I am not who the world told me I was or facing the consequences my life demanded. No, Jesus thought I was worth keeping.

With all these wonderful and awesome things that God has done through His Son in my life, the most powerful of all is that Jesus Christ thought I was to die for. I keep coming back to this verse and am consumed with the revelation that my Savior and Lord thought I was to die for. How is this even possible to an omniscient God who knows me inside and out? Why would Jesus think that I of all people would be worth dying for? The only thing that I can even slightly compare it to is the love that I have for my children. I would die for them. In fact, as our son battled cancer for three solid years, many times I begged and pleaded with the Lord to remove it from him and give it to me. Desperate to see our son delivered of the pain, suffering and possibility of death, I learned a valuable lesson. Jesus would not allow me to die for something that He already did on the Cross.

I Peter 2:21-25 (NIV) To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Jesus thought I was to die for. He decided to suffer for me. He committed no sin. Even when the very people who He was dying for insulted the Lord, He did not retaliate. He made not a single threat. Jesus trusted God, His Father. The One who judges justly. He bore our sins in His Body on the Cross. Every sin because there is no unforgivable sin or hierarchy chart of transgressions – Jesus died for every single one. His Grace is more than enough for me…and you. He did this so that we could live in right standing with God again. This allows us to be Children of God and be a part of His Kingdom once more. We were predestined to do so. Now we are free to return. By His Stripes, we have been healed. Do you agree? Do you have a sick loved one who is hurting in pain? Do you want to take their burden and ease their misery? You can’t. Even if their sickness fell upon you it would not ease their burden or satiate the misery that they feel, only Jesus can do it. Just Jesus, but we try to do it ourselves day by day.

2 Corinthians 5:13-19 (NIV)

If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

 

For me to live is Christ and die is gain. Think about this verse again comparing it to your life. I am doing the same. Is my life summated in Jesus? Am I reconciling my life to Christ day by day? I have a confession to make. For a long time, I was a casual Christian. I didn’t want this thing to get out of hand though and turn into a crazy Christian. You know the kind that is over the top. They live in church. Always telling people about Jesus. They don’t do anything fun. The Gifts of the Spirit were cool and I desired all the Fruit of the Spirit, of course. I was not interested in operating in them though. I loved God. Jesus was my Savior. However, I kept it under my control. I made Jesus “Lord” over some areas of my life only to discover that He cannot be Lord without a total surrender. I was in control and fooling myself. I was reconciling my life and coming up short.

I wish I could say it was an epiphany or quiet revelation in my prayer closet that brought me to the place where I surrendered my whole life to reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. I would like to be able to tell you it was not a messy and brutal undoing of me including everything I believed, but it wasn’t. It was the moment that I discovered I had no control that I finally surrendered all control to Jesus. I have been a born again and Spirit-filled believer for more than a decade. I did not begin the process of surrender until about five years ago. I had to be broken to be rebuilt and fully reconciled to Jesus. Now I think people think I am “out of my mind”. Christ’s love now compels me because I am convinced that He thought I was to die for and did just that.

I am a new creation in Jesus Christ. Are you? Maybe if each person who comes to Christ could hear the worship song and its powerful message they might understand that it is nothing we do or don’t do that makes us worthy of His Love. Jesus loves us because He thought I was worth saving and keeping. In our pursuit of the Lord and all the benefits that He offers, it is easy to be misled and fall back into the worldly understanding that nothing is free. Free means that there is a catch. Trust no one. Rely on yourself. Before you quickly discredit these statements thinking that they are not the words from your mouth. Think of the situation in your life that stresses you most. What are you afraid of? Do you lack in any area of your existence? Are you dissatisfied? What are you doing about it? Do you say, “I trust the Lord, but…”? The only reason that I am saved, healed, delivered and restored is because Jesus thought I was worth dying for. I can do nothing to earn it or deserve it but must reconcile my life to it in total surrender and acceptance day by day.

“Not counting people’s sins against them.” Jesus covered your sin in His Blood. The same overflow that reached you is available to every other living breathing human being including the most heinous criminal or abased transgressor. It is not our job or responsibility to reconcile these folks to the doctrinal beliefs of our church but to open wide the doors welcoming all who will come. It is with this new mindset that we will see revival in our churches again. When we embrace the ministry of reconciliation with open arms beginning with the understanding that Jesus thought we were to die for…all of us.

Romans 14:7-12 (NIV)For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Every knee will bow before me, every tongue will acknowledge God. We will all give account for our life before God one day. Are you afraid to die? Do you want to put it off as long as possible? In his declaration, “for me to live is Christ and die is gain”, Paul goes on to explain the inner conflict in his life. He longed to be with the Lord in forever, yet felt compelled to stay and finish his work telling others about Jesus. What does your bucket list look like? Do you have one? What are those things you are putting off for later? What if tomorrow never comes?

In John 11:23-27, we are privy to a conversation between Jesus and Martha, sister to the now deceased, buried in the tomb, and stinking Lazarus. The Lord tells the grieving sister, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha quickly excuses it to the resurrection of the dead on the last day. Jesus presses further and tells her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die and whoever lives believing in me will never die.” He asked her point blank, “Do you believe this?” She says, “Yes” but her actions tell a different story. She goes to get her sister. Why? She lived for the future Messiah, not the Living God before her.

Please do not think that I am in any way condemning Martha because most days I resemble her more than Mary. Most people will tell you that they believe in God. The God that we meet after death. The Savior who is at the pearly gates whisking us away in His Grace. However, Jesus Christ is the Living God. He wants to meet us in our everyday life because He is alive. He lives in us. We have the same power in us that raised Jesus from the dead. Why are we not seeing miracles? Could it be that our excuse is rational thinking rather than radical faith? To fully reconcile to God through Jesus Christ is to conform our thinking and shape our life around a living God not a soon and coming King. Yes, He is Lord. Yes He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus is alive today and wants to come to us in the land of the living giving us a new life today. We all live for something. We are slaves to one of three things: sin, man or God in Christ Jesus. Those who choose to give their life to the One who thought they were to die for will live now and forever. We all serve someone or something in life. For me to live is Christ and die is gain. Why? Because He thought I was to die for!

Romans 5:6-8 (NIV) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I leave this thought with you today and pray it will work its way through your soul. Can you guess? You, my friend, are worth dying for! Jesus did it just for you so you could be free and you could be whole so you would let everyone know that His Love is alive today. Our ability to share the Gospel message is contingent our one’s ability to fully accept His Love and believe that it is unconditional and complete. We cannot give something away that we do not have. As I reconcile my life to Jesus Christ, it is not conformity to the Law but rather the mindset of my value and worth to Jesus Christ. I do not see the potential and promise that Jesus sees in me. It is when I place my life completely in the Presence of God and take my hands off of it that I see what God sees in me. He created me. He desires me. He loves me to the point of sacrificing His Son to save me from myself. Who loves you like that here? I venture to say not many. Even in my love and commitment to my husband and children, I will probably never have the opportunity to give up my life for them completely or sacrificially because His Grace is sufficient for us all. Anything that I can do or give them is small in comparison. Jesus died just for you. He thought you were to die for. Shouldn’t we live our life as such?

Colossians 3:2-4 (NIV) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Depth Perception

Depth Perception

I John 2:26-28 (NLT) I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

Who’s right? In world with a wide range of religions and opinions, how do I know that the God I serve is the one true God? How do I know that Jesus Christ is the only way? What a person believes dictates how they live? They can say anything they like freely but it is in our behavior, attitude and actions that our true colors shine through. Jeremiah 13:23 asks “can an Ethiopian change the color of his skin? Can a leopard take away its spots?” What is he saying? No they cannot and “neither can you start doing good, for you have always done evil.”  Oh please don’t be offended. I am in no way implying that you or yours are evil. I am just examining my own heart for relevance today. My life has physical implications. However, unless I develop an understanding of the spiritual implications that impact my life, I can do nothing of importance or significance for the Lord.

As believers, we are given God’s Holy Spirit to live in us and promote spiritual understanding that becomes knowledge and once applied the wisdom that guides our life in righteousness. How we see the world is reflected by one’s depth perception in life. Do we see things only in the natural? Have we dared to peer into our physical state? Do we long for the eyes of our heart to be opened? Light that shines in the darkness reveals the secrets hidden there. Once a lie is exposed to truth it can no longer be entertained as anything else. So we tiptoe as far across the line of fear into faith possible while still maintaining our ignorance and naivety when God has given us the ability to see well beyond the natural into the supernatural realm.

Ephesians 1:7-9 (NLT) He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan.

God in His Rich and Loving Kindness maximized by His Grace purchased our freedom with the Blood of His Son Jesus. He forgave our sins – past, present and future – in that moment. How? God is omnipresent meaning everywhere at once, omniscient meaning He knows everything and His Omnipotent meaning all powerful. It is in His Absolute Sovereignty as God alone that He is able to determine the Sacrifice of Christ acceptable and apply it to our life. He bestowed this gift to humanity. Limited in perception beyond what the five senses, the Lord is determined to connect with us. He not only showered us in loving kindness but gave us ALL wisdom and understanding. God revealed His Mysterious Plan to us. No He didn’t? Yes, He did!

We have the Holy Spirit. He is our guide. He is our teacher. He is significant in establishing depth perception in life that sees beyond the natural to embrace the supernatural. His Understanding reaches past the physical things to take hold of spiritual confidence. We are told to walk by faith and not by sight in a world that defines seeing as believing. Lord help us. Open our eyes to Your Glory, God.

Depth perception is the ability to perceive spatial relationships. It is the ability to determine the potions of objects in association with one another. This is heavily influenced by the development of the human brain and how it sees distance etc. It is also decided by experience. If an animal is exposed to a glass floor, it struggles to walk on it because it challenges their depth perception. If a person who is afraid of heights is given the opportunity to cross the same floor, they may be unable to do so because fear cannot see the floor just the distance between their feet and the ground. The distance between mankind and God is not as far as we think. In fact, it is not far at all because Jesus Christ lives inside of us. He has given us His Spirit to open our spiritual eyes, increase supernatural understanding, and prosper us from the inside out. However, human logic often talks us out of faith. Natural understanding defies the existence of God to the extent of its intelligence. It is because of ignorance that God’s People perish every day many thinking that they know a God that they have yet to see.

John 9:1-5 (NLT) As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus is the Light of the world. Light is the very thing that allows the eye to see. Without light, there is no sight. Light has a complex interaction with our eyes and brain that illuminate our world. Light reaches the eye and signals are sent to our brain. Our brain deciphers the information in order to detect appearance, location and movement of objects. When considering Jesus in such context, He is spiritual light. He shines brightly inside of us shedding light on our heart and soul giving us an opportunity to apply His Love, Grace and Power to all aspects of our natural life.

When Jesus saw the man blind from birth, the man was not crying out to the Lord. He was just sitting there. The disciples asked Jesus, “Why was this man born blind?” We are all born blind due to sin. We have the opportunity to have our eyes opened if we are willing to believe. The Lord used this man as an example. Note the reason that Jesus gave them, “This happened so the Power of God could be seen in him.” Well then… God will use whatever means possible to open the eyes of our mind, and the recesses of our heart, so the Light of His Love can expose anything that is keeping us from God’s Very Best.

A miracle happened that day. Now one might think this would be a happy ending to a life of disappointment. You know everyone would celebrate wildly and declare Jesus as Lord. Not exactly. One man’s healing sent a spiritual wave moving through the synagogue that day. The man’s friends questioned his miracle. Some discredited it as a mistake and that this was not the man they knew. They couldn’t comprehend such a miracle. It made its way to his parents who are called before the Pharisees. They agree that they have no idea what happened. They tell the religious leaders to ask their son essentially telling them to leave them alone. This miracle was quickly becoming their misfortune as their religion was now compromised. The Pharisees asked the man over and over again who repeated the same story. The man was ultimately thrown out of the synagogue.

Jesus met the man just outside of religion and other relationships. He asked the man, “Do you believe in the Son of God? The man answered the Lord, “I want to believe in him.” The man accepted Jesus in that moment. I believe that this occurs regularly in the modern day church when the miraculous overtakes our natural understanding. When Knowledge of God becomes too incredible to accept and His Doing too much to absorb, do we discredit the Lord among people unknowingly. The Lord is doing more than we can ask or think. We must think differently to make revival a reality or miracles will be dismissed by mindsets.

I Corinthians 2:13-15 (NLT) When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.

We must gain depth perception in Jesus Christ. We must understand the spiritual implications in our life. The Light of His Love shows us the areas of our life that are working with God’s Plan and sabotaging it as well. It is through knowledge and understanding that the opportunity for true wisdom to arise. The rippling effect of the blind man’s healing that day is no different than that which occurs in the modern day church every day. God moves and does the miraculous which is quickly shutdown. We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. Is anyone talking about the Blood? Where are all the testimonies?

Growing up Southern Baptist, I was inundated with the Word of God, scripture memorization and constant Bible study. However, the Holy Spirit was assigned the title of silent partner and the Book of Acts kept safely shut. It was quite frustrating to spend all that time in God’s Word but remaining powerless in life. Like a tiny boat tossed in a raging storm, my faith was weak and hope nearly gone. When I became filled with the Holy Spirit almost twenty years ago, something changed in me. Suddenly the Word of God began to make sense and became instantly applicable to my life. The more I read the more I wanted to know. The more I prayed the more I listened for His Voice. My life in Christ came together when His Spirit and His Truth began to commune in my life. All word and no Spirit sets up rules and regulations unattainable because there is no evidence of grace other than implied. All Spirit and no word is a highly emotional relationship status that will not be consistent or fulfilling because it lacks promise. The Word is the promises God keeps. We must live with a healthy balance of both to know and understand what the Lord would like to do in us and for us.

Colossians 2:7-9 (NLT) Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.  For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

If our spiritual life has no depth and is not applicable to our natural life, miracles can happen in us, through us and around us that will go unnoticed. Explained away by chance, fate or misperception and we will miss the fullness of God living in us working its way out of us. Religion must give way to an intimate relationship taking God’s Word applying it to our life liberally and allowing His Spirit to have the freedom to work it through our life unrestricted. Our life cannot be supernaturally inclined without Spirit and Truth. Our life will not worship God without these two key ingredients either. Our perception of God must gain depth in our soul. Roots must grow in us connecting our heart and mind with Christ and His Kingdom rather than trying to make our life in Christ purely natural. If you do what the Word of God says, your life will prosper naturally. If you allow His Spirit to move you along there will be blessing apparent in your life as well. But if what we desire is the truly miraculous when all impossibilities become possible in Christ, we must gain depth perception that allows us to walk by faith and not sight. It will free us from human thinking and release us from bondage to empty philosophies as the Fullness of His Love reaches the inner most hidden places of our heart.

Philippians 1:9-10 (NLT) I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.

Lord, give us greater depth perception of Your Love today. Life our tired hands to praise You and all wonderful things you are doing that we cannot comprehend but hold fast to in the Word. Strengthen our weak knees by Your Grace to stand in faith guarding our hearts and mind until You make it come to pass. Lord, may your Spirit mark out a straight path for my feet so I will not walk lame or limping again. Give me the courage to walk boldly in the Light of Your Amazing Love. To know You more and make You know throughout my realm of influence today Lord. Let me press harder to know how wide, long, high and deep that Your Love truly is. Let me see my life as You see it, live as You designed it and be fulfilled. Open the eyes of my heart Lord that I may live according to Your Word and Your Spirit. I give you the Glory for taking me deeper Jesus.

I John 5:20-21 (NLT) And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life. Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.

 

Empty Altars

Empty Altars

Psalm 84:1-4 (NLT) How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. 

Sitting at my desk, just outside the window, there is a flurry of activity. Positioned in the tree overhead are bird feeders. Little birds and squirrels look for the seeds that make the way to the ground below. Chirping wildly at the treasure found, they catch my attention throughout the day. They are provided for plentifully from those feeders high and out of sight so they build nests in the camellia trees and bushes. Without a care in life, they make their home within the shelter and sustenance of the homeowner.

As I prayed for my church yesterday, a thought came to me. Why are the altars of the church empty? Where did this idea come from? It has to be because it is the same people each week. Maybe if we invited more people the altar be full. Could it be that everyone in our church is saved? Is salvation why we come? I was perplexed as nothing I came up with settled my spirit. The altar is empty because I refuse to come. Whoa Nelly! When did this become about me, Lord? When I cry out for revival, but refuse to come. When I ask the Lord for help, healing or the like, yet will not change positions. When I desire change but rebuke discomfort or inconvenience. When did this become about me, the moment I cried out for more.

The image and idea of God’s Altar has changed over the years. It used to be an institution of the church but now it is not so clearly defined. Removed as not to offend or seem old-fashioned, I long to see the old benches come from their hiding place maybe then we would answer the call to worship again. The modern day church is choosy about their delivery of the Gospel. Careful not to offend by removing the cross, blatantly refusing to discuss the Blood of Christ as it is much too messy for our Sunday best.

What about the Name of Jesus? Is He mentioned in your place of worship? We are conditioned by the world even as Christians to limit our use of His Name, to pray secretly in closets, and be ashamed of the cross called to bear. Bound to our seats as not to show weakness, the Lord is pressing me today to leave it behind and head to the altar again. It’s not just for salvation. It is not just a place of rededication but restoration and complete redemption day by day.

People keep us from the altar. After all, don’t you wonder when someone comes, why they kneel there? Come on, we all do. The person thought to be strong, a teacher, a leader, or faithful member who serves each week, what happens when they kneel under the suspicion of glaring eyes meant to be praying but really only prying. I am guilty. There are times I just want to come forward and kneel in the Presence of God not feeling a need for anything only desiring to move in closer step in deeper and linger in His Presence. Why won’t I? I struggle every single day to be the person that God has created and called me to be. Do you? If so, the altar is our dwelling place. It is the very place that I belong. Lord, let me do my part to fill your altars again.

Psalm 26:6-7 (NLT) I wash my hands to declare my innocence. I come to your altar, O Lord, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders.

The Altar of God represents our innocence never condemnation. It is the place, as believers, that we declare His Grace is enough. As I come to the Lord in humble obedience and surrender my life to Him publicly, it is a public declaration of faith. It is the kind of proclamation that needs no words. My ability to be yielded to the Lord encourages others to do the same but truly it is for me first in my own life. I need to wash my hands. I need His Grace to wash over me and flood my soul. No matter how committed I am or hard I try – sin still finds its way into my life. Even if its been a good week or a great one, the Altar is where I can publicly thank the Lord for all that He has done privately in my life. It is an expression of faith that promotes inward change. Lord, fill the altar again.

What keeps us from this place? Pride. No other reason to not accept the invitation to come other than living a double life. You should still come. The Lord honors our willingness to kneel before Him to confess that we have blown it again. Let him without sin cast the first stone. It doesn’t matter what another living, breathing soul thinks about me. If I do not achieve right standing with God through His Son, Jesus, I lose my soul forever. Is pride really worth it? Apparently to some, pointing at myself.

Hebrews 13:15-16 (NLT) Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

The old form of the altar was a place of continual sacrifice focused solely on sin and retribution. Jesus Christ is the ultimate sacrifice for sin so now the altar changes a bit. It is a still a place of continual giving but now since the sacrifice is satisfied it becomes our offering to the Lord. We do not come to the altar to give God a sacrifice but to surrender our life as an offering. To avoid the altar completely is to say that there is nothing for which to praise the Lord. It means that I may have allegiance to other things especially that thing which keeps us stuck to our seat.

Psalm 118:26-27 (NLT) Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.

According to Psalm 51, the sacrifice that God desires is a broken spirit and repentant heart. Is this the life that I live? A repentant heart needs Jesus all of the time not just on Sunday and Wednesday. Jesus scolded Martha gently as she ignored His Presence to remain invested in her service, doing and work. Those things that would bring her glory rather than pointing to Jesus. She just got caught up in things. She had a to-do list laying on top of the Word pressing her heart.

Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords to the altar. We need to come to the altar again… and again. In the Book of Ezra, it talks about the rebuilding of the altar of God. It had been prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah (in chapter 25) that the Temple of God would be destroyed and God’s People would be exiled. Nebuchadnezzar would do just that. (2 Chronicles 36:17-21) It would sit in ruin for 70 years. Why was it destroyed? People refused to turn to back to the Lord. Warned over and over again, they decided to live in sin and betrayal against God. But there is a glimmer of hope arising in Ezra 3, even though the people were afraid they decided to rebuild the altar. When the altar was complete, the people turned to the Lord and began worshipping again. Immediately following the rebuilding of the altar, the people would go on to build the Temple of God again.

A commitment to rebuild the altars in our churches and one’s commitment to fill it all by their self if necessary will be the catalyst for revival and the very element that builds the Kingdom of God one final time before He comes.

Acts 17:22-31 (NLT) So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

We do not serve an unknown god but the only True, Living God. He sent His Son Jesus so that we could get to know Him intimately and personally. If we (or I) could just wrap my head around and commit my life to the fact that EVERYTHING concerning me is under the complete authority and power of the Living God because of Jesus Christ, I would never hesitate from falling before Him again. Before Jesus, people didn’t know God. But after Jesus the message is clear and concise and sent forth by His Spirit who gives us all understanding in exchange for ignorance.

The Word of God says plainly here in verse 25 that Jesus satisfies every need. Do you have a need today? Why won’t you come before the Lord? Anything that is not completely satisfying in our life can be surrendered to the Lord for fulfillment, if you are think it worthy of a journey into His Presence. Everything I need for a rich and satisfying life is found in total surrender at the Altar of My God. Jesus invites us to come and He will give us rest. (Matthew 11:27-29) Do have a burden? He will lift it from your shoulders so you don’t carry the weight alone…if you will come to the altar. Everything if only we believed enough to come.

In Matthew 14:27-30, Jesus is walking on the water in the midst of a violent storm. Peter says Lord let me come to you in verse 29 but by verse 30, he is going under fast. Faith in God is facilitated by our actions. If you don’t pursue the Lord with passion, our faith grows tired and weary surely we will sink. However, we find later after Peter failed the Lord multiple times and watched as He was beaten, tortured and crucified, back to his “normal” life. When he sees, Jesus walking on the beach. Peter didn’t ask to come or even want a miracle. He wanted Jesus and swam all the way to the Lord. Our desperation for the Lord and dedication to Him must be expressed in our actions. We cannot hide behind religiosity anymore thinking we have to portray the image of perfect people, pious Christians and professional servants but rather just desire Him more and more each day. What will it take to draw you back to the altar today?

Hebrews 4:16 (NLT) So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

I need Jesus all of the time. There is no time that I can remember since meeting Him that there wasn’t a longing deep within to find Him again and again. In Jeremiah 29:11, it talks about this plan that includes a future and hope. However, few people read beyond these words to the requirement. In verse 13, it says that we must seek the Lord wholeheartedly. With our entire being, all of our emotions, the long list of needs, wants and desires that motivate us, and in this simple act of surrender to the Will of God and submission to the Word of God our rebuilt altars will begin to expand the Kingdom of God. It begins with me. It begins with you!

Let us come boldly. It is the thought of confidence before the throne of the Gracious God that began this press for the altar. To step out of our comfort zones and cast off convenience to be where the Lord is that motivates me. I want to see a great revival rise up in our midst. I desire all the fruits God’s Spirit is trying to produce in me and through me. I want it all. I have to surrender it all to have it. I don’t know how I will respond to this new word etched on my very human heart today. I know what I want to do. I long to make my life a living sacrifice. I will do whatever it takes to fill the altar with those who worship in Spirit and Truth longing for more of Jesus. It may mean a journey or two or twelve or too many to count to kneel at His Altar, to shed real tears, to turn over more personal real estate to the Lord for His careful consideration and constant cultivation. What is keeping you from falling facedown before the Lord in front of people? I am challenged today to remove ever barrier between myself and the Altar of the Living God! Will you join me there?

Psalm 43:3-4 (NLT) Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me.
Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!  

 

The Finishers

The Finishers

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I have a good friend who is a runner. This is not a shared common interest. If you see me running, you should probably run too as something must be chasing me. When our son was sick, many people reached out to us in a variety of ways. My friend found a bracelet honoring our son’s cancer battle and committed every marathon to him. It was a race of faith and each footstep she made symbolic. She won many of the competitions finishing well above her class in most. I believe it was the Team Unconquered spirit that gave her such strength not in her body but her spirit and soul. Each time she finished well was a heartfelt reminder that God has promised our son would finish this race, too.

My friend would run for another woman battled the same wretched foe. Her outcome would be different as she leapt into the Arms of Jesus to finish her course. Another course with a different ending but the same Great God. Just recently I was devastated to learn that now my friend who has faithfully run the race of faith with us is now running it on her own. She has been diagnosed with cancer. How can this be? Someone who unselfishly and unrelenting in her faith offering encouragement to others now must fight the same war.

2 Timothy 2:4-6 (NIV)  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

Life is full of attachments and entanglements. Things that attach themselves to us and those things which cause us to stumble and fall. We are all running a race of faith. It doesn’t matter if you are a runner, walker and crawler. In every marathon, all the runners are similar in appearance. Shoulder to shoulder, most begin strong running together in a pact with no clear cut winner or loser just participants on a crowded road. After the first few minutes, the group thins and become a string of runners. Each one a little more defined by experience and endurance. As the journey continues some will stop, give up or fall away. The runner who has conditioned their body against the elements, nourished their bones and muscles with proper food and water, rested prior to the race, and trained for it – those are the ones who cross the finish line. Some will run across with their arms in the air, others will walk to the line collapsing on the other side, and then some will literally crawl or be carried to the end. It doesn’t really matter how you start, but your life is contingent on how you finish this race called faith.

We must not get tied up in civilian affairs. This world is ruled by darkness and influenced by the enemy of our soul. It is his dominion. It is his domain. Our mission is the great commission. We cannot and will not change the world. We are not called to do so. We have been commissioned with a direct order by Jesus who has all power and authority over heaven and earth granted by God to do just one thing – go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) If it was our mission to take over the world, why would we be instructed to respect all authority even governmental who have effectively cut God out of every public platform possible? (Romans 13) Our focus must be on the one, the sheep that is lost. The Lord desires the souls to build His Kingdom. We are not of this world and must conform to the rules of engagement set forth by Jesus.

I believe as my athletic friend ran each race honoring our son, her feet pressed in seeds of faith for this season of life. This time the good fight of faith will be fought by her. She will have what she needs because she will reap what she has sown. What kind of provisions are you planting today for tomorrow’s battle? Will you have what you need to finish the race? Faith is compared to a mustard seed. A seed of faith cannot grow until planted. We must learn to sow seeds as we go rather than checking a barren field for a crop not yet planted.

Isaiah 35:8-10 (NIV) And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

The way of holiness is the narrow road talked about in Matthew 7:13-14 because few will ever find their way there. It is just too hard to let go of reality to take hold of faith. I think that is why is compared to roles like soldier, athlete and farmers. All of these people sacrifice. They give their all. Giving up time, talent and treasure (resources) to pursue something more, bigger and greater than themselves. I believe such a sacrifice is need to fight and win the good fight of faith. Life without limits comes when we breakdown the strongholds of fear, pain and doubt to be overcome with faith that moves mountains, heals bodies and prospers our life. There are various stages to every race. Strong beginnings, waning and whining midway but then we can vaguely see the end in sight. It is at that moment giving up is no longer an option and hope rises within us. Love, joy and peace are the fulfillment of hope. It is a place of right standing with Jesus that removes every barrier from our life. It is time to unload those things that are keeping us from finishing the race.

Matthew 19:21-26 (NIV) Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

An impossible life begins and ends in Jesus Christ. He is the author and finisher of faith in our life. He is the beginning and end of all things. Those who choose to live by faith pursuing a relationship with Jesus will come to the end of themselves at some point. A moment in time when you must lay down your life for what you believe. It will change your commitment, confession and conviction until it is all or nothing. You must believe to be saved. Jesus Christ must be the foundational thought in all your thinking to know that you will finish the race and win the war for your life. The rich young man came to Jesus for validation of faith. He was a religious person who knew all the dos and don’ts set forth by God. He worked hard to follow all the commandments…that is until it all came down to the one that mattered the most. “Go, sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.” We are good with stay, hoard our stuff, and pray for the poor but what is this give it all away stuff? My life is worth nothing until I give it all away. Nothing is possible but I remain subject to all the impossibilities until Christ becomes my beginning and end with everything wrapped up in the middle. For me to live is Christ and die is gain. He must increase and I must decrease. We read the words. We carefully repeat them. Until we live them, they are lip service that will not open doors, break chains or add to the Kingdom beginning with me.

I Timothy 6:11-16 (NIV) But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

My friend will win her race. She is a finisher. The one who has put the time into training body, mind, soul and spirit. She has laid down her life for others. It is in that moment that we lay down our life for a friend (John 15:13) or maybe even love our enemies (Matthew 5:44-45) that God’s Love can reach the innermost parts of our life and perfect those things which concern us. (Psalm 138:8) Faith expands the capacity of our existence to receive that which we hope for. Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing. By faith, we have a wonderful opportunity to live a limitless life. It is time to step down from soapboxes and move away from politics to enter the race of faith also called the Highway to Holiness. Abandoning anger and offering forgiveness making our light (the Light of God’s Love) to shine brightly in the darkness. It is time to run the race of faith to the finish rather than throwing the towel in when the Lord doesn’t do it our way, the journey seems to long or things get uncomfortable. If we would just collect all the broken and fragmented pieces of our heart and life thrusting them into the Hands of Jesus, He will make a beautiful life from that which was broken. He will fill our voids with His Presence. He will bind our wounds and heal our hearts. No longer slaves to sin or bound to the past – we will finish the race of faith with the victor’s crown as promised. Thank you Jesus that you have not placed limitations on my life but given me the power to live without limits.

I Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Pay Attention

Pay Attention

Hebrews 2:1-4 (NIV)

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

 

We must pay the most careful attention to what we have heard so we do not drift away. I am guilty of half-listening and thinking I have the whole-truth. You may do the same thing. Raising five kids demanded multitasking which often required quick evaluation and prioritization of needs based on who expressed themselves most clearly. Our youngest has a knack for drawing the greatest attention the quickest. She is the baby of the family. Always surrounded by her parents and siblings with a crowd of people telling her what to do, when to do it and how to do it, she learned quickly to assert herself within our family structure. But sometimes in the midst of the noise, it is important to note not so much what is said but remains unspoken. We must pay attention.

 

We have two somewhat quiet children. One son and one daughter who for most of their lives have been hidden in the pack. One left for college while there was still a houseful. He is still quiet. What we have discovered about our daughter is now that the crowd has dispersed and only two remain at home, she has come out of her shell. She is very talkative now. Her personality has been revealed in the intimacy of four rather than the chaos of seven. She will fall back in the ranks when everyone is home and doesn’t say quite as much but when she is alone with us – she is very different.

 

This morning, I read the story in 2 Kings 6 about Elisha and the prophets building a new place for the prophets to live and study under his leadership. At first, I didn’t know why God led me to this place just that I was supposed to read about the floating iron ax head. Yawning in the moonlight waiting on the dogs, the Holy Spirit just dropped it in my head. Even after reading the seven verses through two or three times, I couldn’t get the gist of this morning’s conversation so I stopped and asked the Lord to speak to me. I have been asked many times over the last seven years, where I get the content for the blog. How do I know what to write about? Okay, here’s the secret. Are you ready for it? God speaks to people. He is always speaking, we just don’t always listen. Every single day that I get up – I ask Him to tell me something, say anything, and then I wait until He does. It really is that simple. What about the other things in Heaven that we desire on the earth? Could they be just as easy as asking God to come into our lives and change us? What if we looked for every opportunity to see Heaven and earth agree would it make the atmosphere of our life different?

 

2 Kings 6:1-7 (NIV)

The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.” And he said, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?” “I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them. They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!” The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

 

A miracle happened in the midst of an ordinary day. Just men working on a new facility, and right there in the middle of their work – Heaven comes down to earth. How else might one explain an iron ax floating to the surface? After several attempts to discern the significance myself, I turned to good ole Matthew Henry and his useful commentary. My grandmother loved this man’s reflection on the scriptures. What seems like an account of an Old Testament miracle – no frills and chills just the facts opens the door to self-examination today that I did not expect. What if my life is not miraculous because of me? What it I am standing in the way of the unexpected and unexplained intervention of God on my behalf is all my fault? Okay, Lord, now You definitely have my attention.

 

A couple of things that I gleaned about the events of that day from the Matthew Henry Commentary – first, the prophets were hardworking, humble men. In an age were pagan prophets were revered and heavily favored by the government. These men – God’s Men were humble servants of the Most High God. When they expanded beyond the capacity of their dwelling, they went to build a new shelter. This was not a mission trip or ministry event. It was simply to build a housing facility yet they insisted the Man of God go with them. First, thought do I invite the Lord to come with me in everything that I do? Do I desire the companionship of Christ every step of the way even on ordinary days filled with mundane tasks? Am I aware of Him? Do I consult Him? Do I spend time with Him? Do I revere Him? Do I respect the fact that my Savior and Lord is with me always? Good question.

 

The second thing is the prophet. Elisha the prophet was their teacher. He was mentoring these individuals. Two things are noted about Elisha in the commentary. One – “Let no man, especially no minister, think himself too great to stoop to do good, but be tender to all.” And two – “That he was a man of great power; he could make iron to swim, contrary to its nature for the God of nature is not tied up to its laws.” True men (and women) of God are humble and hardworking. They possess a willingness to “stoop” to do good. They are tender to all. Elisha was a man of great power and taught others to act contrary to nature just as he was able to make the iron that day. It is important to pay attention to those who we follow as examples of Christ. Those who lead by example and live among the people are those who are like Christ. They are not caught up in the law but bound by love and commitment living lives of compassion as well we should.

 

“God’s grace can thus raise the stony iron heart which has sunk into the mud of this world, and raise up affections naturally earthly, to things above,” one final thought from Mr. Henry and maybe the most profound. God’s Grace is the miracle maker in our life. Jesus is the Grace of God extended to us. He gave us the Keys to the Kingdom. We have everything we need to bring Heaven to earth. To see miracles, signs and wonders. So why not here? Why not now?

 

Mark 16:15-18 (NIV)

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

 

When our son received chemotherapy, each time I would sit by his side and pray Mark 16:17-18 as it began to makes its way through the tubes into his body. Chemo drugs are highly lethal and deadly. They require special conditions in the pharmacy where produced. Those who handle the bags they are in must where special thick purple gloves. Once ingested if the patient becomes ill one must wear complete protection that no body fluids come in contact with skin, etc. It is toxic. Our son is alive and in remission after five rounds of chemotherapy. He is a documented miracle who has defied medical statistics. I cannot even recount all the horrible side effects that he was promised or horrific aftermath foretold but he didn’t experience hardly any of them. God had His Hand over our son. I give Him all the Glory for his success and survival of the world’s most dreaded disease.

 

Today – I realize that there is more to the story here. The miracle is not the event but what precipitates it. I desire to see people healed of cancer. In fact, I expect it and pursue it wholeheartedly these days as I cry out for revival. The Lord is shedding light on the way. Jesus told us right before He left to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Unlimited expression of the message of Christ should be pouring from us. Is it? Let’s keep moving. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” This is a definitive statement and not a point of vacillation. We have been equipped and sent to be a disciple and make disciples of others. Our example is Jesus Christ… and men like Elisha. What if the signs that we seek are hidden in the events of our life not captured in a church service or tent meeting somewhere? What if in sharing the Gospel of Christ that changes hearts and makes irony stony hearts rise from the mud causes an outpouring of desire for communion with Christ. Such a trend elevates faith from the things of this world to the Kingdom of God which in turn will cause Heaven to touch earth. What if the next great revival starts in our ordinary life before it comes to the church? Oh friend, I think we are on to something.

 

Proverbs 27:17-19 (NIV)

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored. As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.

 

A corporate anointing is generated by individual connections to Jesus Christ. Iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another. Perhaps, it is in our discipleship and the discipleship of others that we will begin to see the next great revival. The Kingdom of God is always about one. It rejoices when “one” lost soul is saved. We must examine ourselves for genuine faith before we have anything of worth to give another. The only thing I have to offer another person is the Gift of Grace that allows us to break free from the bondage of sin and shame floating to the realms of the Heavenlies to experience His Goodness and Greatness in my life. Miracles begin in our heart. They begin at home. We will not see revival until our personal relationships with Jesus become constant companionships that motivate us to disciple others and walk them through the process that the Lord leads us through. He does not leave us, forget about us, get mad at us, demand His Own Way but with Grace and Compassion – the Lord sticks closer than a brother.

 

Elisha went with the prophets to complete an earthly task. Jesus will go when invited, wanted and acknowledged. The prophets wanted the prophet with them. Does our attitude and actions invite holy inhabitation or does our lifestyle and habits grieve the Holy Spirit? Those who guard the Fruit of God’s Spirit will usher His Presence deeper than ever before. The closer Christ comes the greater the evidence of His Existence in our life. Whoever preserves the Lord’s Place in their life will be honored. We must look in the muddy river for the iron ax head that is sinking. In doing so, we see our reflection. What do we see?

 

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

 

We must pay attention. We must evaluate our relationship with Christ and give it the attention it deserves. The warning is clear. There are people who think they have a constant connection to the Lord and live in a relationship with Him who will be devastated one day to find out that Jesus doesn’t know them. It will even be some who we looked up to as great preachers and teachers who could deal the gospel but never dealt with their souls. The more I study revival the less I see me. The clearer it becomes that it is the Christ in me in need of full exposure. Until God’s Love is completely radiated in all I say and do, revival will remain a thought not an event. Revival is not so much a corporate event but an individual calling that gathers in one place on Sunday. What if revival is in me but I am not letting it out? I want to change. I must pay attention. For me to live is Jesus Christ. He has done miracle after miracle in my life. How do I continue to see such things until it is a daily event? Well, all I know is that Jesus came calling when I could do nothing. As I decrease, He increases. When I am powerless and weak, His Grace has been more than enough to change the situation and make a miracle happen. So maybe it is in the continual sowing of my life…all of it… day by day… moment by moment… even in the most ordinary of tasks that my stony heart will change and His Glory will fill more of my life.

 

Acts 5:12-16 (NIV)

The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.