Reprising It

September 5, 2009

Have you ever noticed how deceptive our flesh is? Take for instance, how we think we have this great spiritual insight, only to have the Lord strip away the scales from our blinded eyes and give us an “Isaiah tours Heaven” experience. That happened to me today.

My life with my mother was not a pleasant one. Due to her upbringing, she developed a very unhealthy way of relating – that of constant criticism. It found its zenith in our relationship and deeply wounded me as a child. I still am, it would seem.

The Lord had me move in with she and dad to care for them about a year ago. (He told me to a year prior, but I didn’t want to believe He’d do that to me.) Dad passed away in March (read about that here). Well, she has not changed for the better and today, I lost it with her. After she refused to cease a critical attack upon my asking her to do so, I found myself delivering a very stern, “The Lord rebuke you! May the Lord rebuke you!” Being that it came from deep within, I was convinced that the Holy Spirit had just spoken.

In speaking about it with a close friend a little later, he was used of the Lord to open my eyes. It would seem that our wounds can express themselves. The scripture that comes to mind is, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;” Heb 12:15  By the time our conversation was finished, I’d had one of those holy moments where the Lord lovingly scourges us. So at church in the morning, I hope to get prayer for my all too human condition.


Alzheimer’s Didn’t Win

September 1, 2009

My dad passed away this past March from complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 88. And while he may not have been given the skills early in life to be the dad he could have been, he did open the door of his heart the night Jesus knocked and he is now home with Him. I share this here to relate the following.

Although dad’s mind left him, the Holy Spirit never did, and from time to time, He’d remind us of that. Like the way dad didn’t know who I was, but would call me, “Brother”. Or the day he looked at me and pointed, then said, “You’re going to go suddenly”, speaking of my departure from this earthly realm. (I take great comfort in that, knowing I’ll not be laying around in a bed.)

It wasn’t until a week or so after he’d gone home that the realization hit me about the times he’d tried to walk off from the house, because as he said, “I have to go home and see my mother”.

Yes, he died from Alzheimer’s, but I’m here to tell you, that disease didn’t win.


Jesus Is Our Refuge

September 1, 2009

There is great value in being aware of the enemy’s tactics and schemes. Especially from a prophetic perspective, when they pertain to the days in which we live. As there are many machinations afoot at all levels of society, most notably governments, we don’t want to be blind-sided. However, it is vitally important to realize that there is a danger in staring into the abyss. A dark fascination if you will, that can be mesmerizing. If given the chance, it will suck you right over the edge.

Jesus is our refuge. It is in Him that our safety lies, as does all wisdom and knowledge. We need to understand that He wants us to keep ourselves hidden in Him at all times. He will then direct our attention to the particular issues with which He desires us to be concerned. And as long as we stay sheltered, those issues will not overwhelm us or steal our joy.

So the next time you’re tempted to go traipsing off down the trail to gaze over the edge at a fascinating display of Satan’s dark ploys, stop and ask yourself, “Did the Lord send me on this mission?” If “No”, then please, turn around and head for home. Your very life may depend on it.


True Sight

August 30, 2009

Paul wrote by the Holy Spirit, that he “no longer recognized any man after the flesh”.  He wasn’t speaking of having bad eyes. To the contrary, he was speaking of a very acute sight, just not the physical kind. He had matured in Christ to the point where he understood that a man’s earthly credentials accounted for very, very little, if anything at all, in the Body of Christ. He now knew that it was what God revealed about an individual that was the determinant factor in knowing who the person truly was and just where they were at in life.

In my Christian life, I’ve seen great, great harm done to the Body of Christ by the failure of leadership to exercise this principle. I’ve seen people with a calling from God, placed in positions of authority, way before their time. Way before their “stuff” had been dealt with and their learning to walk in love. In certain cases, I’ve witnessed what could only be described as “self-validation” by ministries in jumping at the opportunity to have someone with “credentials” associated with them. I know of one case in point, where an individual is very learned, but has very little revelatory understanding of the grace of God, mainly having an intellectual one.

The Lord is calling His Body to get back to its roots in the selection of leadership and ordination. This life in Christ that we subscribe to, is first and foremost a spiritual journey. Not an intellectual one. For that, spiritually mature leaders are needed. They can only be recognized through the eyes of the Spirit. May we have the sight needed to see them.


On Being Judged

August 29, 2009

The scriptures make it clear that we will give an account of our lives to God, after this life. They also make it clear that our sins were already judged on the cross of Christ, some 2,000 years ago by man’s reckoning, yet before the foundation of the world, by God’s. So what’s the deal? What are we, as believers, going to be examining with Daddy?

We’re told that, “Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart”. Man sees the actions, God sees the motives. Therein lies the clue. Why we’ve done the “good works” that we have, will be brought into the light.

“Wood, hay and stubble”, will all be consumed in the fire of absolute truth at that judgement, resulting in loss. Only what is pure will remain and be rewarded for eternity. Only what has been done from love will be so accounted. All else is destined for destruction.


The True Gospel

August 28, 2009

In reading various blogs that purport to be “Christian”, I am left wondering just how many people truly have a heart knowledge of the subject. Ethical and moral dissertations abound, many deeply intellectual and worthy of Doctoral studies. They do not, for the most part however, arrive at the truth.

On the other hand, Jesus said that in the end, there would be many who would claim to be His, even by virtue of having done miraculous works in His name. Only to be told to depart from Him, as He never knew them.

The true gospel of Jesus lies in the middle. The “Radical Middle”, as a certain well known evangelical movement so aptly puts it. It is where the truth is both expressed and walked out in simplicity through grace, with profound implication and effect, as God himself affirms it by acts of His power. Anything other, is “another gospel” and its teachers are “accursed”, as Paul affirmed when writing by the Holy Spirit.


Financial Freedom

August 27, 2009

In these times of economic travail, the temptation comes strong to “take the bull by the horns” and “make it happen”. It can be a sure route to nowhere, if not to disaster. Jesus said, “There’s a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death”. He was speaking of self effort.

The primary key to God’s blessings then, isn’t in our laboring with everything we’ve got. You can look around you and see people who are doing that very thing, only to have their lives crumbling in on them.

No, the primary key is this: A yielded and compliant heart before God – a heart that is willing to follow after Jesus, wherever He leads. Take a look at Isaiah 58. Read it, meditate on it, get it into your heart. It’s God’s plan for our success.


Abuse

January 17, 2009

“I was 35 before I came into an understanding that I’d been abused. By then, the crop had come in. And although the garden reeked of rotting fruit, the gardener was now in the patient process of digging at the roots.”

This is an excerpt from the Author’s Story page.


Don’t Even Try

January 14, 2009

A good friend of mine is a believing Jew. And while he loves the Lord, he wrestles frequently with the temptation to “keep” the Law. Last night, I had one of those “Aha!” moments, when God suddenly opened my heart and poured out understanding. The following is the email content that I wrote to my friend as a result of that encounter:

“I believe I just had some insight:

The Law (Mosaic, not moral) imposed certain requirements on the Jews.
Jesus fulfilled every one of them, thereby satisfying all of its demands.
He is our substitute, in that He did what we could never do.
We don’t have to keep the Law, because He did and satisfied it in our place.
Grace is a free gift to us, paid for by His keeping of the Law.
For us to seek to keep it, is to dishonor/disallow Christ’s work in our place.
He is the keeping of the lawAll we need is Him.

All we’re required to do now, is to love Him with all of our hearts.
And out of that love, will flow the keeping of His commandments.
But it’s not the keeping of His commandments that makes us righteous.
It was His keeping of the Law and offering Himself in our place that does that.
Freedom, freedom, freedom!!!!!!”

So, if you, like my friend, find yourself continually trying to measure up and earn God’s love, get it into your heart that Jesus is enough. You can’t add anything to what He has done for you. And you don’t need to. That’s why it’s called, “Good News”.

Really?

January 9, 2009

Listen to some teaching in the American church, and you could end up believing that God is primarily concerned with our temporal happiness and comfort, if not our bank accounts. He’s not. What He’s about is of far greater import – that we be conformed to the image of Christ. And getting there hurts. Death usually does.

Make no mistake, there is great pain involved in following Jesus. The pain of the crucified life. The death of self. The cross of Christ. But the reward is beyond measure – unspeakable joy.

So, the next time you hear someone telling you how you can have it all by “exercising your faith”, stop and ask yourself if it’s a message that’s helping you to get a better grip on the cross you’re to carry. If it isn’t, it’s deception. No matter how sweet the taste.