Saturday, March 30, 2013

Jonah in the belly of the fish, Jesus in the tomb, manna He provides

I love a word fitly spoken (proverbs 25:11) and this morning I was studying in Jonah and loved how timely it was that The Lord landed me to study about the 3 days Jonah spent in the belly of the great fish and how He compared His three days to that same sign that happened to Jonah. Yet more interestingly it was God that provided the large fish to swallow him. I've read and read and different commentators disagree but since it's in the scripts, and Jesus references it, ill take it to the spiritual bank. I had not planned on looking up the Hebrew word for "provided" but as it stared me in the face I saw "manah" and it hit me in a personal way. God rained down manna for the Israelites to eat and they had to go out and gather it in proportion to their need. In the same way, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through His word as followers of Christ but we have to get up and gather that daily bread. The manna of His word and the bread of His presence. I talk to so many people who have very real issues or are stuck in a stronghold of sin but they don't want to do the work it takes to be free (we didn't get into a lot of dysfunction overnight and while He can deliver us in an instant, it usually takes time and relationship with the Lord through His word) The Lord has performed major heart surgeries on me and He never once called in an anesthesiologist because He is not after behavioral modification but after heart transformation. It's not so much about our healing as it is about knowing and believing our Healer. He died so we might live and live life more abundantly. I beg you if you are stuck that you will taste freedom and follow hard after Jesus. I'm proof that His word works. It works for you and it works for me but it scares me so much over how many people will just settle for what it cheap and live in a land of slavery when God has a place for you that even in suffering, bears much fruit...will you and I keep returning to our vomit or land of slavery? Or will we let the chains fall where they may and allow Him to bring beauty from the ashes? A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair? Once you taste and see that He is good there will never be satisfaction in what is temporary or a substitute. I'm speaking of the God of the bible not the one being pedaled by so many. He can resurrect the dead in you and in your life. I know.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Children are to be seen and not heard" an awful statement that raised a couple of generations of people that learned to stuff their feelings down

I would love to slap the ever loving crap out of whoever coined the phrase: "children are to be seen and not heard!" That had to originate from the devil himself. Maybe that's a reason that people with that ideology think it's ok to terminate an unborn baby...they can't speak for themselves. I also wonder if people who had parents that felt that way toward them made them feel like they never could express their feelings whether they were good or bad? Then, these people became adults and maybe married someone who treats them the same because that's what they were used to. Maybe they feel like they are never really heard and can't have healthy conflict because their feelings are never treated as valid so they stuff things down until they explode. Jesus calls us to seek peace and pursue it. It doesn't mean we "keep the peace" but that we make peace. Keeping the peace can turn to walking on eggshells as to not set the other person off. That's not peace. Peace is not the absence of conflict. Pursuing peace may mean taking some risks to break the cycle of catering to a selfish person who doesn't allow your relationship fertile soil to grow. You may have to pull some stuff up by the root and address the seriousness of your estate which isn't without a price or pain. You may have to rock the boat to have that peace. I love when the disciples and others were rebuking Children from coming to Jesus as if they were less important and Jesus straightened that junk out quick and told them to let the little children come to Him and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. If you grew up in the environment I'm speaking of and find yourself still in that...remember Jesus will hear you and He cares about how you are treated and were treated but own up to your part of the vicious cycle since you can't change anyone else and pour out your heart to Him and let God make the rough places smooth and get off the whole walking on eggshells. That's not freedom. That's called suffocation. It may mean for some a break in relationship or tougher boundaries but whoever you are please know that if you call out to the God of the Universe, the One who spoke and the world came to be, the One who has always been and never had a beginning, the One who made a way for you and me to be right with Him through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus...He stoops down from on high and He hears and He listens and He gives you dignity. We deserve nothing from Him and He is so gracious to us. He is the BIG deal and He gets you. You don't have to explain your back story to Him. He is there in your yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He not only wants you to be seen as you shine for Him...He wants you to be heard. He will perfect that which concerns you and me. May we have the faith of a little child!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fear of The Lord that keeps us from sin

I was reading and thinking of the inflection that must have been in Paul's voice in the following passage. With a media saturated culture and churches that compromise the word of God for fear of losing money, we have become so desensitized to sexual sin. With shows like Jerry Springer and magazines that glorify sex and sexual immortality, we don't mourn over it, we make sport at it. I challenge those who are believers to turn off any movies that have unrealistic romance stories or even a hint of immorality, put down any books that would appeal to the lust of your flesh, set up filters on your Internet for protection, do not set your eyes on any vile thing, flee from immorality: it is your way of escape! Detox yourself. Draw a dad-gum line in the sand! Your eyes are a lamp unto your soul! Only let the good in and hate what is evil. It is the pure in heart who shall see God. If you aren't serious about protecting yourself you are bowing to this in some way. What if our churches in the West actually did church discipline like the bible says? That would put the fear in us alright...the fear of God that keeps us from sin. But it won't happen because it would separate the wheat from the chaff and cutdown on building funds and attendance. I don't know how extreme you need to be but cut off anything that is causing you to be entangled in sin. Once your lust is turned up you don't make clear decisions. No one makes you sin and sadly so many aren't serious about living for Christ. Eternity is at stake here. If there is no fruit of Christ in your life and you are just a self proclaimed sex addict then 1) you aren't a believer 2) Jesus isn't going to deliver someone who doesn't cry out for deliverance. He is not powerless to save but many don't want to get well and have accepted defeat. It's work to be free from past sin and esp sexual sin. It takes work to re-wallpaper your mind and allow God to change the desires of your heart. His word works and He changes. I am proof!!!
My reading for tonight. It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you." (1 Corinthians 5:1-13 ESV)I also meant to add before anyone starts doubting their salvation: you have to follow Christ meaning be a learner of Him to know Him. Then to know Him is to love Him. To love Him should bring about obedience. The work of sanctification and becoming more like Christ doesn't happen over night. Until we lay these bodies down we will struggle with sin. Yet our position is that we are no longer slaves to sin. Sin should not have mastery over us. Where there are areas of long standing sin in your life and mine... They need the balm of His word. Start in the psalms if you need a place. Then go to the New Testament. I'm a huge Old Testament dweller also because everything that was written down in the Old Testament is to teach us. If you are struggling with salvation settle the matter. Commit yourself to Him and there is no magical prayer but accept that He is the way the truth and the Life and that He died on the cross to make you right with God and save you from the wrath of God by taking on Gods wrath because the law could never make you right with Him. It was only the sinless life of Christ and His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. Seek to know Him. He is not words on a page but LIFE! That doesn't mean you won't sin.