The God who sees ME

The God who sees ME

El Roi is my favorite name of God because it means the God who sees. He sees me. He wants to have a relationship with me and wants to know every detail of me life even though He is KING of the Universe. He is so good to me. He is my Lord and Savior. Nothing shall separate me from His love. He is All that I need and MORE!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Gospel Engine


The Gospel Engine

     Just as a car needs an engine so the gospel has an engine. Christians are the vehicles of God. He uses them to take the gospel to the world. It is one thing to know a lot of scripture or do Christian things, but it is another thing to have the car working. The experience may be that the car does not turn on, but is that really accurate to base the gospel on the experience that happened? God’s Word is completely true and accurate and there is no fault in it. So when it says Christians are more than conquerors through Him, that is true. When it says Christians can receive strength when they are ready to faint, it means that. So how does this become a reality and where’s the engine?

     Hudson Taylor was a man of great faith and strength in his relationship with God. Some would think he had this his whole life, but actually he struggled and wrestled in till he found the secret. He shares this secret in a letter he wrote to his sister. I’ll quote parts of it. “As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. The last month or more has been, perhaps, the happiest of my life; and I long to tell you a little of what the Lord has done for my soul. I do not know how far I may be able to make myself intelligible about it, for there is nothing new or strange or wonderful - and yet, all is new! In a word: ‘Whereas I was blind, now I see.’”
     “I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living nearer to God. I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for retirement and meditation - but all was without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me. I knew that if I could only abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye from Him for a moment, but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, constant interruptions, often very wearing, would case me to forget Him. Then one’s nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, hard thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control. Each day brought its register of sin, failure, and lack of power. To win was indeed present with me, but how to perform, I found not.”
     “I do not think I was striving to attain it in my own strength. I knew it was powerless. I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give me help and strength and sometimes I almost believed He would keep and uphold me. But on looking back in the evening, there was sin and failure to confess and mourn before God. All the time I felt assured that there was in Christ all I needed, but the practical question was how to get it out. He was rich, but I was poor; He was strong, but I was weak. I knew full well that there was int he vine, in the root, the stem, abundant fatness; but how to get into my puny little branch was the question.”

     “As gradually the light dawned on me, I saw that faith was the only prerequisite to laying hold of His fullness and making it my own. But I had not this faith... I strove for it, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious - my helplessness and guilt seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at His word, but rather made Him a liar!”

     “When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never seen it before. McCarthy, who had been more exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw the light before I did, wrote (I quote from memory): ‘but how to get faith strengthened? not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.’”

     “As I read I saw it all! ‘If we believe not, He remains faithful.’ I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh how joy flowed) that He had said, ‘I will never leave you’ ‘Ah here is rest!’ I thought. ‘I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I’ll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me - never to leave me, never to fail me?”

     “The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being sweeter than another, is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no difference where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient.” 

    “All this springs from the believers oneness with Christ. And since Christ is now living in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! I now believe that I am dead to sin. God reckons me so, and tells to reckon myself so. He knows best. All my past experiences may have shown that it was not so; but I dare not say it is not, when He says it is. I feel and know that old things have passed away. I am capable of sinning as ever, but Christ is realized as present as never before. He cannot sin; and He can keep me from sinning.”

     “Faith, I now see, is the ‘substance of things hoped for’ and not mere shadow. It is not less than sight, but more. Sight not only shows the outward forms of things; faith gives the substance. You can rest on substance; you can feed on substance. Christ dwelling in the heart by faith (i.e. faith in His word of promise) is power indeed, is life indeed. And Christ and sin will not dwell together; nor can we experience His presence with love of the world or carefulness about ‘many things’”

     “Nor would we look upon this experience these truths, as only for the few. They are the birthright of every child of God, and no one can dispense with them without dishonor to our Lord. The only power to for deliverance from sin or for serving the Lord is Christ.”

     I had to include parts of this powerful letter because he truly found the engine to the car and found the secret. This was such an encouraging letter for me to see how a man struggled with the same thing so many of us have struggled with, yet He found the Truth. That Truth wasn’t hard or complicated but simply reckoning what He’s done and focusing on Him. He said that Jesus was always faithful. That is so relieving to me. You mean I do not need be in striving for faith? All I need to do is rest in the Faithful One.

The Costly Gospel


The Costly Gospel

     The costly gospel is not a feel good gospel. It’s one of giving up and hardships all for the sake of Christ. However, the rewards of giving up the pebbles that people cling to are much greater. Imagine trading in a handful of pebbles for God’s abundant store of jewels. Paul was one who gave up his measly pebbles for God’s abundant jewels. He chose to testify for God even though it was costly. Acts 23-27 tells his story of the costly gospel. He went to Caesar in obedience to the Lord’s prompting. God did not just tell him to go, but He told him to be of good cheer, which is like saying “you can do it because I’m the God who’s always been there for you and the God who is Sovereign and the Creator, the I AM, and I will be with you.” God gave him everything he would need to do the mission that He had called him to do. 

     He traveled to Rome by ship. When he got on that ship, he knew something was going to happen, but he also believed God’s promise the people on the ship would remain alive. When Jesus comes into our lives, something will happen. He’s calling us to a higher level of living, for His glory. After they got going a huge wind rose up and they had to choose something to throw over board. They decided to toss the non-essentials. When the Spirit of God who blows into our live, what are willing to give up for Him? It can be appearance or something outward or things, stuff that does not matter too much. But He wants even more.

     So on the third day they had to throw out the replaceable things in order to save their lives. They chose the tackle because they could get more of that at another time. It’s hard to give up these replaceable things. It could be education or career. Then they really started to fear and were about to jump into the life boat when Paul told them that they would only be saved if they stayed in the boat. They had to cut the ties to the life boats. It was like letting go of that plan “B” if it did not work out. In my life, I think I took up a plan “B” when instead of being content with God’s answer for my life of “I’m waiting on God,” I got discontent and wanted something better than that. When I started learning spanish, I just assumed God would want me to be a missionary to Mexico. Lately I’ve been wondering if that is what He wants for me or just to work with hispanics, either way, I must surrender that afresh to Him and trust that He will reveal what He wants me to do in His timing. I must cut this life boat and simply trust Him to work. He does want the best for me. 

     Yet another layer they had to peel off. They had to forsake the cargo. That was their livelihood and how they were going to get paid. In our lives, God didn’t “I’ll create them to carry wheat,” but rather carry the gospel in our boats. The calling is much higher than we think. Wheat trading is like everything people know, but God wants that too. And finally the boat crashed and broke up. They grabbed hold of the pieces of the ship and they all escaped to land. So am I willing to let my body to given up? It is a great privilege to suffer for Jesus. Someone said, “You may have your own bed, but I have God’s grace.” It is truly worth it to give all to Him. He is the treasure and everything else but filthy rags. Jesus, draw us to your Most Holy self!

The Most High and Holy Place


The Most High and Holy Place

     All throughout the Old Testament there were evil places to serve false gods called high places. Often, people would go to these in time of need for the health side of life (to feel whole and strong), financial side of life (to feel secure and stable), the comfort side of life (satisfaction), intelligence, purpose side of life (really alive), relational side, or religious side of life (good person). However, the results only please self and the flesh and are never lasting, because they are a counterfeit to God’s design. When a new king would take over, God would want him to cut down those high places and destroy them. Some kings would destroy them and some not. The nation bounced back and forth between right living and evil living.

     The temple served God’s purposes. The temple not only was a dwelling place for the Most High God, but also a place where people could be made right with the Him and find true fulfillment. God commanded that any sacrifices must be brought to the door of the tabernacle. If they did not bring it to the door they would be cut off. Why was this so important? Because it pictured the only Way to God through the Door, Jesus. 

     The high places distracted people back then from serving God, but the high places of today are just as distracting. In the Old Testament they left the commandments of the Lord their God and made god-replicas, and in America divas or stars have become idols. Old Testament people made groves, as people in America are fascinated with football. They are more willing to shout for the game players than for Jesus. Old Testament family’s caused their children to walk through the fire so they could have satisfaction and peace, while people today get abortions. They used enchantments and now they have golden calf churches that change religion how they want it. They think God overlooks sin. Girls today find acceptance and pleasure in shopping and being provocative.

     The cross is the answer to these distractions. Christ is the Doorway to Life. Where should I go in time of need? Jesus Christ. Denying what we want and choosing Jesus. God delights in the sacrifices of broken and contrite heats and that is how we should enter in the Door. It’s a humility to acknowledge that high places are not salvation. When Believers come to Jesus they are made whole and strong (health area solved). They are made stable and secure (financial area solved). They are satisfied and refreshed (comfort area solved). Believers have precisely what they need to do the job God has called them to do. They are giving Truth and are entrusted with the mind of Christ. They are made alive and are given love. They are justified and reconciled unto God. Jesus atone for sin and Believers are made the children of God. 

    How often do I run to temporal things in my time of need? I need to come to the Door in every situation. He is the only Way, Truth, and Life. My forms of running to other things could be simple like letting my mind vegetate after a long emotional week. Or maybe buying a new piece of clothing just to feel extra pretty. It does not have to be a big thing, but simply something that takes my eyes of Him. He can only satisfy and Praise Him that I can run to Him for everything and in every situation.

The Almighty Defense


The Almighty Defense

    The Armor of God is our Almighty Defense and that ultimately rests in one Person. The secret of a good game is having a good defense. Defensive does not let the enemy get any ground. Christian’s are on the winning team. The battle is already won. God’s purpose and agenda will win. He says that Christians are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Jesus is impenetrable and they are in Him, so He standing in front of them. He does not insecurely think that something might slip in and take Him down, HE has already won the victory and nothing can get past Him. 

    Christians are in an active war, and the armor they wear is crucial. That is why God has giving them the perfect impenetrable armor. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.” Our Intercessor was made naked that we might be clothed. Adam and Eve tried to be clothed in fig leaves to fix the desperate problem of their nakedness. This would not hardly last a moment and the leaves would dry up and fall off. It was a perpetual cycle of re-sewing. Jesus gave up His robe of righteousness for mankind. He was striped of his clothes, so that people could be robed in Him! He is the belt of Truth.

    The Intercessor’s heart was broken so that the Christian’s heart may be the dwelling place of God. Jesus’ heart literally exploded because of the inner turmoil and emotion of the terrible hour of His death. He will those a new heart to love Him, that they’re heart may be ablaze with His love. They can put on His breastplate of righteousness because He has given up Himself. The feet represented domain, so things under the feet where claiming and making their own. Christian’s can march boldly with their feet shod with preparation of the gospel of peace, for Him against evil because He surrendered to the will of His Father and gave up His control and dominion. 

     The Helmet of Salvation can be put on though Him who gave up His authority to and bore the brunt of cruel and savage taunt. His hands were bludgeoned so that Christians may grasp the shield of faith and precious promises in Him. The typical Roman shield was no ordinary shield. It was a super tall wood shield covered in leather soaked in water, so as to quench the fire arrows. When they would form up each person covered half their body and half the person next to them. And the people behind would hold theirs up like a roof so it made a impenetrable strong wall. God change something meant for evil and use it for good. When the laid Jesus in the tomb, satan was probably cheering, but Jesus rose from the dead and conquered the devil and death in one fatal blow. 

     “Taking the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Intercessor was struck upon the cheek and His mouth touched with vinegar that the Christians mouths might bear the Word of God and wield the Almighty sword of the Spirit. The mouth of a Christian once used for evil now for His purposes as the mouth pieces of God. 

   “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” This is not traditionally included in the list for the armor of God, but it is very important none the less. The Intercessor interceded for Christians in order that they might become his mighty intercessors. Clothed in Him, Christians can show the world Him and His glory. He works through helplessness and poverty of soul Christians and by His Grace uses them for His glory. It is a high calling, but He promises to clothe them with Himself and be in them as they are in Him.

    What a good message to refresh the teaching I’ve heard on the armor of God. This brings it to such deeper level because He is my armor. He bore so many things that now I can stand with His robe of righteousness. His truth as a belt, His gospel of peace for shoes, His sword of the Spirit, His shield of faith, His breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, and His prayers. Because He’s conquered death and the devil and evil, I can stand in Him with His amor on. All of these I need so desperately. The cry of my heart is I need Jesus!

Radical Discipleship by Allen Redpath


Radical Discipleship by Allen Redpath

     The sermon was about the book of Jonah. Pastor Redpath took it to a even deeper level of devotion to God, then what is usually taught concerning Jonah. A Communist the reason he converted to Communism was because Christianity was too soft. People do not do the hard thing for Jesus as they used to. The great men and women of faith had most joy and fulfillment as they walked in Christ, giving up so much for Him. 

    God called Jonah to turn aside from himself, share compassion with those who are his enemies, and declare total ware to everything contrary to God. God said one thing and Jonah said another. Great was Jonah’s stubbornness but greater still God’s faithfulness. Jonah rose to flee the presence of God while Moses said he would not go on without the presence of God to lead the. What a picture of the responses of our own hearts. It is so easy to overlook this sin, but being in Christ is crucial to living, apart from Him Believers are not producing good fruits. Believers have to die to self and be where God’s will is and that is the only important thing. The place of crucification is the only place of the Holy Spirit’s anointing. Believers can not to have a high of the Holy Spirit without a low at Calvary. It’s a call to fall to the ground and die, so that one day the fruit of the Spirit may be made manifest. 

    Jonah also tried to get around conviction and delayed. How many times do I refuse to die to self on a daily basis, only thinking of my flesh? Coming to Ellerslie, I’ve been learning how important that is. Focusing on Jesus, and His will and letting my self be crucified, taking up that cross and following Him. And when He convicts me of something, do I deal with it immediately as obedience to His will? I loved this quote: the key to Christianity is a bent knee, wet eyes, and a broken heart. I pray that God cultivates this broken hearted, eyes upward attitude in my life. His ways are always best.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Inward Parts


The Inward Parts
    
     The Christian’s primary ministry is to serve the Lord. They are the priests of the Lord because their body is the temple of God. In that way, they can relate to the book of Leviticus very well. The Levites were ordained God’s priests to take care of the temple. God set them apart of from the rest of the tribes so that the temple could be properly attended to. Things that were significant to the priests, may seem odd, but they can be significant to Christians today as well. 

     God required a blood sacrifice to atone for sin. In the old testament it was a temporary fix, that is why Jesus came to be the ultimate Sacrifice for the past, present and future sins. Those things in the old testament can be applied spiritually to Christian. When the priests would sacrifice an animal, they had to cut out certain parts and burn those outside the came and some would have to to be sacrificed. Exodus 29 describes much of these procedures most of them very specific. Why would God care so much about these guts that got sacrificed to Him? He care because they represented things that were important to the spiritual life. God desired the inward parts, the kidneys, caul, the fat that covers the inwards. The caul is the membrane that fixes the vital organs in their proper place and lubricates them to move. It’s wrapped around the heart as well, to not form a callous. It’s essentially a safety net for the inner most organs. The kidneys filter out impurities and remove waste from the blood, while being nestled deeply in the body. Another word for kidneys is reins. These innermost regions are all very important because they symbolize the innermost being. When Christians worship God or sacrifice to Him, whole-heartedly with nothing held back is the most beautiful to God.

     The other parts of the animal including the skin, meat and dung were taking outside the camp and burned for a sin offering. They got separated from the most special parts of the offering and got burned away from the camp. This can represent the old man being cut away and burned.

     This correlation with between the innermost parts of the body being sacrificed to God and the innermost parts of my heart and soul being poured out to Him is very enlightening. When reading the Psalms, I can be looking for that. What is my love to God if not all out for Him, who gave it all for me? How much worth am I giving to God when He should be more than all riches, or life, or anything! God wants full devotion, He deserves it too. My heart will speak of His praise and yearn for Him with the fullest of heart.

The Manifold Wonder of Grace


 The Manifold Wonder of Grace

     The missing link of the gospel goes back to Grace. Why would the Bible say that Christians can access the throne of grace without actually being about to take that grace and have it empower their lives? The amazing news of the gospel is that Jesus saves the unbeliever in salvation, then, because they can not live the Christian life and He can, he saves us daily and momently from sin and temptation. That is called grace.

     He is the Grace. Grace is so much more than unmerited favor, that is just one fold of the manifold Grace of God. Like a napkin folded up a bunch of times, the many folds can be seen and each one different. So with Grace, each fold is an aspect of Grace. It has gotten so distorted because the enemy is trying to diminish Grace because it loses it’s potency. That makes sense because Grace is the very Person of Jesus. Everything that He is, that’s grace. The widely viewed grace is like someone getting stuck up to their chest in mud because of their sin and God coming along and giving them a big hug and saying “I know, it’s bad,” then walking away. If that was true grace it would be so depressing! No wonder Christians pray blanket prayers and vague prayers that are apathetic, they are missing the power of the gospel. The Bible says that Jesus was God’s gift (John 3:16), but it also talks about Grace as God’s gift (Romans 5:15). How can that be?

     The Grace is an action, a power, a mercy, a kindness, a virtue, an historic event, a gift, a work (a legal work of atonement, propitiation, justification, redemption, forgiveness, and adoption), a life, but more than all those things, Grace is Jesus. These things are what Jesus has done through Him being who He IS.

     Jesus invites all who believe to enter into this marvelous grace. The only way to accept this gift of God is to be in Christ, surrendered to His Reign and leadership. He is the only One who can rescue Christians from the power of daily sin. When a person comes to the end of themselves, they are ready let Him take control. It’s the greatest Hope, to know that Christians can live in Jesus and in Him live out the Christian life. He loves them so much, He does not just leave them in the mud, but lifts them out, cleans them and gives the the Grace not to get into the mud again. He’s given Himself, if Christians would admit they can’t do it, let Him lift them out, and give them the grace needed. 

     What a comfort to my soul to know there’s an answer to these problems! It’s about Him being who is and me stepping out of the way. This has given me a fresh excitement for the future, knowing that Jesus will live and reign in my life. That I don’t have to keep striving in my own strength. Just giving up to the One who longs to take this burden off my shoulders and live in and through me. I’m trying to grow in this Grace and be submitted to His loving hand. My heart is ready for His indwelling and power. Jesus, have your way in my life.

Right-Handedness


Right-Handedness
As a Man Ought to Be

     One of the biggest questions that believers face is how ought they to be or act? They see what the world would like them to be or other religions, but they wonder what defines a true Christian. People are always being shaped by something. It could be the way they grew up, it could be the friends they have, it could be a job or aspiration in their life, the list goes on. 

    A Christian’s identity should be in Christ, taking on His characteristics. The world’s identity will be looking to their own strength to save them. Jesus is the only Savior and He alone can save people. People think salvation is by their own strength but in reality it is not. Everything thought right must be yielded up to Christ or else it is self-righteousness; He’s the true source for righteousness. When Christians empty of themselves, God fills them up to overflow. In the consecration of the priests, they would have the blood put on their right ear, thumb, and toe. The right side represent power and control. When they would yield them, God would essentially take full control. 

     As I yield my life to Jesus, may He be formed in me. I want to relinquish my rights and control. I am nothing without Him. I must be clothed in His robe of righteousness because mine are filthy rags. Am I willing to give up control to what I hear, what I touch and do, and where I go? I must give all these up to Him for the cause of Christ. The Savior of the world offers abundant life to me, if I give up the control of my life and allow Him to use me for His glory.

A Distracted Devotion



A Distracted Devotion

     Jacob the Heel Grabber, Deceiver, a Supplanter, and Layer of snares. Jacob came out of the womb grasping for flesh. Grasping for the flesh to get him something. He was esteeming the right things but going about it getting it in the wrong way. He thought the birthright and the blessing would get him what he wanted, but the more he got the more empty and unfulfilled he felt. Nothing would satisfy. Even looking good on the outside and doing the “right things” will not. Christians do the same thing thinking “If only I could get my thoughts oner control or if I could just do this, I could please God.” God doesn’t want a perfect looking Christian on the outside, He wants the relationship with them, he wants their heart and undistracted devotion to Himself. It’s only the truest and best that He wants for them and nothing with stop Him in bringing it to them. 

     I am struggling with the application on this one because it’s so fresh and quite applicable to me. For so long I have known something is not right with the way I live my life. How can I constantly be struggling along, falling, asking forgiveness, trying again, falling and continuing on without the joy or love for Him that I ought to have. I am attempting to get what I think is good with self-effort, self discipline, and self-restraint. I can’t muster up the “self __” any longer. Christians can “grab” on to so many things, Moral purity (Heart and mind pure), External righteousness (do this), Compassionate rescue (saving orphan or poor), Dutiful Attendance (faithful in church commitment), Sacramental Acts (baptism or communion), Spiritual Disciplines (prayer time and solid Bible study), or Ellerslie (attend a program). What I’m struggling to believe fully is that He has paid for my continual victory and I am no longer a slave to sin. Mr. Ludy said that we will know when we have it (victory in Christ) and when we do not. He asked us if we had seen the cross? Have we seen the face of Jesus? Grace saves us through faith. Not us trying or even sincerity, but Jesus alone. Is my faith in what I DID or what HE DID? 

    Jacob became God grabber. Almost no more words needed. He lost confidence in his self, and grabbed ahold of God. Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord and would not let go until he got the blessing. This was his dark night about to break into glorious day. The Angel of the Lord asked Jacob what his name was. He had to admit that he was a deceiver and a heel grabber by saying his name. Then the Angel said, “Thy name shall be no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” “The Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel, (Isaiah 44:23)” God took Jacob’s life and redeemed him for a higher purpose. Grab ahold of God and don’t let go, He is faithful to not ever let us go. His name be praised!

Power to Forgive


Power to Forgive
     
     Forgiveness is often defined as making a choice to no longer hold the offense against the person. Most people stop there, and end up feeling dead or blank on the inside. Although this is nice, it is not the fullest measure of forgiveness that God has made available in Christ Jesus. The kind of forgiveness that Christ gave is quite different than the dead feel, it actually forgets the fault and has a kindness, a tenderheartedness, and a genuine love for the person. 

    The illustration about forgiveness that Mr. Ludy gave was very powerful. People have little meadows in their life. In the meadow bursts forth the most beautiful flowers, including bluebells and flowers of every color. A person there skips around merrily and enjoys the flowers and fragrance. Life is wonderful until, someone comes along and dumps a truck full of manure right in a special place of the meadow. When seeing this terrible event the person is rightfully upset that someone would ruin the beautiful spot. There are three responses to tragic event. They may take a caution tape around it and start using the manure to make a shrine to go in a mournfully go over the crime. In the manure shrine there are no windows and a black thorny bush starts to grow. This is like bitterness growing and spreading. Pretty soon the black bush starts to overtake the meadow. 

    Another response would be to ignore the pile of manure and let it petrify. This is how far most people get with forgiveness. But the life changing Jesus response is to all this manure is to, in Him, till it under. When people allow Him to till it under, new and more gorgeous flowers grow. There’s a seat in the center that they can go in and pray for the person. They have the most sweet times with God sitting in the prayer garden. As they pray for the person who dumped the manure they see lives changes. That garden now is even more special than it was before. 

     I loved this illustration. There’s one circumstance of manure in my life, where I know that God has tilled it under and there’s a beautiful garden. God was so gently leading me through the healing and now it is a testimony of His faithfulness and glory in my life. One thing that struck me is that I think in some areas I’ve not let God till the manure under and just ignored it or maybe I’m still in the process of tilling, either way, it’s I’ll be excited to see how God changes every circumstance for His glory. The great Gardener has a plan to use what was meant for evil, instead for a beautiful purpose in Him.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Men and Women of Honor


Men and Women of Honor

     Nobility is the word that comes to mind when thinking of Honor. That sacred decorum  is lost in the culture today. Where are the men and women willing to take a stand for Jesus, willing to die for their faith? Where are the men and women willing to have every area of their life bridled for the Lord? Most of the people today are either on the way to legalist side or on the self-pleasing side to decorum. No, it isn’t necessary for a guy to open the door for a girl, but it does bring a sense of honor to the ladies. Or for ladies to think of the guys when they dress, they honor the guys that way. It may be something small or little, but enough to show respect and deference to someone. 

     The second to greatest commandment was to love others more than ourselves and what better way to do that than to show honor and respect to those around. Everything can be used for God’s glory. When that sacred decorum is misused it confuses not just the person, but everyone around. If Christians could be set apart and call out the godly men and virtuous women by leading a life of respect, then this world might be turned upside down. This has inspired me to be conscious of the little decisions I make on a daily basis. When I speak, am I speaking God’s Words? I know that my level for deference has been the most edifying as my thoughts self-focused turn into words self-focused. Christians are not prepared to minister if they can not control their own thoughts or soul. Giving up impure thoughts may be hard but if they are truly seeking the will of God, then surrender and a “Yes, Lord” is the only option. May God cultivate men and women of true grit and sacred decorum, who are willing to treat others more highly than themselves.

Five Smooth Stones


Five Smooth Stones

     David took five smooth stones when he sprinted after Goliath. It is interesting as to why he took five when he only killed one giant. But before the reason to why he chose five stones, some background must be relayed. David was a normal, average guy that turned out to be an unbelievable hero which God used to change the world. God strategically placed circumstances and events in his life that taught David the lessons that would make him “a man after God’s heart.”  

    God let David be born the 8th and youngest boy in family. He was the Sheep herder. That was not the best of jobs, in fact, it was a pretty low job. He served his family as a Sheep herder while learning great spiritual lessons at the same time. He spent so many hours alone with God, not a person to talk to, that his faith and confidence in the Lord grew. He understood how to be filled with the power of God by faith and give glory to Him every step of the way. Caves were important in Sheep herding. When a storm came the Shepherd had to know where the caves were and the path to get to them. Being out caring for his sheep for so much of the time gave him time to get to know the Valley of Elah. In this valley he found a tree, and it was not just a tree. It was a mighty tree called a Terebinth that measured between 17-23 feet in circumference. For a Terebinth tree to become the mighty immovable tree, it must be planted well, grounded and rooted into the soil so that nothing, not even the strongest tornado can move it. This tree is significant because it pictures the spiritual depth that Christians need to be at to stand strong so firmly rooted in Jesus that the wildest storms of life can not shake them. God was purposefully establishing David in Him to make Him to have the faith to be unmovable even when the biggest giant came against Him. 

     Samuel the Priest came to anoint a son of Jesse to be king of Israel. The sons filed in and Samuel was for sure he knew which one God was going to choose. Each one passed by and they were not it. Finally Samuel asked if there was any more sons. They called David from out in the field. God had chosen him to be king and Samuel anointed him. Samuel told him that God would be with him when he fought. That the battles would be the Lords.

     Even though he was anointed king David still tended the sheep. He even killed a lion and a bear. The power of God was with him. Not one of his experiences were in vain. God used his musical abilities to calm the troubled king Saul. Every time he would go back to the sheep. When war broke out, no one called him to help fight, so he stayed diligent at tending for the sheep. David’s father wanted him to deliver some food to the soldiers. He was humble and did as he was ask. When he got to the camp Goliath was mocking God and making fun out of Israel. A passion flared up in him and he found himself getting ready to go up against the Giant. The battle was not in just any old Valley, it was in the valley that he had grew up in, the valley of Elah. And he knew it well. The mighty Terebinth tree was there. His familiar caves were there. The brook to which he drew five stones was there.

     In an fierce confidence he went in the name of the Lord. He drew five stones not because he needed some in case he missed, but because he knew there were four other giants and he would need the stones to kill them as well. He doubled the passion and trust in God as he gathered those stones. The Terebinth tree was probably right behind Goliath as David went out to meet him. He swung his sling and killed him in the name of the Lord. Four other giants were slain by David’s mighty men later on. His zeal for the Lord carried forth into the other’s lives.

     This message is so encouraging and beautiful to me. I can trust that God knows what he is doing and that he is going to teach me the lessons I need to learn to be prepared for the battle. I need to humble myself and take each job with enthusiasm and joy. God may just be using that job to teach me. Am I going to stand in faith and confidence in my God who is my Salvation? Am I going to double my energy and pick up five stones? He is my Rock and my Defender, my God, in Him will I trust.

     

The Spirit of the Humble



The Spirit of the Humble

     In this message Mr. Ludy shares his heart with the students as he retells some of the times where he has in humbleness made wrongs right. Part of Humility is realizing who we are and realizing the true Majesty of God. James 4:6 says, “But He giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” When someone is prideful, they lift themselves up and take away from God’s glory.

     Just looking up the word “Humble” in the Bible, God proves over and over again that He does in deed lift them up. That is a promise that can been relied upon and trusted in. When I was looking at the verses, God is showing me what is between Him and I. My pride. My not-wanting-to-seek Him. My selfishness. 

     Humbleness is letting God kick flesh out of our factory, then pointing to the throne while kneeing down and saying, “Jesus, it’s your’s, please, take it. I do not want to be sit in it any longer, it is your rightful place.” Self must become nothing and Him everything. Even in a culture where mediocrity is so prevalent, Christians should have that burning desire to do what is right and humble themselves. It is not easy, but it is in a sense the crucial thread on which our relationship with God hangs. When Christians recognize the gravity of sin, then they are ready to change. 

     Mr. Ludy shared how he spent a day, humble before the Lord asking Him all the things he had done that were not right and that needed resitution. He had a pen and paper ready with the attitude of “Show me” on his heart. The list was long, but he plowed in. One story took place when he was in high school and with a group of boys made fun of a special needs girl. Years and years later, he wanted to make it right, so he found her number and called. Him and his sister took her to lunch and afterwards she wanted to go back to school, and in reality it was the same place where he had made fun of her. God showed Mr. Ludy that he could make things right, by being her advocate and standing with her. He was willing to do what it took to make things right. 
     He also told the store of how he told exaggerations as a result of not feeling like he was good enough. Going back and confessing that in front of the guys was so hard, but when they told him, “Eric we love you for who you are,” his heart was touched. Self protection will kill you. Giving up and denying self despite of Flesh telling the Christian that they are something, is something that must be done because, it only takes one moment of self-exaltation to separate us from God. Are we willing to allow God to point out the things that make us insecure?

     Another story he told was about his pride as an older brother. He never wanted to humble himself to his brother. There relationship was damaged and broken. One night when he was praying, “Make me like you, Jesus,” Jesus showed him that he needed to make that right. He asked his brother to forgive him and their relationship was restored. His dad also came to him when he got older and told him how much he loved him. His dad’s humbleness in turn showed love and kindness to Eric. The Christian may be sweet and loving to the people around, but it is the true test to see how they act with their family. I was especially touched by this as my family has definitely seen a different side of me than most people. How many times has my mom forgiven me for allowing my frustration to come out on her. She pictures Jesus to me so often. I am looking forward to learning how Jesus can change my heart, take control of me and help me not to give in to flesh in that regards. With Him ruling my life, I can be a conqueror. 



     


Monday, October 21, 2013

Ten Shekels and a Shirt


Ten Shekels and a Shirt

     The sermon “Ten Shekels and a Shirt” was about a young Levite, who sold his beliefs and services for ten shekels and a shirt. Micah hired this priest in hopes to get God’s blessings. Judges 17 describes a time in which every man did what was right in his own eyes. It was plain chaos without hardly a godly man to stand for truth. Most people were Humanist, living for their own happiness and self. On the opposite side, Christians live for the glory of God. 

     The preacher shared how when he traveled to Africa he went to reach the people there. He thought he was going to preach Christ and reach the people who had never heard about Jesus. After arriving he found out that they had already heard about the gospel and they did not want anything to do with it. He was disillusioned and disappointed. God showed him that he went to reach the people, but God had him as a tool in His hand with His own purposes, because God loved those people and paid for them. Even in doing something “good” it’s important to be careful to be  a willing tool in His hand, no matter what the circumstances. When the big picture can not be seen from human eyes, His eyes can see it. That big picture, might not mean a lot of happiness according to the world’s standards, but the important part is that God was being glorifying.

    I have to ask myself, am I trying to minister to people for a motive other than God’s glory? Am I being willing to become nothing so that He may get the ultimate glory? Am I doing what I think is best? Those are questions are convicting to me. I want to be used for Him and also not to be serving or doing “good” things for myself or for my purposes. The Christian plays a small part in God’s Play. Mostly the sound people or the prop set up people are not even seen through out a Play, but the Main Character is focused on with interest. I pray that as I grow in Him and be smaller and smaller, He would become bigger and bigger, revealing the Majestic King that He is!

      

The Stuff of Old



The Stuff of Old

     Where is the Sprit filled passions men of old? The ones who had the power of God in their prayers. The time where huge revivals took place and people got saved. How did they live the victorious life? The type that lived so close to God that when they prayed, it seems like they were talking directly to God. It was the Old-fashioned revival time period. People’s prayers would be answered. Men were gentlemen and women were ladies? So where is the stuff of old?

   Paul’s spirit was stirred when he was in Athens and the people there were wholly given to idolatry. That word stirred means to stimulate, spur on, or urge. It’s like when a coughing person can’t stop coughing. The depravedness of the situation made him strongly discontent with the way things were in the evil city. That made him even more passionate about Christ. In this day and age there is a very similar problem. Christians are not engaged in the spiritual battle. They’ve become lazy and lax and not fighting for the truth. The attitude of Jacob “I will not let you go, until you bless me,” describes what Christians should have in fervor and passion for the Lord. Christians should be unwavering and holding fast to Jesus, just like the men of old did. It is impossible, but with Jesus it can be done.

     I am realizing the laziness of our generation and very saddened by it. But what better  time to be born into? The awakening of deep sense of my own laziness is causing me to want to be that person of strength and character. My life should display Christ, but what about my faith? This topic has stirred in me a discontent and made me want that spiritual treasure that only comes from a life yielded to Jesus. It is so important to be anchored to Him, singular in heart, and an abiding exertion of faith. As we fall in love with Jesus, His passion and His burdens will become ours. That’s how the men of old got there passion. They had an intense love for Jesus and an unwavering faith.

The Body


The Body

          One of the questions that enters believers minds in this age is, “Why isn’t the Christian life working?” “Why do I get angry at that person for the 40th time, when I just said I wouldn’t get made?” To answer those questions the body must be explained. The body is the means by which fruit is being produced. It is similar to a factory and how that operates. There is a building, director, machines, and the produce of the machines. Whoever sits in the director’s chair will determine the produce of the machine, filthy junk, or God-honoring fruit. The person themselves will naturally be on the director’s seat. In the entry way of this factory there hangs a picture of Self. However when taking a closer look at Self in the director’s chair, one sees that they are tied up, gagged, and superglued to the chair. They are responsible for the junk that is being produced, but they are also being controlled by something else. That something else is Flesh or the Old man. 

     The Flesh or the Old man is about 6’4’’ and super obese with his fat hairy stomach sticking out below his shirt. He’s greasy and disgusting while he pops white powdery donuts in his unkept face. Yes, this man is in the factory. People are born with this type of factory, and that’s because of Adam’s first sin. Flesh rules and does what he wants. One day Jesus steps in as an undercover mechanic. He comes into the sickening factory and says he has a part and needs the director to sign off on it. The belligerent Flesh tells Jesus to make it fast. Jesus enters the glassed in directors office and tells Self, “I know you don’t want to be stuck in that chair and there’s a way for you to change. That red button near your hands is all you need to press and I will set you free.” Then Jesus slips out an leaves Self thinking about his decision. Then all of a sudden “BEEP BEEP BEEP” he pressed the button and Jesus bursts in and kicked flesh out. Self is untied and can get out of the chair now. Jesus gets out a fire hose and starts washing out the factory. Self comes out and asks what Jesus is doing. He says, “I’m cleaning this factory up, it’s going to produce good fruit now.” After a thorough cleaning Jesus tells Self that now he’ll be putting the proper things into the machines, depending on what the new Director tells him. Self has to give up the chair and say, “Jesus, I want you to be in control of my factory, please King Jesus, sit in the chair.” 

     Flesh has been kicked out by Jesus, but Self still must choose. The sneaky Flesh will come and stare in the windows and try to get Self attention. As long as Self sits in the director’s chair, Flesh comes right back in and takes control. It is a daily decision. Jesus came to set people free from sin and to produce good fruit! That is the gospel! 

     This illustration helps believers see things more clearly, but it really is something that must be lived out daily. Believers must see their sin and their selfish rebellion. Jesus’ rightful place is on the throne of their lives. True Hope is found in the denying self and letting Jesus reign, because they were slaves to the Flesh. This is not talking about salvation, this is a daily denying Self and letting Jesus take control.

     When I first heard this message I was baffled. I think I’ve heard pieces of this before, but never so clearly illustrated and emphasized. There IS a way for me to live a victorious Christian life. My life/self must become so tiny and insignificant and Jesus must because the Director of my life. My factory foyer should hang a gigantic picture of Jesus and the fruit should be that of the Sprit. I am so excited about Jesus being the Director and I am expectant of Him who saves me!

Opposition- Recognizing the Enemy Tactic



Opposition
Recognizing the Enemy Tactic

     In the Christian life opposition from the enemy is inevitable. God wants to use the Christian’s body for His glory. Satan wants to use it for destruction and ruin. Both would like to be in control of the Christian’s body. Opposition comes in many forms, but the biggest enemy is the flesh. Basically, that means looking to one’s self and obeying it, instead of looking to God and obeying Him. Opposition can be a good thing because like building muscles, weights or exerting is needed. There are five errors in this battle.

     The flesh versus the Spirit are the two as stated above, so error number one would be finding the solution within our self. God promised Abraham and Sarah a son that would be the beginnings of a nation. It seemed impossible to them because they were old in age. However, the bigger the impossibility the greater glory God can get. They looked to themselves for the answer and got a baby through the handmaiden. This was a long lasting problem as Ismael and Isaac’s seed are still at enmity today. In essence the first was born of the flesh and the second born of the Spirit. Abraham took matters into his own hands to try to do it. Self cannot produce heavenly fruit, nor can it imitate God’s ability.  As I process these lessons, I have to ask myself how do I do the same thing? I definitely am not consistent in daily inviting God to give me His schedule, instead I selfishly focus on my own plans for the day. He must possess my very existence, Him controlling my life, and me yielding to His will. Also, when I read my Bible, I try to imitate Jesus in my own effort. He must be doing it, through me.

      The second error is despising the birthright. Esau despised his birthright and  missed out on an once in a life time opportunity to have Jesus in His lineage. Esau served the flesh and became what he worshiped. After Esau gave up his birthright for the stew, people called him Edom which means red, like passion. He was passionate for soup? I wonder what people see in my life, Jesus or fleshly indulgence. I should want to have people remember me as “She loved Jesus.” Am I confident in Jesus or myself? Self-reliance always ends in spiritual poverty. 

     When Moses lived in Egypt after having the highest education, being the best conqueror, well put together, and a war leader, he looked to himself to lead when he tried to fix the enslaved Israelites by killed the Egyptian. He looked right and left, but forgot to look up at God. After the 40 years in the wilderness Moses finally realized who he was and that he could not do it. When he approached the burning bush, He had a different attitude, one of humility. He asked God “who am I?” This is very key for me because for so much of my life, I feel I’ve made much of myself and what I could do to help people. I was living Error 3, allowing human compassion to lead. Then wondering why I end up feeling burned out. Everything is about Him. These are His battles and His beloved people. I’m just a tool in His hands.

    Error number 4 is a big one, giving sway to the flesh and unbelief. Many of the Israelites died in the wilderness because of their unbelief in the promises of God. They could have crossed into the Promised Land sooner. And when they finally got to scout out the Promised Land they were very scared of the giants there. God promised that land and He can not lie! In fact he even said He would go before them and fight for them. I definitely am caught believing that the Christian life is doomed to selfishness and sin’s rule until heaven. I think have more faith in the power of sin in my life, rather than God’s ability to conquer sin. This skewed belief is rooted back to the Flesh telling me how many times I’ve failed and in a way he’s right. In my own strength I have tried and tried, but Jesus wants me to give up trying in my own strength and just allow Him to do it through me. 

     Saul’s partial disobedience to God’s command to kill all the Amalekites demonstrates the 5th error of limiting the flesh but allowing it to remain. David pictures cutting off the flesh as he fought and defeated the Amalekites. Kill all the Flesh, don’t let any remain. This is also a very good lesson as it is easy to set limits for God. Like saying, yes all I have is yours then not letting Him in to change a certain part of your life.

This message shares how important it is to not let self or flesh get in the way of actions our actions or life. God must have complete control and rule in our life. He is so worthy to be praised!


Anatomy of Faith



The Anatomy of Faith

     Faith is very important to the Christian life. If faith and grace are tampered with, the very foundations of it are shaken. Everything that could be wanted in the Christian life rests with this one thing. No faith would basically make the entire Christian life powerless. Hebrews 11:6 “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Believing unwavering is so crucial. There can be no room for doubt in a life of faith in Christ Jesus. And what is it one is believing? Faith must be placed fully in Fact and that Fact is Jesus and the Word. Faith is under so much attack now a days because the devil want weak Christians with little faith or no faith. He knows that there is Power in true faith! Satan brought the first doubt into the world through questioning God. 

   There are six tactics that Satan uses against the soul. The first one is pollution of the mind. The mind is a big battle ground: God thoughts or polluted thoughts? Tiredness is another one he uses against us. Ever notice how someone is fine all throughout the day or even on the way home, then suddenly, one feels too tired to do anything such as play with the kids or do anything but lounge on the couch? Remember satan and the flesh go hand in hand. But Jesus’ power reigns Supreme so it is not necessary to take in the thought of how tired one feels. Distraction is trying to keep the believer’s eyes off the Truth. Anxiety and fear is another tactic that is easy taken in. One people often take lightly is anger and frustration. The first step downward starts with taking sin lightly and the first step upwards is taking sin seriously. The big one is doubt. It’s the peoples own flesh gaining control once again. But they are no longer a victim, fight it with the blood of Jesus!

     This human battle can be likened to a court room. Fact which is the Word of God, The promises, the unseen realities, and the nature of God is on one side. One the other side is Experience which is feeling/emotions, the appeal of anxiety, the appeal of lethargy, the appeal of grievance. The Fact side is the side that is completely Truth. There is no falseness or something wavering. It’s just Truth. The experience side is the greasy man with a gold tooth bringing bits of doubt into the court room. Most of the points are based off feeling or experiences had that cause a bit of doubt. If one is in this court room, the faith must be so steadfast and unwavering in the Fact, the Word of God, that one can resist listening to the bits from the deceiver. There can be only one master in the soul and both sides can not be played. Do not even examine the deceiver’s evidence. Either truth is believed or a lie. 

Having faith in the Solid Rock of Jesus will hold the believer against the biggest winds. Trusting the sand to hold up in a storm is foolish because that sand will wash away. The sand is truth all broken up, making it a dangerous go to in trouble. The enemy is not as obvious as he seems. He is syrupy and sneaky and he’s a lot smarter than people are. He’ll try to tempt the believer not to fully surrender to God. He wants to put self on the throne in one’s lives, if so, then he’s got control and the battle is lost. 

     Why are the believers struggling with fear, tiredness etc? Because they are still listening to that voice. We must choose what we believe. Just because Great Aunt Martha or Uncle Frank didn’t live out the gospel in their lives, doesn’t mean the believer must doubt the Word of God.  E. M. Bounds says, “A simple, confiding faith, living day by day, and casting its burden on the Lord each hour of the day, will dissipate fear, drive away misgivings, and deliver from doubt.” The believer has an exclusive covenant with Jesus. They must turn their backs on experience and doubt and have faith in the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.  

     This teaching on faith was such an answer to prayer for me. I need to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that my God, my Promiser can not lie. With full faith, trust Him to answer His promises and guide me through each day. I’ve definitely entertained doubt in my life on prayer (God’s will vs. me just praying) and many other areas. One question here lately being thrown at me is can I trust God again with my future. The only things He want for me are good things, so I can rest in the Fact and Promises. He fulfills them and delights to answer my prayer of faith.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Foundations -Class Review


I'm at Ellerslie right now and I just wanted to post the little papers we have to write to help us process what we have learned. Here's from the first day of class. 


                                       Foundations

     The foundation on a house must be builded in the beginning. It is critical for Christians to have a solid foundation of beliefs as well. Without a firm belief in the Truth, Christians will have a skewed perspective and ultimately be ineffective in daily living. Jesus is that Truth. Everything that defines a firm belief must always lead back to Jesus Christ. The Word of God in text will grow a deeper love for the Word of God in Person. When love for the Person of the Word of God multiplies, the more love for the Word of God in text will grow. It is a beautiful cycle that sends true Christ centered people soaring on eagle’s wings.

     The Word of God must take highest position in the Believers lives. The Word is Truth, therefore, a high level of respect will cause the Believers to say “Yes, Lord!” even before the request is out of His lips. Many times this request convicts the heart. In this case, the Believer can be happy as it shows that the Word of God in Person works in their life. Conviction means God is revealing things for their good, but condemnation means that Satan is trying to make a guilty feeling shove them off the cliff. The Savior rescues the believer heading in the wrong direction from the cliffs edge and that is sweet and something to embrace with joy. He may reveal lingering sin in the heart, and when He does, the best response is to seek restitution immediately. Sin is when people get on the throne of their lives and sins are the result of sitting on that throne. Surrendering to His control allows Him to run the machines in their life and to sit on His rightful place on the throne of hearts. 

     Victoriously Jesus comes in and makes the Believer light and free because they then can walk with true Hope, knowing that He is Truth and cannot lie. The Spirit first and in control puts flesh at the bottom subservient the Operator. This is the truest and most exciting news that one could ever hear! Freedom over sin is not just a coin phrase, but it’s reality in Jesus Name! The Gospel so often is presently without all the proper parts. Yes, most know Jesus died for our sins, but do they also realize He invited them to His presence, adopted into His family, given a commission, and sent them out for an impossible task, that He is more than willing to go with us and make it possible through Him. The Believers filled up, can be poured out for others! This is a pure and beautiful gospel that offers Hope to all who Believe and take Jesus as their Lord. 

    Clothed in the righteousness of Christ, Believers are holy as He is Holy. Holiness means that Believers are set apart for Him. He chooses the lowly and He says, “they are MINE,” He has called them by name and chosen them for Himself. The love that the Savior has for His chosen is much like the love a Father has for His children. Everything done is in love. With that Believers must ask themselves, “Can I really trust Him?” If everything that He does is in love for us, then they can whole-heartily answer “YES, we can trust Him.” Believers can put their full faith and trust in their Spiritual Father.

     As I was learning about these foundational truths, my mind was filled with many thoughts coming together. I knew a lot about these foundational aspects, but the clear teaching points to one Person, Jesus. It doesn’t have to be complicated. He is the answer for every thing. I must be building my foundation the the Rock, who never wavers! Many of these truths were so profound that I’m still thinking and thinking about them, but the one that blows my mind is about the Body as a factory. Depending on who’s the director of our factory will determine the fruit in our life. We are born with ourselves in the director’s seat, with flesh controlling the factory. When Jesus steps in and we give Him His rightful place on the directors seat, he can kick flesh off the throne and clean up our factories, making them to produce good fruit. I’m impacted with this bit of information because I am in expectant Hope of Jesus being in control of me for the rest of my life, producing good fruit for His glory.

 These aspects lay the cement and floor boards to faith, now is the time to build and grow and to never stop in building on the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ.