Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sitting In A Desert

I miss blogging.

As Solomon noted, there is a season for everything. After blogging through various platforms for nearly 15 years, I find myself in a season of quiet. It is a disturbing season. It is one that may lead a person to enter dry and lonely places.

Many people do not realize that those of us who blog do so for our own benefit. It focuses our thoughts, our ideas, opinions and provides a solid form to our living. Imagine our thoughts as wisps of smoke that quickly dissipate. Blogging gives form to those wisps allowing them to become part of us.

There are several tools needed for a Christian blogger. First, a wonderfully dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything in us and around us must be seen for his glory, purpose and mission. We desire to express in a way that brings him maximum glory and reveal him to our readers.

Second, a consistent feeding from the Word of God. This is the one thing that brings definition to our life and shapes our perception of the world so we see as our Father sees. Everything we write comes from this perspective.

Third, we need a burning desire to express the truth of God in relationship with our environment and life. There is something in us that must put into words what we are experiencing, how it applies, how it impacts the world around us.

Fourth, we need a medium to convey these things to people who are interested. Does a falling tree make any noise in the forest if there is no one there to hear it? Does a writer really write if there is no one there to read it? We can be very thankful that the internet has not gone completely  visual and does still allow for a writer's community.

But, alas, there is a fifth requirement for a Christian blogger that I am sadly lacking; a computer. I can possess the first four with great enthusiasm but will not get very far without the fifth. It is like a key that unlocks the door to the four treasures hidden within. I am thankful for the loan of this computer today, allowing me to express myself, like a tall glass of cool water on a hot summer day, but it is all too brief. Even now there are hands waiting to whisk it away.

So here I sit in the desert, knowing that my God takes me through seasons, for his purpose and my benefit. I am missing you my friends.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Do You Love Him Enough To Serve Him

Some of us are tired of trying to serve the Lord Jesus without the anointing to empower us to do so. Without the anointing we are doing it in our own strength and maybe for some people that is good enough. It is good enough to go to church. It is good enough to say you are Christian. It is good enough  not to participate in bad things.

Maybe for some it is good enough to be a good person, but being a good person does not make you the disciple Jesus called you to be. It makes you a moral person, and morality is not Christianity.

Somewhere along the way we have lost the extremity of love to which Jesus called us. We seem to ignore the fact that he called us to love him with all our heart, all our mind and all our strength. We seem to conveniently forget that nothing in our life can come before our love for him. We seem to ignorantly believe that Jesus was speaking about a unique situation when he spoke to the rich young ruler, telling him to sell all he had, giving to the poor and then returning to follow Jesus. And we are only willing to apply this to his finances and not to the many things that possess our hearts today.

There are scriptures after scriptures that clearly state that a relationship with Yahweh is all or nothing. To be possessed by the Spirit is to give up all rights and all self-determination. As Paul the apostle stated it:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

I don't really know how we can get away with believing this and not living it's implications. If we study the passage about the vine we discover that as branches we get life from the vine. If we try to be anything other than branches we are disconnected from the vine and there is no life in us.

It is important to understand that it is possible to recognize Jesus without submitting to his Lordship. We can worship him without living for him. We can live the appearance of godly lives with no power, and many of us are there.

There is nothing strange about the power of the Spirit in us. It is not a strange fire, as some have called it, but a much desired and needed fire. It is what Jesus has always intended to possess us because the Spirit is God in us. It should not be abnormal for believers but instead a daily living. Without this anointing we can only serve in the flesh, but we are now spiritual children and need to learn to live as such.

As long as we are distracted by the hundreds of distractions surrounding us in our daily living, we are diminishing the power of the Spirit in us. But, do we care enough to do anything about it? Is Jesus more important than anything else? Do we love him above all things? Is it really true of us, that we no longer live but it is Jesus who lives in us?

Jesus, revive your people again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thinking Too Highly Of Myself

There is one innocent looking verse in the gospels that continues to challenge me every time I read it.

"When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick." (Matthew 14:14)

Doesn't look like much by itself but when you put it in context with what was going on it becomes something awesome.

Jesus had just found out that the forerunner, his cousin John, had been illegally beheaded. Some don't attribute much emotion to Jesus but we see when he gets angry, when he cries, when he is frustrated, and here he probably feels a tone of different emotions.

Like most people who need time to process loss, Jesus just wanted to get away for a little bit. After receiving the news he jumps in a boat with his disciples to head off to a remote place. But suffering humanity anticipated where he would go and beat him there. So instead of finding solitude he was confronted by a desperate multitude of suffering people.

To be honest, if it was me, I would have been ticked off. I would have focused on how I was feeling and the fact that I needed some healing time. Most people would agree with me, but not Jesus. When he looked on those people he was filled with compassion. Once again, for the sake of other people, Jesus set aside his own needs. Not only did he have compassion, he acted on it and spent the rest of the day ministering out of his own need.

Now before we all shrug our shoulders saying, "He's God. No big deal", let's remember that he was here as one of us. He set aside his divinity. He was able to do what he did because he was anointed by the Spirit not because he was divine. So all those emotions were real. His mental stress was real. His physical exhaustion was real. His need for rest was real. But he also knew and understood the power he possessed through the Spirit and love was his driving force. Jesus was no more than we are who are possessed by the same Spirit, except he understood and acted on love much more than we do.

So, every time I am tempted to think that I have it together and I am pretty mature as a Christian, I remember this moment. I remember and I examine how I respond to people when I am tired and stressed. I examine and repent of my failure to live with love as my driving force. I have come a long way since the moment of my salvation 32 years ago but I am still in need of a lot of growth in my spiritual maturity. To be more like Jesus day by day must be our anthem.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Knowing What Is Important In Life

Love does win but not in the way many people in our society think and not by what they call love. The love that defines all love is Yahweh. Any other definition falls short of his glory and lacks the power to do anything but look good. The love accepted in this world goes no deeper than the flesh, is easily offended and quickly fades. The love of Yahweh is sacrificial at its core.

In a few of his letters to the Church Paul stated that he was praying for them to receive a deeper revelation of this love. To the Philippians he wrote:

This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. (1:9)

Love is not something that is suppose to be quickly understood and allowed to grow stale. It is such a huge subject that it takes a lifetime or longer to even begin to comprehend. The little ugly thing we call love can't compare to the surpassing glory of Yahweh's love. We should be pressing in to him every day to step deeper in the revelation of this love.

Now, Paul didn't pray this just for the sake of poetry or looking good. There is purpose in discovering the depth of this love:

I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. (1:10)

So an increasing revelation of true love, Yahweh's love, sacrificial love, enables the discernment of what is really important in life. Isn't that what we want, to understand what is important to hold on to and what to let go of; of what we should put our energy into and what doesn't deserve our attention? Is it really about riches, fame and comfort or is there greater purpose? Could love really be the key to understanding? The Bible says yes but it also says it is important for more than just life on this earth.

Paul says that a growing revelation of Yahweh's love will help us be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. He is not saying that works will save us but understanding this love will cause us to never doubt it. We will not fear the things of this world, we will not fall apart when things are removed from us and our priorities will keep us living as Jesus lived, for his glory, because of our increasing revelation of his love. Without a growing revelation of this love we will tend to drift back to what we want. And what we want will always be focused on us and will lead us right back into rebellion. We will do what we think is right instead of what Yahweh's love defines as being right.

So yes indeed, may our love become more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

From The Heart Of Melodie-Joy

I can't stay silent anymore.

Miscarriage is hard.

Allow me to start with saying that God blessed us with 2 beautiful children; our gorgeously independent Amelia and socially adventurous Jude. They bring so much joy to us and their 9 other half siblings.

Raising children is no easy task and you have to give it all you got and more. Without allowing God's correction in us we will only continue to fail as parents.

Each child is precious and a gift from God. Each little baby has a purpose in this life. There is a reason they were put in our lives and we can't allow ourselves to think otherwise.

This is why I am pro-life. Pro-life and we always leave it open for God to decide when we should be blessed once again. With that decision we don't work towards having more little ones, but we give God the control. Many would disagree with this decision claiming we are selfish to allow so many children into this world. Selfish because my husband is older and won't be around for them. Even my own family has their own words they speak about us. But the way I see the real selfishness is in not allowing those who were meant to be born into this world because it is not convenient to our lives; not enough money to support, not enough time to care for them, can't go on vacation, and so on.

We have decided to give up all our wants in life to allow God to use us to bring forth His people. Psalm 127:3-5 says, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."

I'm not writing this to condemn anyone. Only to try and help you as the reader understand our decision.

Bringing it back to the beginning, miscarriage is hard. I've gone through 4.

Maybe you've never experienced one or maybe you've experienced more. Let me tell you, it sucks. Plain and simple. I'd never wish that upon even my worst enemy. I've actually had people, family even, tell us that well maybe God knew that we just couldn't handle more. But my husband and I believe that according to Scripture the Lord gives us the strength to walk through everything.

I recently went through my 4th miscarriage. We didn't try to get pregnant. We were blessed to find out we were. The hardest part was to still praise Him as I laid in that bed in tremendous emotional and physical pain; to stand up and declare that He is still my God, to announce He is good.

The pain is still there. Praising Him doesn't take the pain away, but gives Him the opportunity to help us grow. To grow stronger in Him.

I mourn for those 4 precious babies that we never had the chance to meet. I know without a doubt that one day we will, but all I wanted was to see them and hold them; to show them how much joy they brought us even if it was for a short while. I wanted to shower love on them. We were stripped of the chance.

As I sit here trying to write this, the tears just can't be contained. It may sound silly, but I miss them. We never met but I carried them in my womb. They grew there. For some reason they also died there. I can ask why, but where would that get me?

I trust God. In all things I trust Him. I lift my hands and continue to give Him control because He knows best. Not man. I don't take the pill. I don't leave the choice up to man, I leave it to our God. The pill may take away the pain of miscarriage, but it also strips God of control to bless us with those He wants us to have. He opens and closes the womb. We see this all through Genesis.

Again, miscarriage is hard, but my God is in control.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Normalization Of Sin

It may seem a bit strange to a younger generation being raised in this age but I remember a time when fornication and adultery were not allowed to be depicted on television. It was an age when people "living together" was not accepted and very scandalous. Today, people having casual sex or living together is anything but scandalous: it is the norm. So how does sin go from unacceptable to being accepted as the norm?

At some point the Church made assumptions and stopped doing what it was suppose to do; mainly making disciples. We preached, we held people accountable but we did not come alongside and demonstrate what life in Christ looked like. We didn't invite people to become part of our lives, teaching them as we lived. We did the same with our children, assuming they would grow up in the faith. We taught them the Bible but we didn't have them walk alongside us, demonstrating what the power of Jesus looked like. We taught theory and assumed people would live it.

Now, along with this, we had people outside of the Church, not wanting anything to do with Jesus, doing whatever they felt was best. They saw the Church as an instrument of control instead of an influence for God's righteousness because, in truth, leaders of the time had the wrong attitude. They lorded their "power" over people instead of serving them. These disillusioned people arrived in places of influence and used the media and education as excellent instruments to change people's thinking.

So we had a huge part of the Church made up of nominal believers, ready to be swayed by the changing wind and we had a changing media and educational system that became a conduit of the wind. The most effective way to change people's mind toward sin is to normalize it, depict it as a common part of life. Slowly we saw more and more adultery and fornication being depicted on TV soap operas and TV shows after 9 pm. The attitude of society began to change and soon most people knew someone who was cohabiting instead of getting married. "Family" shows like Happy Days alluded to teens experimenting with sex. We began being entertained by the things God had declared as offensive to him. And the educational system welcomed and encouraged the changing attitudes.

This change has continued so now we celebrate vigilantes who murder in the name of justice and we call them heroes. We can turn on the television at any time of the day and see depicted sex acts between people who are not married. According to television, parents are idiots. Homosexuality is now depicted in almost every show as a normal, common thing. Our children are being educated according to this changing wind so that they are encouraged by teachers to experiment with sex, in any way their imagination takes them, as long as they do it with safe methods. It is now okay for a boy to think he is a girl and for a girl to think he is a boy. These are becoming the new norms, regardless of what the Church tries to teach. And so we see the mind of our society changing with the wind, but what is worse is the change we find in those we have failed to root in Jesus.

So the question we ask ourselves today is what mind do we have, one that is changed with the changing wind or the mind of Jesus, which knows the will of our Father?

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. (Ephesians 4:11-14)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Understanding Our Weakness

Many of us in the Body of Christ desire to be used by the Lord for his glory, but few of us are willing to pay the price. We read the Word through the eyes of our flesh, defined by the principles of this world without understanding how far we are from the heart of our Father.

Many of us find it hard to accept that the Lord needs to form our hearts before he can trust us with his glory. He needs to take us through storms and deserts, valleys and mountains, all with the purpose of forming what he needs us to be.

Consider what he took Joseph through before moving him into his eternal purpose. He faced slavery, false accusations, imprisonment but all the while he was developing a heart's heart in Joseph. A servant's heart is a must to be a leader with eternal purpose.

Our Lord will never give us what will destroy us. We may be looking for a million dollars to glorify our Lord, but he knows that million dollars will drive us far from him. We may be looking for things that he has not yet finished preparing us to receive. Often he wants us in a place of complete humility and utter dependence before he will move us into position, like Joseph.

Consider this Scripture:

The Lord said to Gideon: “You have too many people on your side. If I were to hand Midian over to them, the Israelites might claim credit for themselves rather than for me, thinking, We saved ourselves." (Judges 7:2)

Exactly. And if we are willing to be honest we would admit it is true of us as well. If our Lord does not do things in our weakness we will not give him the honour and glory. In our weakness he demonstrates his strength for the ultimate glory. Isn't that what we want?

Often we are children who just learned to ride a bicycle so think we are ready for a motorcycle. The most basic purpose of everything we go through is to learn humility and dependence on our Lord for all things. Until we learn, accept and walk in this truth, we will not move into our eternal purpose. We need to stop struggling in it, stop denying the Lord and begin to allow joy to permeate everything we experience.

We will continue to give him glory in all things but yet may not arrive at that place of maturity because the greatest glory is given in our weakness. Humility and dependence is the basic and yet pinnacle of everything in our service to the Lord.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Power To Love

How much of Jesus do you want? That's what we need to decide. What we should decide is that we want 100% of him, that we will not be satisfied with anything less. What we settle for is sadly much less. It is sad because there is no need for it. We are like that seed which had very shallow roots, so when the day became hot and dry, it died. As soon as any trouble or challenge comes our way, our faith fails because our relationship is shallow.

Since the first time I read the Bible as a child, Paul's prayer for the church of Ephesus overwhelmed me, and still does to this day:

I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

That we would find strength in the presence of Jesus in us; that our fellowship would be so real that we would be open to him strengthening us through the Spirit. Some of us imagine this sort of relationship but we don't understand how available it is to us, if we are willing to be in love with Jesus. We get caught up in all the trappings of the Church, of the religiously minded, of the law seekers, the circumcision group. We need to break free of this thinking and discover again the simplicity of the relationship.

We first have to accept and live the fact that Jesus is in us. We don't always live as if he is. If we did, we certainly would not want to join him to sin by allowing our bodies to enter into sin. If we were more conscious of his presence we would have greater strength to resist temptation. We would also be more in love with him as we understand intimacy with him. We are not praying to some distant god; we are living through the One who is in us, sharing every intimate detail of our lives with him.

Some of us want to grasp the greatness of God's love from a safe distance but this prayer reminds us that the starting point must be an intimate relationship of love with Jesus:

"As a result of having strong roots in love ..."

Paul prays that they will be lent the power to grasp the greatness of this love. If we would submit ourselves to this level of understanding, all selfishness would disappear and we would be provoked to love the loveless, to pray for those who persecute us and to befriend the sinners of this world, because they need to experience the love of Jesus.

Yes, go ahead and preach those powerful, anointed words, but also allow that power and anointing to but legs on what you teach in theory. The only way this world will know Jesus is when we grasp his love to the point of laying our lives down, giving up our rights and possessions, giving up our attachments, to show kindness, mercy and grace to the lost, even as they spit in our face, throw us in jail, destroy our reputations and put us to death. If we are to love like this in these extremes then should we not love with forgiveness in the little things as well?

This is what really stands out:

"...that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God. "

Beyond knowledge. Beyond study. Beyond theory. Empowered by the Spirit to know in your heart, mind, soul, so that you can put that love into action through his strength and power. Christian extremism is not upholding the Law of the Old Testament, it is living the fulfilled law of love that the Spirit has written on our hearts. It is not ignoring the fact of God's justice, but it is holding out the hope of love, forgiveness, mercy, grace to a dying world.

Let us set our heart and mind on things above instead on this decaying earth, and let us love as Jesus has loved us, to the point of sacrificing everything to lay down our loves for those he loves.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Expressing The Christian Life

So, you say you are Christian. What does that mean to you? There are a lot of people who say they are Christian but have no idea what they are claiming, and those who do understand don't necessarily know how it should be expressed. Most as satisfied with attending church and singing worship songs. For many this is about it when it comes to expressing their life as a Christian, but we have been saved for greater things.

I don't mean greater things for you. I don't mean a more comfortable life. Quite the opposite. The Christian life is meant to be lived uncomfortably. Even those who understand this life have not mastered it, but they are at least wrestling with it.

Now if you have studied Jesus at all you will know he taught some very uncomfortable things, like saying no to yourself, taking up your God-given calling and living as he lived; which means loving as he loved. But for the sake of brevity and simplicity today I want to make my point with one simple passage found in the powerful letter to the Ephesians:

You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Now let's just focus on this for a moment, "created in Christ Jesus to do good things". To do good things. Our life is not about us because we have received everything we need through Jesus and he is always there for us to run to, to get strength from. He is our encourager and helper in all we are called to do. And what we have been called to do is breathe goodness into other people's lives.

Now look at this: "God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives". This is our Christian expression, the goodness we breathe into the lives of others, the little things and big things. Our life is about being good to others. Helpful, generous, encouraging, pleasant, polite, joyful are all words that should describe who we are to others.

We know we are getting it wrong when we are easily offended by people, when we are too busy for people, when we don't notice the people around us, when kind is not how people would describe us. When we are constantly taking from people instead of adding to them, when everything is about us, when people don't want to be around us, we know we are failing.

So I ask you today, how are you expressing your faith in Christ?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

True Encouragement In The Body

What is the greatest ministry gift that the Spirit can bestow on a person in our current age? Is it not the ministry of encouragement? Not the encouragement of the world but of the Body of Christ. The greatest thing you can do for a brother and sister in the Lord is to lift them up spiritually, to speak words of encouragement into their lives, words that would enable the Spirit to encourage them in the darkest moments. It is an anointed ministry. We can all encourage but the spiritual gift of encouragement is a supernaturally powerful thing.

Maybe we forget that part of the reason we are here is to lift each other up. Maybe spiritual leaders forget they are here to build up the Body of Christ; not for personal gain but to see people grow in the Lord. Sometimes that encouragement includes correction.

Too many of us see encouragement as cheer leading but for leaders in the Body it also includes positive correction that helps people come closer to the Lord. Apostle Paul was a great example of this because he clearly understood it:

This is why I’m writing these things while I’m away. I’m writing so that I won’t need to act harshly when I’m with you by using the authority that the Lord gave me. He gave it to me so that I could build you up, not tear you down. (2 Corinthians 13:10)

Jesus told his disciples that leadership in the Kingdom means servanthood. Leaders of the Church are not like leaders of the world, they are not lords but ones who lay down their lives in service to the Body. But this type of leadership also requires leaders to correct in the same sense of a parent. It is never pleasant but necessary to reach the goal. The goal is spiritual maturity.

Correction that is brought is not meant to lead to destruction but to build up. Correction in the world involves vengeful justice but in the Church we do not look for justice; we look for correction, restoration and growth. Leaders must constantly demonstrate the forgiveness, mercy, grace, and correction of our Lord, and it costs us a lot because taking correction requires a level of maturity that much of the Church is lacking. But, good, Christ-centered leaders understand that this is what we are to do with the authority that has been given to us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Pastor's Heart

The desire of every leader in the Body of Christ is for you to grow. It may seem like we are preaching the Law, lots of do's and don'ts but that is not our intention. We simply desire to help you avoid common pitfalls and to grow into the fullness of Jesus. There are so many traps, so many distractions, so many things the enemy uses to tear you away from Christ. Even leaders are vulnerable and need accountability.

Perhaps the words of the apostle Paul best describe how we see our desire for you:

But I’m afraid that your minds might be seduced in the same way as the snake deceived Eve with his devious tricks. You might be unable to focus completely on a genuine and innocent commitment to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

We see the relationship Jesus intended for you to have with him and the Father. It is the reason he sent us the Spirit so we could be joined with them, have rich fellowship and to enable the transformation process to continue. Everything that is contrary to the character of Jesus works like acid against this intended relationship.

It is more than just understanding what pleases and displeases Yahweh, we have to desire to want to live to please him, to desire to reject everything he rejects and to lift up everything he considers important. It is the reason Scripture points out that even if everything were permitable not everything is beneficial. If activities in our lives are not moving us toward Jesus then we should be glad to get rid of them to make room for what does benefit us.

The enemy has been seducing the children of God for a long time and he is very good at it. He knows what works and what doesn't work. It is the reason the Scriptures tell us to stay alert because he is light a prowling lion looking for the weak to destroy them.

It is the reason Yahweh left no room for anything else when he told us to love him with our all, and Jesus told us that this one command is greater than anything else. That is what we should be spending our days learning to do. If we did we wouldn't be so concerned about a list of do's and don'ts because it is on the tender hearts that the Spirit is able to write the Law. Then we would never desire to do what is contrary to Jesus.

Love is not an abstract feeling, it is a concrete substance with tangible actions. Jesus said, if we loved him, truly loved him, our desire would not be to find loopholes to do what we want, but instead our desire would be to obey him, no matter the cost. This is the reason your pastor and elders spend their days keeping a watchful eye on you, desiring to train you in the way you should go. Next time you see them, thank them.

Monday, July 6, 2015

We Are Warriors

Not everything is as our society defines it. Not everything that exists can be seen. Just because we have yet to experience something does not mean it isn't real. If these things are true statements then we should not allow our society to define our reality but instead understand that our reality is defined by the Creator of heaven and earth.

We are warriors. Not warriors as our society defines them. We do not walk around with guns. We do not have mad martial art skills. We are not muscle bound freaks. Most of us aren't even much to look at. Our skills are limited. Our education is limited. Our finances are limited. Our circle of friends is limited. But we serve a King who is unlimited and he has called us into his service. We are his warriors. And our weapons are the most powerful weapons in all of creation, if only we would learn to use them:

Although we live in the world, we don’t fight our battles with human methods. Our weapons that we fight with aren’t human, but instead they are powered by God for the destruction of fortresses. They destroy arguments, and every defense that is raised up to oppose the knowledge of God. They capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Our problem is that we have been raised and educated in the system of this world. It feels familiar and comfortable to us. So when Jesus teaches us that there is a better way there is a lot of resistance on our part.

When Paul describes the Church as a body and explains that each of us are a part of it, as assigned by the Spirit and we are to work together for our common goal, we know that the only way this is possible is supernaturally because we don't get along very well. Then he tells us that there is one way that makes this possible. The enemy has tried to mimic this in the world but self-centeredness always exposes the truth of the matter. Paul describes this one way with great poetry:

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth.  Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) 

That is the supernatural love of Jesus worked out through us. The world can't live this because you need the Holy Spirit to do it. Your flesh will rise up against it and it is only in submission to Jesus that the Spirit is able to win over the flesh.

We are warriors of love, setting aside hate, fear, prejudice, revenge, rights, self. We are warriors who love those who hate us and pray for those who persecute us. We are warriors who pray in love against the dark fortresses that imprison the lost, the blind, the poor, the spiritual destitute. In love we are friends with the enemies of our Saviour for the sake of their salvation. We stand in the cesspools of our society, holding out the only hope that exists. We are warriors who fight against the dark principalities, praying for those who don't know enough to pray for themselves, be they friend or foe.

Perhaps we have been confused by the system of this world to think we are fighting for our rights. We are mistaken to defend ourselves in fear and hatred, with bitter and angry words, using insults and slurs. We have all the rights of the Kingdom of which we are citizens, something of much greater worth than rights on this earth. We aren't here to defend ourselves but to fight for those who would silence us, behead us, make us less than themselves, who perceive us as their enemy. We are hear to fight with a love that desires everyone to be saved from the judgement close at hand. Let us fight with the methods of our Lord.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Three Things To Do Now That Homosexual Marriage Is Legal

It is obvious that the Christian community in the United States is trying to figure out how to respond to the fact that the law has changed to permit homosexual marriage. Here in Canada that change was made a number of years ago. Can we say that the "horse has left the barn" on homosexual marriage? In fact, it left the barn a long time ago.

Without doubt marriage is a spiritual act, uniting a man and woman to become one flesh. It was created by God for our benefit on this earth (it does not exist in heaven).We choose to make this union in front of family and friends, calling them witnesses of this union that is made in the sight of God. It should have always remained us such but the Church dropped the ball when it allowed the State to take authority over it. As soon as we allowed governments to start issuing license for something that was a spiritual matter we lost. Now it is the State who gets to define marriage any way they want. We can continue to proclaim the truth but the world doesn't care.

Now we are left with some tough decisions. In some ways this could be a good thing as it gives clear distinction between believers and non-believers. Certainly the enemy will do everything he can to discredit our argument and failing that will try to discredit the Bible itself but that is nothing new to us. From the very beginning he has been questioning and trying to throw into confusion the commands of Yahweh. Check out the conversation with Eve in the garden. There are a few things I think the Church needs to do:

1. Return in all permits to perform State marriages. What do we have to do with a world system that cuts our God out of what he created. Do we allow them to license baptisms or communions? So why do they get to license marriages, or for that matter, pastors? We know we are in the end times and hearts are growing harder so there will be no going back now, so cut them loose.

2. Start drawing the distinction between the State marriage and the Church marriage. Allow people to have two ceremonies, one before God, and, if they want all the State benefits to marriage, one before the government. Let the State perform marriage as they see fit and we will continue with marriage as God defined it.  It is not up to the government to legislate our beliefs.

3. Stop taking government money for the Church. That's a hard one isn't it. Stop looking for tax exemption. As long as we are taking their money they are going to feel they have authority over us. We are a spiritual body not an NGO or corporation. We should never place ourselves in a position of dependence on anything other than Jesus. That should separate some sheep and goats.

Why are we following the patterns of this world? Why are we depending on flesh over Spirit? Why are we so flustered when the world goes in its natural course of rebellion to God? The reason is because we are more married to the world than we are to Jesus. It is time to change that. We can't have two husbands. We can't have two masters. We need to make a distinction. We need to decide.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


If we are busy trying to build our own kingdom or looking for loopholes in the Word of God to justify doing what we want to do, we need to question the genuineness of our relationship with Jesus. There is one underlying truth that wipes out our selfish desire to get what we want:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

"I no longer live" should bring clarity to our life in this world. It should also be clear that we have died to everything we were, everything we laid claim to, and everything we aspired to be. Now our desire is only Jesus, and obedience to the Father's will. This should be clear to us by now:

My dear friends, since we have these promises, let’s cleanse ourselves from anything that contaminates our body or spirit so that we make our holiness complete in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

The Holy Spirit convicts us of what needs to go and what needs to change after we come to Jesus, but it is up to us to offer it up. It is part of the process and takes the rest of our life, but as the Spirit makes us aware of what needs to go we need to surrender it. This is important at this moment of time because there are people calling themselves Christians who are advocating things of the flesh over the Spirit. They are trying to redefine Christianity to satisfy the demands of the flesh. God cannot be mocked.

The simple question each of us must ask ourselves is if we love Jesus more than anything else, even more than our deepest longings. The Word says to rid ourselves of anything that contaminates. The flesh wants to define this for our own advantage but the Spirit defines it according to the holiness of God. Jesus said, to qualify as his disciples, we have to deny our flesh, take up our spiritual mission and follow his example.

The time has come for us to become serious about our decision, to decide for Jesus and allowed him to be glorified through us no matter the cost. It is time to rise up in the holiness with which he has clothed us. Cleanse yourself from anything that contaminates.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Not Living For Ourselves

At the root of all our failings and rebellion is selfishness. It is when we put what we want and what we think ahead of other people and our God. Why is it so hard to obey our God, to accept what he wants? Because our perspective is that God just wants us to be happy whereas God's perspective is summed up in "Say no to yourself, take up your cross and do what I have done".

Can we take a sludge hammer to this point and drive it home? Can we use this to underline the difference between the world and the Kingdom of God? The world loves. The world cares. The world has compassion. But all these things are still filtered through a self-centered heart. Only Jesus can save us from ourselves. Only Jesus can strip the selfishness away from us. Only Jesus can enable us to love without us getting in the way.

Apostle Paul wrote:

He died for the sake of all so that those who are alive should live not for themselves but for the one who died for them and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

So do we live for ourselves? Live for our family? Live for some noble theme? No, we live for Jesus and only Jesus. He defines everything we are, everything we do, everything we say, everything we think and feel. It is not about what we perceive as being how God created us but who we have become and been transformed into through and in Jesus.

This is why it is hard for us to have a conversation with a person without Jesus. It is very difficult to find any common ground to start the conversation. They reject everything that defines us. So the only way it can produce anything is if the conviction of the Spirit is in it. This means we need to be sensitive to the Spirit more now than ever before. We need to be directed by him and not by our own wisdom.

May things become clearer for us as the days get darker.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Choice Is Clear

Good day my friends, God is good all the time. You may not always feel like it but we don't go by our feelings, we live by the facts of the Word and our experience. Today may be difficult and I may have lots of questions but Jesus has proved himself faithful in the past and he will continue to prove to be faithful today. I know this because the Spirit of God testifies to my spirit of this truth. But what do people do who do not have the Spirit of God or who shut out the Spirit?

Those of us who live through Jesus scratch our heads and ask ourselves, why can't the world see it. In fact, we ask that about parts of the Church as well, because there are those who have the appearance of godliness but lack the power, which is the power that transforms and allows us to understand Yahweh, his revelation and his plan. This is what is written:

The god of this age has blinded the minds of those who don’t have faith so they couldn’t see the light of the gospel that reveals Christ’s glory. Christ is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

So if people don't understand why you do what you do, you should know why. There are so many Scriptures that explain this that we should not be surprised when the world says good is bad and bad is good. Scripture says:

But people who are unspiritual don’t accept the things from God’s Spirit. They are foolishness to them and can’t be understood, because they can only be comprehended in a spiritual way. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

However, Paul wasn't addressing struggles with the world, because it is obvious that the world is in rebellion to God, but he was addressing Christians who lacked the ability to understand. They had not progressed in their spiritual maturity, had not learned to rely on the Spirit and were still relying on the wisdom of the world:

Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:1)

And again:

Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards? (3:3)

Certainly things are getting worse in the world but what is disheartening is the confusion it is causing in the Church. God is still God. Jesus is still Lord. The Holy Spirit is still the power of God in us. The Church is still the Body of Christ. The holy is still holy and the common is still common. Nothing has changed for us, just the lostness of the world is more clear, and gets clearer with each passing day. But in the Church it is also becoming clear to us who are controlled by the Spirit and who are controlled by the patterns of this world.

This fact should also be clear to us, Jesus told us we cannot have it both ways. We cannot be friends with the world and be friends with him:

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Matthew 6:24)

James explained it with no uncertain terms:

You unfaithful people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world's friend becomes God's enemy. (James 4:4)

It used to be that people could fudge the lines but now the distinction is clear. And now for us the choice is clear. As Joshua told Israel, we have to make a clear decision concerning who we will serve. Will it be the Lord? Then let us serve him wholeheartedly, seeking his righteousness. If it be the world, then stop calling yourself Christian.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Is The Church Presenting The Reality Of Jesus?

Don't you ever get the feeling that we are getting it wrong? Don't you ever sit in Church and feel that we are being presented with a sanitized God? After all, this is the God who sacrificed his Son, killing him on the cross, so that we could be adopted as his children. It seems odd that this same God desires to give us everything we want and to spoil us with what we ask. Is he really interested in seeing us all wealthy, healthy and satisfied in this place? (There is a difference between satisfied and content) If that is how you see Father then you are not being presented with the true revelation of our God found in the Bible and understood through the Spirit.

There are two things going on in our life when we serve the Lord in this world. First, there is our service to him as we deal with people with compassion and grace while presenting them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to make disciples. But while we are doing this, our wonderful God is also developing us, helping us grow and mature. He does this in the messiness of life and ministry.

Our Father has no desire to spoil us but he wants to bless us, equip us with what we need in our service to him. If we need a bicycle to get around to minister in our neighbourhood he will provide the means; if we need a multi-million dollar jet he will provide it. He tells us to ask. He will provide for where he has placed us. He will also lead us through the mess and ugliness of life in our development. The world is a messy and ugly place in comparison to his glory. We need to understand that these two things, his provision and our development,  are not contrary but have different purposes.

At the very foundation of our relationship is dependence. That is hard for us because from birth we have been taught to be independent, but when we come to Jesus we are taught to depend on him for everything. He isn't interested in what we have to offer. He wants us to empty ourselves and allow him to use us as he needs us, in whatever capacity, with the tool of a bicycle or a jet. Sometimes, he needs to lead us through difficult times in our training so we don't rely on ourselves but learn to turn to him in every situation. Paul the apostle wrote:

 Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be unaware of the troubles that we went through in Asia. We were weighed down with a load of suffering that was so far beyond our strength that we were afraid we might not survive. It certainly seemed to us as if we had gotten the death penalty. This was so that we would have confidence in God, who raises the dead, instead of ourselves. (1 Corinthians 1:8-9)

I don't know about you but I have had periods in my life that felt like I was going to be destroyed. I had a choice in each incident to try to help myself (which was actually beyond my ability or anyone else's) or to turn to the Lord. I spent hours, days, weeks, in worship, reminding myself who my Lord is and what he promised. I washed myself in Scripture and soaked myself in worship. It felt like I was at the point of death but sustained me and eventually interceded and rescued me. In those moments I learned that my strength was not sufficient but my Lord's was. I need him for everything and I dare not try to serve him in my limited abilities.

Maybe that is hard for you to understand. Just keep in mind that you have been raised by your parents and society to be independent, so the thought of not relying on yourself can be foreign and frightening. But the only way we can serve our Lord is understanding our constant dependence on the Vine (Jesus). A branch cannot support itself, but from the sap we receive through the vine (Jesus) he is able to produce fruit through us. The fruit is not for the branch but for those who would eat from it.

Our life is a classroom and Father is the teacher, training and transforming us in the power of the Spirit to be like the Son, Jesus. So let us submit ourselves, learn our lessons and grow into the fullness of Jesus Christ. Doing this will mean that we never lose our joy or peace, when we realize that our God is in all the messiness of life. Never stop singing his praise. Trust. Obey. Lean.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Do We Hate Evil?

The Christian Church is all over the place with it's doctrine, finding it hard to hold any form of unity. We have taken the Holy Scriptures and twisted them to our own liking so much so that most Christians simply do what they feel is best, according to their own thinking. This is the reason we have many young Christians supporting the complete opposite of what is found in the Word of God. We are indeed heading into rough waters.

People who do not know any better are saying, "Jesus didn't say anything about this, that or the other thing, so it means it is okay with God". They fail to understand that Jesus is the Word and he taught with the Hebrew Scriptures as the foundation. In fact, he clarified some of these Scriptures and brought us to a deeper understanding of holiness. Without the Spirit you can make the Scriptures say whatever you want. With the Spirit, the Father's heart is clear. He hates evil:

Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. (Romans 12:9)

This is an amazing chapter that gives us an outline as to how our life should look by the transformation the Spirit is doing in us. These are not character traits that we can transform into by our effort, but by setting our eyes on Jesus he will do this good work in us, transforming us to be like him. But we must desire it and set our heart on it. Let's put a few of the things in this chapter in point form:

Love should be shown without pretending.
Hate evil, and hold on to what is good.
Love each other like the members of your family.
Be the best at showing honor to each other.
Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!
Be happy in your hope
stand your ground when you’re in trouble
devote yourselves to prayer
Contribute to the needs of God’s people
welcome strangers into your home
Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them.
Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying.
Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status.
Don’t think that you’re so smart.
Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.

It goes on but you probably see the point. What we consider to be the Christian walk today has been shaped by the precepts of this world instead of the character of Jesus. Now know this, supporting any form of anything Yahweh has declared to offend him is supporting evil and there are consequences:

Though they know God’s decision that those who persist in such practices deserve death, they not only keep doing these things but also approve others who practice them. (Romans 1:32)

We cannot mock God, he knows the motivation of our heart. He expects us to be open and truthful with him and to follow the example of the Son. It is not a free for all. To declare him as our God and to follow Jesus Christ brings with it responsibilities. We have the responsibility to resist evil, to grow in maturity, to demonstrated Jesus in us, to be holy and to love as he has loved us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Selfishness Is Rebellion

The great rebellion against our Creator comes from a selfish nature that promotes my needs above everything else. Selfishness is at the core of all sin. Even after we accept Jesus we struggle against the desire to seek what is good for us, ahead of what is good for others. It causes fights in church, and leads us into wrong doctrine. Sometimes it gets so bad I wonder if we are even reading the same Scriptures. Do we not understand what Jesus was saying when he explained what it takes to be his disciple?

“All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)

I hear a lot about crosses and following and very little about denying ourselves. In fact, it is the opposite. It is all about rights, self love, promoting self, protecting self. People believe because they feel it they have to act on it. There is so much confusion and lines being smudged because we don't know how to say no to ourselves, to step into our responsibilities and to live as Jesus lived.

The very foundation of our Christian beliefs is self-sacrificing love, putting other people ahead of ourselves, considering other people more important than ourselves. This is based on the fact that since we have Jesus we don't need anything else and that demonstrating the love of Jesus costs. It costs us our right to be hurt, our right for vengeful justice, our right to be right:

Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

It comes down to understanding what Jesus meant by "take up your cross daily". Why are you here? For yourself or for Jesus? Are you here to make a great life for yourself or to carry out the will of Father? Our life has a purpose here. Do you understand what it is? Consider Paul's view of his life:

I please everyone in everything I do. I don’t look out for my own advantage, but I look out for many people so that they can be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:33)

Not a lot of place for self gratification or self love there. Paul lived so people could be saved. His desire was to be used by Jesus for the salvation of others. His desire, his interests, his comfort were not important. He was pliable according to the situation so he would have the opportunity to present Jesus. This is love, not to love ourselves but to pour out our lives to the benefit of those for whom our Lord laid down his life to save. Is there a more noble reason for us to live a self-less life in service to our King and the lost of this world?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Not Of This World

We are not of this earth. We need to remind ourselves of this constantly. We are not of this earth because when we were born again through Jesus, we were made as a new creation. We were changed. We were changed from a  creature of the dust to a creature of the Spirit. As such, we are governed by a different reality, a different set of laws; not something less than this world but something more.

Paul explained to the Corinthians:

So it is also written,The first human, Adam, became a living person, and the last Adam became a spirit that gives life. But the physical body comes first, not the spiritual one—the spiritual body comes afterward. The first human was from the earth made from dust; the second human is from heaven. The nature of the person made of dust is shared by people who are made of dust, and the nature of the heavenly person is shared by heavenly people. (1 Corinthians 15:45-48)

This is a serious matter and needs to be understood. It explains why so many followers of Jesus are being deceived to follow the patterns of this world instead of the precepts of the Kingdom. The Word warns:

See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Read that through a few times until it begins to sink in. Because many of us have not understood this we have allowed ourselves to be deceived. We have allowed ourselves to be enslaved with philosophies and foolish deception. Why would we allow anyone to convince us about things that are contrary to the Word of God? Many of us think we are living the Word but we are living according to the changing traditions of man.

There needs to be a great calling out to Jesus, a mass repentance, and a desiring for the truth of our God. Many who teach in Jesus name, in the opposite direction of the Word, don't even study the Word, are not possessed by the Spirit and so spread the teachings of demons.

I pray all of us will consider this, ask the Spirit to examine us and then respond to his conviction. Lord, help us in these final days to serve you in this world without being polluted by the world. Help us to remain faithful to you, your ways, your Spirit and the Father's will to the very last breath.

Monday, June 22, 2015

We Really Are Different

As a Christian sometimes it feels like we are shouting into the wind. Things that seem so clear to us appears to be lost on people. We forget that we are no longer what we were; we have been changed, made into a new creation. Our mind is transformed so we see from a different perspective. Our priorities are different but so is our ability to understand the will of Jesus. Those without the Spirit do not have the mind of Christ:

Spiritual people comprehend everything, but they themselves aren’t understood by anyone. (1 Corinthians 2:15)

So when we are talking about abortion, homosexuality, or any of the hot button issues of our day, we really don't have a common ground from which to talk. People without the Spirit honestly believe that they are logical in their argument. We should be able to understand this because it is from what we were before Jesus. Isaiah described what it is was without the Spirit of God:

Who has known the mind of the Lord, who will advise him?

Paul the apostle quoted this as he described it in 1 Corinthians 2:16 but he didn't leave it there. He let us know there is a difference since the Spirit now resides in us:

But we have the mind of Christ.

And that is why we see everything so different from our friends who are without Jesus.  They are arguing from the focal point of this world but everything we knew has been redefine by the cross, the empty grave, the ascended Lord and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. We can express the perspective of heaven to our friends but I see no point in arguing about it.

Jesus told us:

Don’t give holy things to dogs, and don’t throw your pearls in front of pigs. They will stomp on the pearls, then turn around and attack you. (Matthew 7:6)

We would save ourselves a lot of trouble if we could accept that without the Spirit of God, the world cannot understand the value of the pearls. Yahweh's logic seems like foolishness to them. In these end days the difference is going to become more pronounced. We need to expect this. Love them, but don't change to try to get them to understand. The enemy will try to trip you up with this by telling you that if you compromise a couple of things your friends may be saved. Instead, you may be lost. Leave it to the conviction of the Spirit. You stay faithful to Jesus.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

We Need The Spirit

The battle-lines are being drawn. Are you on the Lord's side? Scriptures say that many people will think they are okay only to be surprised on The Day that they have deceived themselves. Don't be deceived. Our God is not "whatever you want to do". There is a way to walk with Jesus, to be in fellowship with him; it is Yahweh's way, not what we think is best to do.

Let's give ourselves a good shake. It is better to be corrected in this place now then to find out we have been wrong and end up being judged with the world. We have been given the wisdom of Father and it is very different then the wisdom of the world. Too many of us are living according to this world, fooling ourselves into believing it is the way of Yahweh. The problem is with the Spirit.

There are too many of us who are walking around with a head knowledge but with no living connection with Jesus. It is by the Spirit we are joined with Jesus but too many of us have fallen for lies about the Spirit and so do not understand he is vital for life in Christ. In these final days we have to gain knowledge about the Spirit and act on it:

God has revealed these things to us through the Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, including the depths of God. Who knows a person’s depths except their own spirit that lives in them? In the same way, no one has known the depths of God except God’s Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:10-11)

If you want to follow Jesus, do his will, be faithful to the end, you need the Spirit. If we are to live by the wisdom of Father, we need the Spirit. We cannot know our God without his Spirit teaching us and giving us understanding; also to convict us to do what is right. We listen to knowledge and confuse it for wisdom. So much of the world has crept into the pulpit because of the lovers of knowledge instead of the Lord:

We haven’t received the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit so that we can know the things given to us by God. These are the things we are talking about—not with words taught by human wisdom but with words taught by the Spirit—we are interpreting spiritual things to spiritual people. But people who are unspiritual don’t accept the things from God’s Spirit. They are foolishness to them and can’t be understood, because they can only be comprehended in a spiritual way. (v. 12-14)

According to the wisdom of the world this truth can be disputed, but if we say that we follow Jesus then we accept the Word is truth and live accordingly, empowered by the Spirit. If we try to live through these days without the Spirit of God we will be confused and lost. We need to make the right decisions while there is still time.

"I want more of you Spirit." May this be our constant prayer as we desire to be more like Jesus.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Which Wisdom Is Directing Your Days?

Very little I say will make any sense to those who have not accepted Jesus Christ. It is the reason that much of what I write, teach and preach is misunderstood because they understand from one perspective and I from another. We don't have common ground. My real concern is not that non-Christians do not agree with me, but that a huge division is forming among believers, because some choose the wisdom of this world over the wisdom of our Father.

Each of us have to decide whether we are on the Lord's side or not. Do we believe what Jesus taught? Do we believe what he demonstrated? Do we believe the promises he gave? Or are we going to explain these things and interpret our actions according to the wisdom of this world? The difference is significant. It always has been.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

What we say is wisdom to people who are mature. It isn’t a wisdom that comes from the present day or from today’s leaders who are being reduced to nothing. (1 Corinthians 2:6)

Wisdom to people who are mature. The goal of every Christian should be to grow into the fullness of Jesus; to be mature in the Lord. Sometimes that wisdom comes through hard lessons that today we try to avoid. Sometimes it is wisdom gained by standing on the truth no matter the cost. Sometimes it comes by believing the revelations given through the Word of God. But it is certainly a different wisdom from the wisdom of this world.

If we are going to be strong Christians in these end days we need to start rejecting what many consider to be wisdom today. We need to reject it and submit ourselves to the wisdom of Yahweh. We need to make our desire for maturity to be key to how we see everything in our life. Remember what was written to the Ephesians:

God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ.  As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part. (Ephesians 4:13b-16)

Making our mark in this world is not our goal. To carve out a comfortable life is not our goal. To live safe is not our goal. To grow up in Jesus is our goal. Wisdom, true wisdom is part of that maturity. It is time for us to understand the difference between the world and Jesus so that we can stand strong in Jesus in these final hours of the world as we know it.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I've Got The Power

There are many things in the Church that need the Spirit's correction but none greater than the lack of power we are experiencing. We have tons of knowledge, maybe too much. We are top heavy with teachers but it requires power to be "doers" of the Word. In fact, there is an open attack from the Body on the parts of the Body that desire to operate by the power of Jesus. I think this is the greatest challenge we face, having the appearance of godliness without the power.

We are too dependent on our knowledge; far too dependent. We need some "Peter's" who learned to operate according to the Spirit, sometimes learning those lessons the hard way. Peter is an obvious example but often we overlook Paul because we consider him to be a learned man, which he was, but we fail to recognize that he set aside all of that when he answered Jesus' call.

Consider again what he wrote to the Corinthians:

My message and my preaching weren’t presented with convincing wise words but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. (1 Corinthians 2:4)

Why? Because the Corinthians loved the discussion of philosophies. Yahweh did not want Jesus to be another philosophy and he has no problem with making himself evident to people. The real problem lies with us, because most of us don't ask and have no expectation for Yahweh to manifest himself through us. We like to keep Christianity a safe philosophy, something that helps us cope with life in general. But if you really knew what Jesus said you would understand that Jesus will not accept this form of followers or worship. It is all or nothing.

The Church has become a safe place but there is nothing safe about true Christianity. It is a relationship that head dives into the dark, expecting to wind up in Father's arms. It is with the same trust and expectation as a three year old jumping off the top bunk into his father's arms. He has no fear because he knows that daddy is there for him.

The Spirit has been given to us so that Jesus can be glorified in us. How is he glorified? When we allow him to use the foolish things (us) to confound the wise (of this world). Paul put it in simple terms:

I did this so that your faith might not depend on the wisdom of people but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:5)

If we are to have any impact in these last days filled with confusion and darkness, we must learn to operate in the Spirit of God. We need to become a people of power so that Jesus can be glorified in us. It will not be without resistance and persecution but we need to be willing to be his obedient servant's in these days and we can't do it without the power of the Spirit every moment of every day.

If you want to be a strong follower of Jesus in these last days, you need to take the time to discover more about the power of our God that is available to you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Leadership In The End Days

Our idea of leadership in the Church these days suck. I wish I could find a better word to use but it seems the most appropriate. Leadership is groomed to look handsome, tailored, well spoken, well presented, professional, confident, empowering, attractive. Spit and polish is how it seems and anyone who doesn't fit into that mould, regardless of anointing, is kicked to the curb. But such leaders in these last days are going to fail and the Lord is going to raise up his anointed to step forward in his power and strength, and who he has chosen may surprise all of us.

When we think of Paul the apostle we often think of a passionate, educated, confident man who God used greatly according to his ability. But that is not how Paul saw it. He saw himself as not deserving anything from Jesus, yet he never denied who he was in Jesus. He saw no strength in himself but ministered in the Lord's strength. He did not travel about with confidence in himself because his confidence was only found in Jesus.

This is how he described himself to the Corinthians:

I stood in front of you with weakness, fear, and a lot of shaking. (1 Corinthians 2:3)

This is the same leader/trainer/teacher who wrote:

I can endure all these things through the power of the one who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Each of us have been called and given tasks in the Body of Christ. Each of us have received power to enable us to do those things. It is not about our ability, personality, strength and confidence; it is about us living in Jesus. In order for Jesus to be glorified in us during these days ahead, we need to learn what it is to live in Jesus. Don't deny his work in you just because you don't look or feel the part. It is according to his will:

All these things are produced by the one and same Spirit who gives what he wants to each person. (1 Corinthians 12:11)

For far too long we have allowed the educated, talented and "beautiful" people to take us (the Church) off track. We have allowed the managers and marketers to take the place of the Holy Spirit. We have set aside our purpose of making disciples for the more glorious and incorrect task of building mini kingdoms. If we as individuals are to survive the days ahead, we need to cast off every pattern of this world and learn to live by the Spirit of God, according to his will and strength:

Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. (Romans 2:2)

We must prepare ourselves for the days ahead. Get intimate with Jesus.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jesus And Only Jesus

Do you want to be a strong Christian? Most of us do but then again most of us don't do anything about it. We know what we want to be but we don't like what it takes to get there. It is true physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Most of us consider ourselves Christian even if we have no idea what that means. If we knew what it meant many would drop the title. In these finals days of life as we know it on this planet, we need to understand  what it is to be a Christian and decide if that is what we want to be. If we do, then we need to grab a hold of it with both hands and give ourselves completely to Jesus.

Do you know that Jesus said that if we put our hand to the plow and then become double minded. looking back, wishing we could go back, we are not worthy of him. He said many things like this to make it clear that to follow him is to give everything or gain nothing. Remember these words:

"All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23

There is no half way with Jesus but that is how most of us live: half-heartedly.

When Paul preached in Corinth, he described his approach this way:

I had made up my mind not to think about anything while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and to preach him as crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Not double, triple or quadruple minded like us but single minded. Paul set aside everything else he knew so he could concentrate only on Jesus. Why was Paul used so much by Jesus? Because he had such a great skill set, such intelligence, such knowledge? Paul said he set aside all he had been to pursue Jesus. No, it wasn't Paul's skills or intelligence but his availability and singleness of mind. He had one purpose, to make disciples and see the Kingdom increase.

In these last days we need to throw off everything that has caused us to be double minded. We can't give the enemy even a small crack of opportunity to distract and separate us. We need to see our purpose to glorify Jesus with our lives, to make disciples, and to be available for his directions. And then pour all our selves into this purpose.

But knowing what we need to do and actually doing it are two different things. There are a lot of pleasures in this world that seem very innocent, not sinful at all. But are they beneficial? Do they bring us closer to Jesus? Do they add to the Kingdom? Or are they a root cause for our double mindedness?

Do we really want to follow Jesus in these final days? I hope we do because things are about to get even more confusing. If we haven't hidden ourselves in Jesus we are going to be lost. But things need to change in us. We need to ask for more of the Spirit, to surrender anything that is not a benefit to our growth and the growth of others and give 100% to the mission at hand.

"I made up my mind..."