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Archive for the tag “Christ”

“I will be like a guard…”

i will be your guardNothing gives me more comfort than knowing that God is guarding me – looking after me.

I think that from that perspective I can see how upset He gets when we trust our inanimate objects like other man-made idols and our money.  Even when it comes to putting ourselves, our jobs or whatever else we feel makes us successful in front of our affections for Him.

It takes the heart of God and we tell Him that He does not matter and that pain must crush Him incredibly.

I see God watching us closely, watching our every move and keeping harm away from us, keeping others who curse us from being successful in doing so and making sure that no one overruns us.

That is why we can rejoice in song on Sunday morning with other followers of Christ!  That is why we can shout for joy! Our King is here, the Righteous One, the Victor!  He came at first lowly, riding on a donkey’s colt and He did that to disarm us and bring us peace.  He did that to deliver us from death in a waterless pit so that He could create a new covenant with us, sealed with blood.

Can you here Him calling?  Come to a place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet hope!  For every one of your woes, I will give you two mercies!

Even when I need to take up arms, the Lord leads me as I fight.  It is His arrows that fly straight, it is His trumpet that makes the call.  You will defend me, You will subdue those who are against me and because they are under your feet, I shout with triumph!

It’s like a shepherd caring for their sheep – how wonderful and beautiful is that.  Such peace and such protection ensures an abundance of wealth and young people grow strong and everyone is radiant with health and happiness.

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Not by might, nor by power…

seed

Now there is a statement most of us are familiar with!

In a natural frame of mind we tend to think that in order to survive in this world, a person must be tough, strong, unbending, and harsh.  Then we get this little poke from God who says, no leave it to me and succeed because you let my Spirit reign as though you are few and weak and of course, we are.

You see, to the Spirit, He is interested in lasting value and really that is all He is interested in.  So when we are harassed, tired, discouraged and poor, we need to rethink – God is on our side.  As I live for God, I determine each day NOT to trust my own strength or abilities.  Instead, I depend on God and the work of the power of the Holy Spirit.

My success depends on this!

Looking for mountains to be flattened and ready to give God thanks for His mercy and grace.

Are we saying its not the right time?

are we saying its not the right time

Let’s face it, we all have lots of things to do, have all kinds of pressures, some of us are bombarded left, right and centre and find ourselves in more times than we care to imagine – frustrated.

So how can we encourage one another to seek God in the midst of all of this?

Encouragement I believe is the right word because when we look inside ourselves I think we can admit that we are discouraged, if left unattended, we stop our devotional time with God.  Encouragement is the tool God has given us to motivate one another, turn ourselves around, pick up our tools and continue the work we had begun in our journey of adventure.

Unfortunately, we find ourselves not there.

It seems that instead of reaching the lost world for Jesus, investing in missions, interceding, giving…we have found our hope and strength and encouragement in the building up of our wealth.  Then we have moved on to displaying that wealth in the homes we live and the decor displays our passion for luxury.

What we have failed to see is that the harder we work for ourselves, the less we have because we have ignored our spiritual calling.  The exact same principle is true in the reverse.  When we put God first, He will provide for our deepest needs.  In other place of priority that we put Him in, all our efforts are futile.

Caring for our physical needs while ignoring our relationship with God leads only to ruin because you will find that material possessions do not satisfy.

Our problem lies in confused priorities.  Jobs, homes, vacations, and leisure activities may rank higher on our list of importance than God.  When is the right time to become unconfused?  When is the right time to connect with our relationship with God?

 

 

 

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Illustration

illustration-of-apple-tree-on-white-background

There are many sermons that challenge us to understand that our lives are the illustration of God to those who have never opened a Bible or entered into a church or have ever had a conversation with a follower of Christ.

I believe that this is true.

If I do believe this is true, then my experience through job loss, marriage difficulties, pain and suffering, financial difficulties, raising children, success, loss of a loved one and life in general are God’s illustration of Himself through me to others.

Wonder what that painting looks like?

Does it show resentment, anger, disappointment, confusion, hate or does it show love, compassion, yielding obedience, a servant, submission, honour, respect or awe?

I believe that I am caught sometimes thinking I have the right to be….whatever…and God catches me and quietly shares with me that the world is watching – what do I want them to see.  Do I want them to see God or do I want them to see me?

Marriage difficulties I have had – with divorce among Christians at the 50% mark we have no better track record than the rest of the world.  My wife and I entered in marriage with the idea that we would never divorce, and if we did, we would follow the Biblical practice of not remarrying until one of us dies.

That was a good standard to follow because it helped me work through marriage issues until they were resolved.  However, the real issue for me was this — I tell everyone about the awesomeness and power of God and if I was to bail on my marriage, where would that awesomeness and power be?  That is correct – non-existent.  If God is not powerful enough to work in my marriage, then what can He really do?  Those are what drove me to my knees demanding God’s presence and hand and love to fill my marriage.

My marriage has also illustrated my own relationship with God.  How many times have I taken my marriage for granted illustrating the point of how many times I have taken God for granted?  How many times have I left my wife at home alone while I went on my adventure illustrating how many times I have left Jesus on the living room couch of my heart alone while I did my thing?

As I connect the dots between my life being an illustration and life events illustrating my relationship with God, especially with my relationship to my children, God opens the door of communication because I understand what I see sometimes more than what I read or hear.

We may not want to experience the pains or successes that we will experience in this life, but one thing is for sure, God is going to use them as an illustration of His love, gentleness, kindness, mercy and grace.  Also His saving power and the might of His right arm, but also the protection and refuge, a strong tower in times of trouble.

For those of us who God has asked for extraordinary obedience, we pray for trust – God has a special purpose for this particular illustration and has called us to provide it.  May we be satisfied with the knowledge that the pain involved in obedience may benefit those we serve, whether or not it involves us personally.

http://youtu.be/YWk7RUg3ZV4

 

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until my time is up

Until_his_time_is_up____by_CootjebPeople in control or power will do exactly as they please, even claiming no need for God or any god, for they sense they are even greater than they.  In the process they blaspheme the living God and yet go on being, prospering – until their time it up.  Little do they know that God’s plans are unshakable.

People who are followers of Christ will do exactly as they please, even claiming that all that they have is theirs – vacation time, house, car, job – and their needs and wants are more important and they place God in the position of a friend and go on being, prospering – until our time is up.  Little do they know that God has called them to a higher purpose, a missionary purpose, since the beginning of time.

There was a time when people used to say, “the Lord willing, I will see you tomorrow at three.” Today, we seem quite confident that we will see each other at three.  There is something special about holding time as an instrument of worship.  I have been practicing for sometime to be in prayer always.  I want to be able to make sure that I understand that my time is not mine, I gave it to God when I gave Him my life.  Time seems to be the element of my sacrifice that enables me to feel that I have actually given Him my life.

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.  Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.  Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return. – Mary Jean Irion

“Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; and take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.”
— St. Augustine
Time is one of the five love languages.  How will I express my love, through time, to my God today?
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Do you feel strengthened and helped?

kindergartenI find it amazing that the OT is filled with the wonder and amazement of God directly involved with His people and yet we somehow have difficulty understanding the movement of God or at least our NT world is quite different.

Sure we have Jesus who came, actually, who was sent by God to share the good news, and when He left, the Holy Spirit has remained behind and He has some very specific tasks to accomplish.

What about the angels that were so often described in some of the spiritual battles of the OT – have they disappeared in our NT world?

As a young child I remember stories vividly described by missionaries around the world – they saw angels involved and their lives were spared because of the presence of God’s messengers.  Maybe I am just not in the right circles anymore, because the missionaries today talk about microeconomics, building churches that look like mosques, creating orphanages and hospitals, water/food/medicine being of prime importance and evangelism that includes a normal attendance at church conferences of thousands upon thousands of people.  I just do not hear about angels anymore.

But my OT stories thrill me as do my NT stories and I know that angels play a key part in my life.  I believe that they are fighting a war that I cannot see, that there are adverse influences bearing on me from all around and that there is an angel that stands with me.  Can I prove it?

No, but I know it.

I know I have been strengthened.  I know that there is someone on my side confirming.  I know that I am being both served and defended and that certain affairs of mine have been taken care of.  These things happen by design and not by chance.

If evil spirits wish to do me harm then it just makes sense that angels come and direct and change those evil intentions.  They enable me to freely, with full liberty and encouragement, move along the narrow path and stay true to my calling – regardless of the doubts and hesitations that might creep into my mind or the objections that come across my path.  So wherever there is a movement or an influence by an evil spirit, their adversary is an angel of God.

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Has truth and righteousness perished, evil triumphs and prospered?

gold-sun-shineThis is a thought and an attitude that will prevail during the last days, before Christ‘s return.  What surprises me and maybe it shouldn’t, is how over the years of war, famine, pestilence and pain, the people complain how much evil seems to rule, to have a hand over good, maybe to the point that the Devil is the real ruler of this world and that God is just a spectator unable to do anything.

Yet, in truth they are right.

They have rejected God and they have desired to go their own way and do their own thing and reap what they have sown – and I am sure God weeps over this, gets angry about it, is moved by the martyrs and the blood that is shed by them as they try to live for Him in this world of so much pain.  For even they try to bring peace and hope with the message of salvation and they and their message are consistently rejected.

It seems that people really never have changed.

As I reflect on the OT people, they are no different from today.  As I reflect on the empires of the NT, they are the same and when I contemplate our world today, especially Middle East and Africa and Asia, the pain of the people put on them by the evil of a few, is hardly containable and healable.

So I conclude, as maybe the people of God in times past, that God has a plan, a timetable.  A time for peace, a time for war, a time when people turn to Him and a time when they turn away, a time for evil people to rise and for them to fall, a time for righteousness and truth and a time for evil to reign and have the upper hand…

May I, no matter what time I find myself in, be found searching for Him, desiring to follow Him, willing to die for Him, in sickness or in health, whether in poverty or blessing.

 

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Showing off

I am not too sure about why we need to be something bigger than we really are – but there seems to be a pressing need to do so because there are so few who are disciplined enough to not go here.

The problem with bragging is that as you brag about something at one event or more, you need to be prepared to brag about something else at the next few events, and that continues until you have made a complete fool of yourself.

There also seems to be a lifestyle that goes along with showing off – so there needs to be a lavish lifestyle that also needs to grow in order to maintain the increasing demand to show off more than what the next person can do.

Add to this the change in attitude that overtakes you.  You start believing in your own malarkey and start thinking that you are actually a somebody because of what you have done or what you own.  In fact, God might be at this point, a non-factor.

Once God is a non-factor, than the boundaries that have kept you safe and sane start disappearing.  Drinking, smoking, drugs etc. can become your next best friends along with a new set of sexual partners.

The journey started with one step, then another, then another.  There are signs along the way, but you choose to make them insignificant.

What does it take for God to get your attention?

How much does He care to arrest you and bring you back into the reality of the direction you have taken?

I have heard Him do such things – they are amazing testimonies.  I have also heard of those who continue to reject Him even though He has His loving arms around them and they die in their misery.

Am I going to far with such a simple issue of showing off?

Probably.  I get pretty intense fairly quickly.  I find in life that I need to have boundaries and that disciplining myself in the areas of my weakness helps keep me on the narrow path.  Bragging is something I really enjoy – impressing others give me a certain high.  So I am very careful to give others praise and always try to find a way to bring God into the picture.  I know, deep in my heart, that I am a nobody.  But filled with the Spirit of God, saved by grace, I am a child of the King of Kings, joint heir with Christ, and will reign with Him.

If I am to reign, I need to act like one with responsibilities and maturity in my task on hand.  That means that showing off is not the direction I am to take if I want to grow my leadership skills.

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Morning

I have been enjoying my walk with Jesus each day, beginning in the morning, for quite some time.

In trying to explain the importance of that to others, it does not help that I am a morning person and quite enjoy the exhilaration that comes with discovery of truths, instructions to guide my day and the acknowledgement that my day is a day of worshipping my Lord and looking forward to how I can bring glory to His name.

There are others who share how important their time is with the Lord during the late evening of the day.  I believe those times are special.

I guess the morning is the opening exhibit of my heart and the morning sets the tone for the day and what the day would look like or what I need to get me through the day.  It is like the night ends the story of that day and the morning sets the beginning of the day.  So my time with God yesterday, was for yesterday and my time with Him today, is for today.

Of course we can pray and worship and engage with God in any part of the day – but the morning holds a special part in my heart.  It is a time of  consecration, a time of worship and devotion that would commit myself and my day to Jesus.

 

 

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When do I fall down on my face?

It has only happened a few times in my life, but when the glory of the Lord enters into the space I am praying in, I have no alternative but to go on my knees.  If, from that position, I allow the Spirit of God to search my heart to see if there is anything there that needs attention, then I can tell you how painful the knowledge of that evil is and I end up on my face before God, in humility and repentance, seeking His grace.

I can’t explain what the glory of God looks like.  It is sudden, it is like waves of water rushing up to you and afterwards it feels like the whole area of my being was covered in light.

If you feel that this is something you want to experience – you should.  For those who have joined me with your face right into the ground, you know the pain of sin, and the heart of God that is broken because of sin, and that hurt is incredible and not something I like feeling.

Mercy Me came out with a song, I can only Imagine.  It talks about what will we be doing when we come face to face with Jesus.  I am so glad they included the possibility of landing on our face.  I think I will find myself there again.

I am so thankful that in spite of ourselves, Christ sets us free, rushes in to save us, cleanses us, and allows us to experience His grace in such a tangible way.

 

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