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…and the adventure begins, the most exciting and fulfilling journey imaginable

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

The Law of Celebration

This one is tough – it makes no difference how much I “want” to celebrate, it just seems impossible to do it right – hence my desire to go with the fact that there should be a law for such things that are so important.

I think we have the idea of celebrating events from the past – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, graduation, baptism etc.  They are commemorative and in many cases, sacramental ordinances of perpetual obligation, if not in a practice in observation.

It is quite possible that I have already misled you with this photo.

I mean, what if I wanted to celebrate God – who He is?  His intensity and goodness, or His justness and mercy? What does that look like – probably more like a solemn religious joy – right?

It is my pleasure to engage in many of the celebrations in our Christian community – namely Christmas and Easter being the two clearly visible ones.  In the past twenty-five years here is the trend I have seen – Christmas is about gifts and Easter is about Spring.  Talk about the fact that Christmas is about the coming of God to earth to show us the way to Him or the fact that Easter is about God dying to take our sins upon Himself so that we could spend eternity with Him and you get a “no reaction.”

I mean how can you not celebrate the coming of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; whose sacrifice will endure while time itself lasts; and to whose merits the salvation of our soul shall be ascribable throughout eternity. We are adopted into His family, a spared and redeemed people into the fellowship of His house, and He sustains us and  refreshes our souls.

The Lord makes all things new to those whom He delivers from the bondage of Satan, and takes to Himself to be His people. The time when He does this is to them the beginning of a new life. Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, we must continually delight ourselves in Him. No manner of work must be done, that is, no care admitted and indulged, which does not agree with, or would lessen this holy joy.

So long as we live we must continue learning, growing and reflecting Christ, rejoicing in Him always, with thankful mention of the great things He has done for us.  By the way, my niece made a decision to follow Christ on Sunday – inside I am going out of my skin, the angels in heaven are having a party because the one sheep that was lost has found her way home – how am I too celebrate such an amazing event?

 

 

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What stories you can tell!

Every adventure has an amazing story!

As we walk with God each day, taking on the responsibility of stewarding life here on earth, we will see miracles every day.

Posterity – that God alone, our God, the sole Maker, Governor and Supporter of the heavens and the earth and the sea, has visited with us and has changed us and has changed others as result of using us a blessing to them.  So we find God doing  marvelous works, that they might be had in everlasting remembrance.

He does not crush, He simply works such mighty wonders,to convince those who do not know Him, and will do so until the end of the world. To reveal that there is no cunning or power that can work against Him; and to show us, His followers, that whoever trusts in Him should never be confounded.

 

 

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Call to worship

It is a call that is for me as an individual and for us as a body of believers.  It is a call to those who do not know God to come and join us in the worship of the one, true God.

The call to worship is a calling, a purpose in our lives – without it we would literally die.

I do not believe that there is a single other purpose, calling, mandate or service that we can give to God that is greater than worship.  Worship is the climax of our touchpoint with God.  It is the time we bend our knee, our heart, our mind, our soul and claim Him to be Lord, Almighty God.

It is a calling out, a calling towards God, it is the very “protein” of our spiritual make-up.

There are two clear times in my life when I sense the call to worship the greatest.

When I find myself slipping away from the presence of God and when I find myself right in the middle of His presence.  Both experiences have the same result – my car, my house, the place where I am worshipping becomes filled with the presence of God.  When His presence is near, my sense of my sin is great and so I spend time crying, repenting, turning back to Him.  When His presence is near, I am almost outside of my own skin with the knowledge, the absolute knowing, that He loves me so much and the few inadequate words to express my love back to Him causes me to fall to my knees, be silent, soak in His presence, and just let Him love me.

I am thankful that I had a pastor who taught me what a call to worship looks like – and he had a son who knew how to bring the church to worship whenever he lead a service.  There are times when I feel I can stretch out my hand and actually touch the hem of His garment.

If we are going to be stewards of God on this earth, lets focus on not just doing the job, but worship, call others to worship, lead others in worship and melt together in the presence of God so that we are filled with God and can serve Him with all of our strength, mind, and soul, with passion and enthusiasm that comes from being filled with God.

 

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How can you Lord?

If we are going to blame God for the evil that exists in our world, you know I could have put a million different photos in this post without trying to find a cute photo depicting the struggles of a leader as they are trying to lead.

It is tough slugging when you are at the head of the pack and when you hit the wall, believing entirely along the way that God has led you this far only to possibly realize that you have been leading further into treacherous waters than where you came from and now you starting asking God a lot of questions.

I love playing chess.  It is a game of immense intelligence and foresight.  The best players have planned out their moves and their opponents at least ten moves ahead.  Sacrifice of crucial pieces and places in order to move another player to do the things that are necessary for checkmate happen throughout the game. The more the opponent does not realize what is happening, the more the slippery slope to the end of the game is near.

I follow the same philosophy in my job.  Every team member has a chess set to remind them to think past the end of their nose and move at least 3 moves forward before complaining, giving up, or asking questions.

God is the most amazing chess player.  We may be pawns in His game and I am not so sure how we all might feel about that.  We are the ones that usually suffer the affliction of loss or cost of advancement, but God in His wisdom knows that the direction He moves us and the places He positions us are we belong to see His plan of amazing redemption take place in the lives of people we may or may not know.

You may ask another question – why would anyone want to be a leader in such a cause?  What we are really asking is, who would want to lead and not know where they were going, what was the ultimate plan, what gains or losses would take place along the way in order to advance and reach the promised land?  A leader who has faith in God, called of God to lead, filled with the passion to make a difference and knowing full well that only one can make that difference – God.

I thank God for the right to question Him, share my doubts with Him and I thank Him even more for the countless testimonies of lives extremely damaged in the world by evil people who have stood up and said, I did not know it then, but I know it now – this is what God did while I was being damaged and this is what God produced and I am so amazingly grateful.

The whole idea of pressure, incredible pressure, pressure you and I cannot fathom, required in the making of a diamond.

Since we cannot understand it we ask questions – I know only one thing – He will answer them, in due time, by showing you His hand.  Most of us will not see that blessing as the answer to the question, we will forget to thank Him, so ask the question and may I suggest that you thank Him right away that you know that He is providing the answer which you probably will not see.

 

 

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They don’t believe and therefore will not do

The great fear of a leader is to leave their heart, soul and mind on the table, passionate, clear, and doable mission and vision – only to lift their heads, look into the eyes and hearts of those you wish to follow you and realize they have not bought in and therefore will not follow you.

I remember as a teenage, sensing the call of God in my life, and thinking of all the ways God could use me.  The dreams became nightmares when I found myself in situations, declaring the Word of God in a public setting and getting zero response.

That’s when it is easy to make excuses and tell God you are not ready to serve, not ready to engage, another few more years of Bible training, education, degrees, certificates etc.

George Carlin might have said it best in his show, Interview with Jesus, -”I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a man nailed to two pieces of wood. Especially if it’s me! “

Yet, once again, when I think like that, I forget that it’s not about me, it’s about glorifying God and if God wants to be glorified through whatever action He has asked me to do, He will.

With our call, there are a number of miracles that the Holy Spirit performs in us and through us.  The options are too numerous to mention here and I have heard some very creative methods that God has used through those who have yielded themselves as servants and followers of Jesus Christ.

We are right to agree that if they do not believe, they will not follow – so as God gives us His Holy Spirit, to empower us,  we can, through signs and wonders that He produces through us and in us, reveal to others, that indeed we have been with Jesus.

So it really has nothing to do with us – we are not that special – but placed into the hand of God – we become the leaders He desires us to be in order to bless those that we will be leading.

 

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Is no one watching?

I have been on a spiritual journey these past six months that has involved – food.

Yes, at a weight that God did not deem responsible, He has been coaxing me and then finally calling to attention that what people see when I speak to them, either face to face or as a guest speaker, is not a man who seeks after God, but a man who seeks after food.

That did it.

I began the task of eating properly.

This ties into the verse that God gave me this year to live by and I am so excited.  However, do not think that I was not tempted.  I asked myself this question every day – is no one watching?  The answer always, every day, came back – “yes, I am!”

I thank God that He cares so much and loves so much and is willing to come alongside and be there – watching.

A very good friend of mine belongs to an incredible church, filled with faith in God to do the impossible.  They just embarked on a 21-day fast for the community and for the church.  I joined in too.  I just finished today!

Oh boy, how many times did I want a piece of chocolate – too many times.  Now my fast was not a complete fast – my doctor asked me to have one meal a day.  There were times – is no one watching?  The kind reply – “I am” – assured me that He would take care of me during the day and that I would not die.

May you live the moment always knowing – in good times and in bad – God is watching, willing to come alongside and be there for you, helping you be the person He wants you to be.

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God turns into good what was intended for evil

What a promise!

We all have one or two of these kinds of people around us whose intentions are bad.  If they hear your dream their goal is to nullify it in any way, shape or form and make sure that by shutting it down they are taking away your life and making you just as miserable as they are.

But if it is God‘s dream, given to us – watch what will happen.  He designed good to come by it, and He will bring good out of it.

Little do we know that our actions, when falling under the decree of God, are the objects of it and that there is a path of providence in it.  Not to say that there is no free will, but to say that in His infinite wisdom He causes it to work for good.

That good usually means that people will be saved, as many people as possible – not necessarily just a spiritual salvation, but also one of wholeness – physical, emotional and intellectual as well.

What do we do in the meantime?

Direct people not to fear you, but to fear God; to humble themselves before the Lord, and to seek His forgiveness. Assure them of His kindness to them, just as God is kind to you. Broken spirits must be put together and encouraged.  Those we love and forgive, we must not only do good things for, but speak kindly towards as well.

For yourself, keep an excellent spirit, learn from God how to render good for evil. He will comfort you and will banish all your fears.

 

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purposefully

Life is not done accidentally.

God has designed us for a purpose and everything within us rejects the idea that life is meaningless.

Our hands are made to understand what needs to be done.

We can follow the flow, do the normal, be the average individual, decide not to rock the boat, be plain – or – be conscious of our calling, be who we should be or would be and know the obvious before you, but under divine impulse and a spirit of prophecy within us, discern what needs to be done.

What we find is that the Holy Spirit becomes the director of our actions.

Therefore there is power in our prayers and in our blessings and God hears them both.  They are both actions of faith placed in God to do what we are asking.

For those of us who walk in the purpose of God, we enjoy the favour of God, it is enough.

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Do not be afraid

Easier said then done!

There always doubts in our minds, especially when it comes to the will of God and the path which we must take to be on the journey He intended for us.

Most of us already know that besides God, there are few we can trust and most of us call out to God to give us a divine manifestation of Himself.

What I love about God is that He gives us exactly what we need in order for us to not be afraid – again, not what we want or are looking for, but what we need, and then the choice of being afraid or not being afraid is ours.

Without assurances from God most of us will not take the necessary risks to travel down paths unknown to us.  So we take the time to spend with God – prayer, reading His Word, worship, meditation – and by spending time in His presence, hearing His voice, we know.

Again, I know that it sounds easy, but the doubts always are there, even in the midst of His voice.  Sometimes God asks me to do things that I know at one time He asked me not to – all about timing – yet that causes crazy fears.  Others may have “prophesied” to you of hard times coming if you continue in your direction and that might be fearful.  The place where you are going is no where near where you believe God is calling you, and yet for a time He is, yet you can’t always be for certain – and it’s fearful.  It is because of these very things that  God provides us with explicit directions before He asks us to take such a journey with Him.

In our home, the age of our children come into play – what if some sort of evil action is taken against them, or either one of them or us would die and not be able to see each other again.  The other extreme is just as bad – what if we moved into a direction of more bliss and then be so tempted with that pleasantness that we might not want to move on when God calls again and possibly even forget that we have a different promised land that we should be yearning for – suffice to say, even the fear of making such a place our new god.

So we move forward and chose not to be afraid – seeking counsel, assistance, and a blessing from the Lord, paying attention to walking in His footsteps, receiving as many times as necessary the pledges of His covenant love – we expect His presence, and His peace.  Nothing can encourage us to fear no evil when passing through the valley of the shadow of death, but the presence of Christ.

 

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Can you predict the future?

My dad could for a period of time.

As he and my mom were searching for spiritual significance – even though my dad had a Dutch Reform background and my mom a Lutheran upbringing – they searched in the area of Edgar Casey and his ability to predict the future among many other things.

The more my dad got into this, the more “messages” he received about the future in regards to the persons he came in contact with.

Couple points they started to realize.  The “messages” were always bad news, never good news, the books that they were reading did not declare Jesus as the Son of God and that is the one thing that my mother knew was true and she became suspicious of the direction they were heading – away from God.

So one day, they burned all their books – 300 of them and turned their backs on the direction they were heading and decided instead to move towards God.

Let’s understand that Satan cannot create the future.  He can however mess it up.  God on the other hand has created the future, understands it, has purposed our lives in it and desires to bless us.

As a result, in order to help individuals along their way, God has gifted a number of gifts to us in order that we may know and thereby share the will of God with others at key points in their lives.  The message is always one of healing, direction, encouragement, wisdom, blessings…

So the prediction of the future is never our goal – ours is to be the servant of God in a time of incredible uncertainty and bring Him into it to make it a time of certainty – and God may be inclined to reveal a bit of the future to prepare, guide and direct us or others.

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