Archives For Fatihfulness

The Veil Calls

June 6, 2014 — 2 Comments

maya[pp]I struggle not so much with the chaos of the world as I do with how to reshape the world. My life must count beyond this life. I know it matters. I know there is an eternal world just thinly veiled beyond my walk. The veil solicits me to poke holes in it so the healing will leak in.

Matthew 27:51 (NKJV)
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

 

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Isaiah 55:1 (ESV) “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

In Isaiah 54, God has offered forgiveness and now in chapter 55 the call to walk in forgiveness is given. It is not enough to be free; we must live free. We don’t have to order our lives around the axis of a world system that begs for us to dance as its puppets. We don’t have to order our lives around a fragmented social system that includes only those with more power.

In God’s order, everyone is included. We have a Christ centered alternative to be fully human and live fully human in Him and His redeemed order of justice. We have been given the choice of the one that choose us. In Christ, we are the tribe of Revelation 7:9-10

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (NKJV)

We are His redeemed community living a life of radical love in a sea of hatefulness. We render not evil for evil, but we love our way through this age until the age to come overtakes us, and death is swallowed up forever.

We need not use violence to fight for our rights, but instead as one writer has so eloquently put it, “Our violent ways find an end in the wounds of Christ, and in his forgiveness we are offered healing from our self-inflicted pain.”

For now, death remains but soon death will be swallowed up forever.

Isaiah 25:6-9 (ESV) 6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

 

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Is it just me or is there anyone else that worries about not worrying about what God may or may not do? When I’m under pressure, I tend to overlook for answers in my own strength.

At times,  it manifest in running every scenario that could happen, or should happen to the point I can’t even sleep well at night. Time and time again living my faith in this manner proves to be a big waste of…well…FAITH.

After all the time wasted searching in my own power, I always end up with nothing! Then it happens. God reminds me that I can’t do anything with NOTHING but He can do anything and everything with NOTHING.

Suddenly, deep in my heart I can feel a groaning of the Spirit of God praying for me the perfect will of God and then it happens; peace consumes me. Sometimes, when you stop looking, and you stop trying to figure it all out, God moves for His glory in your life.

The searcher of hearts is always looking and listening for the groaning of the Spirit inside our hearts. God is always having conversations and communion in our hearts. When there are no more words to pray, the Spirit of God intercedes with groanings at the intersection of ruin and misery within the Christ Follower.

You must share in God’s sufferings to share in His glory. However, suffering when complete gives way to a beautiful witness of His glory and that is enough. God uses suffering, emptiness and troubled times of unanswered prayers to build His character in us, conforming us to Christ, and prepare us for final glory when heaven and earth become one.

You might not get what you thought you needed, but you will get what brings Him the most glory. Sometimes it takes getting nothing to get everything.

Romans 8:26-30 (NKJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for uswith groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

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Acts 5:40-42 ESV

And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

It has been said, “God doesn’t simply want us to feel good. He wants us to be good. And very often the road to being good involves not feeling good.”

In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

We are promised tribulation. We are promised suffering. Suffering can be embraced as a wind of advancement or suffering can be embraced as a wind of retreat. The choice is yours to make. If you choose to retreat, then you will need no armor. If you choose to advance through it, then God has the power you need to do so.

In Acts 5 Peter and the apostles suffering pressed them forward and not backwards

1. They were beaten and charged to not speak in the name of Jesus anymore (A wounding of the flesh and a wounding of the spirit)

2. They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name

3. They daily taught in the temple and from house to house, preaching Jesus

They could live through suffering because they had a view that looked higher than the suffering right in front of them. Suffering becomes beautiful when you look up, around and down and realize you are following Jesus.

The eyes of suffering see clearer when they look forward at the kingdom to come, instead of backwards at the suffering it takes to get there.

Out of the Darkness

Out of the dark forbidding soil The pure white lilies grow.

Out of the black and murky clouds, Descends the stainless snow.

Out of the crawling earth-bound worm A butterfly is born. Out of the somber shrouded night, Behold! A golden morn!

Out of the pain and stress of life, The peace of God pours down.

Out of the nails — the spear — the cross, Redemption — and a crown!

Author Unknown.

No Other…

March 27, 2013 — 2 Comments

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Charles Swindoll in his book, ‘The Darkness and the Dawn’ tells of two paintings he has seen relating to the cross of Christ.

Both paintings offer the same title, ‘The shadow of the cross.’

The first painting is a scene inside Joseph’s carpenter shop.

Jesus is portrayed as a young teenager, and He has paused from his work to look out the shop widow. In doing so, He is casting a shadow of the cross behind himself.

In the second painting,  Jesus is depicted as an adolescent child running toward his mother. His arms are stretched out toward her, and the sun is at his back, casting a shadow of the cross before him.

Jesus lived His life knowing that every day he was one step closer to the cross.

It was not a secret that he kept to himself. It was his purpose; it was the Father’s plan.

Jesus at twelve years of age had already spoken and said to his worried parents who had lost him on a trip, “did you not know I must be about my father’s business?” Luke 2:49 NKJV

His face was set like flint toward the cross.

Mark 8:31-33 (NIV)

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

Jesus was not on man’s plan; he was fully submitted to his Father’s plan.

We are living in the day that the cross is under attack. That, which cannot be erased from history is trying to be erased not only from the world but also sadly from various churches as well.

If the world can’t get you to eliminate the cross, they will work toward getting you to minimize it.

But I want you to see today that the cross cannot ever been taken lightly, for it is the only hope the world has, there is no other answer.

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“Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple…” (Mark 11:11)

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt to accomplish what he was born to do, he was embodying the greatest upstaging the world had ever witnessed, and it forever changed the world.

Jesus knew what was ahead of Him. It was to be the pinnacle of his story. He set his face like flint in order to meet it head on. He had been preaching the kingdom, and now he had to fully embody all that he had spoken of.

God was sending salvation, a rescuing to all those who would accept it. Evil was directed toward stopping the mission, like Pharaoh and his armies in Egypt. However, now was the time of the new Exodus, the greatest of all Passovers, and it was unstoppable.

Jesus turned over the tables in the temple and everything came to a standstill. To borrow a phrase from  N.T. Wright, It was a signpost pointing to the reality standing right in front of them. The temple was no longer needed. Jesus was the reality everything had been pointing toward.

Shortly after that Jesus served the disciples in the upper room and shared the story of the Exodus by placing it upon himself. Again, a signpost pointed to the reality that was now in front of them all. Jesus was untimely falsely condemned and placed upon the cross.

He cried from the cross, “It is finished.” He died and was placed into a grave, but the grave couldn’t hold Him. On the third day,  the stone was rolled away, and Jesus was alive forevermore.

I want you to know without a doubt today; your hope in God is not misplaced, it’s assured!

From Hope Assured-Easter Series Legacy Church

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As a Christ follower, you are never alone. Every time the enemy confronts you, God has already faced him. We are fighting against a defeated foe. We are fighting against a defeated spiritual power that has already lost because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

We serve and follow Jesus who is Lord of yesterday, today and forever. That’s why everywhere you go, you can be assured that Jesus is on the inside of you by the power of the Holy Spirit, creating a sacred space no matter where you find yourself. God is on the inside of you and surrounds you with His love.

You bring the pure love of God, and the very presence of God, into the middle of everywhere you journey. Christ in you creates a sacred space through you. There is something extraordinarily unique about knowing you carry the very Gospel and presence of God among a world of darkness.

His light shines through to everyone you meet. You carry the message that one day heave and earth will be renewed. Your renewed life in Christ is a sign post point to that sure and promised future.

N.T Wright put it this way, “Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.”

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I’m starting to understand more and more as I grow older the better question to trouble in the world and evil in the word is “How long?” and not “Why God?”

I’ve arrived at a place where I no longer have to have an answer for trouble; nor do I have an unquenched need to have God give me an explanation for all things wrong and evil.

Instead, I’ve learned to live in the direction of healing and correction of all the wicked and evil in the world. After all, that is what the Christ follower is called to do.

We are called to follow the Price of Peace. My prayers are prayers for God to bring an end to all the evil and turmoil. The message of the Bible is God has promised to end evil, and I just stand, walk and believe. “One day,” will become “The day” all evil ends.”

I trust in the fact that God is perfect love and has a perfect power, and yet things often look out of control and dark. However, I don’t have to look for answers to why evil. I just have to look at the answer for evils final defeat, and that answer is Christ.

I’m not called to understand the evil of this world. I’m called to be a light in it until the light of Christ and His glory floods the earth forever. I don’t have to understand evil, and I don’t have to accept evil. I’ve accepted Christ, and He alone is the undefeated King.

Christopher Wright writes, “Evil has no proper place within creation. It has no validity, no truth, no integrity. It does not intrinsically belong to the creation as God originally made it nor will it belong to creation as God will ultimately redeem it.”

Now my beloved Christ followers…go and live the light and watch as darkness slowly dies. WE WIN!

Revelation 21:1
21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

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Don’t pick at your scabs! Healing can’t fully take place if you’re constantly picking at the very healing your body is trying to do for you. The same thing is true with emotional and spiritual wounds. They hurt and often feel like death is to follow, but soon, if you allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in you- scabs will form, and the healing underneath can actually begin.

It will be tempting to pick at the scabs. They will turn red and swollen. They will itch like crazy from time to time also. However, don’t pick them. Scabs are for a reason. Healing is taking place below the surface. You can’t see it, but one day you will see the beauty of the healing when the scabs naturally fall away.

Will any scares remain? Sometimes scars will hang around.  If scars show after the healing, don’t get upset. Instead of getting upset, try smiling because you are in good company. Jesus had a few scars also and even showed them off to the disciples.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Pain is no evil, unless it conquers us.  ~ Charles Kingsley

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That day in the future, you know the one I’m talking about. That dream of becoming a (Insert dream) will only be accomplished when you do the work today that needs to be done in order to get there. Dreams rarely just fall into your lap. Therefore, hard consistent effort must be you daily exercise.

When you apply faith to daily hard work, your dream will take one step closer to you. If you believe in your dream, and have the passion to see it come to pass, your dream will happen in God’s timing. Dreams are not accomplished through haste. Dreams require time to develop and grow.

All great dreams take time to be accomplished. Don’t let impatience steal your dream by causing you to give up before you cross the finish line.  You have the dedication it takes! There is no mountain you can’t climb with God help.

Nature often teaches us about patience if we will only notice. I spend a lot of time in the woods hunting and observing nature up close. For instance, I’ve seen birds building a nests as I’ve set for hours in a tree stand. I’ve watched them over hours and hours fly back, and fourth finding sticks and straw to build their nest.

At times, while the bird was away finding more material, the wind would blow away the previous work, but it didn’t deter the bird once it returned. The bird would simply replace what the wind blew away and continue building. The dream of a nest must move forward.

Pursuing your dream will not always be easy. You will have times that you feel like giving up and walking away. Hang in there! Don’t throw in the towel! God is with you and will give you the grace to take daily steps if you will just trust Him and keep moving and working.

Don’t let anything or anyone discourage you from dreaming your dream and pursuing it. Don’t allow stumbling blocks and bad days to be the strongest voice in your life telling you to stop. Don’t settle for average, but instead, set your sights high and land among the stars.

John Maxwell describes a dream as “an inspiring picture of the future that energizes your mind, will, and emotions, empowering you to do everything you can to achieve it.”

Allow me to give you a few tips on achieving the dream God has put inside of you.

1. Know what the dream is. (Write a book, Become a painter, Become…)

2. Plan the path and pray the path. (You need action steps empowered by prayer)

3. Bring others into your dream. (Find people who will keep you accountable)

4. Overcome fear. (Never allow fear to master you) 5. Stop waiting. (Today is the day you start and not tomorrow)

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your dreams be built in a day. Now get going.