Friday, March 31, 2006

That I Might Know Him

Philippians 3:7-14 seems to be clearer to me today. I've been working on my relationship with Him. I do not believe that a book written by a man (see yesterday's post) has changed my walk, however I do believe that I was led by the Spirit to read this book and through that I have been awakened to a need I did not know I had.

Like Paul (led by the Spirit) says in the above I do not begin to think I have "attained" anything or "arrived" in any way. In fact what I see most is my failure, and a lacking in my walk. I'm so excited by this, because over the last several days I have begun to see my need to be closer to Him in a real way, and it's started happening.

God has been revealing that my need is not protection, for He has already provided that, my inner most need that must be filled is a deep understanding of Him. True reverent fear of the Lord, true reliance that does not seek to control, intimate conversation, and the quietness of heart to listen.

I encourage everyone and all who might read this to get in your secret prayer place (where no one will see or hear you praying) and simply talk to God like He's the Father you always wanted/needed to have. Be honest about your hopes, dreams, failures, and everything else. Forget about asking Him for anything for change and just see where a simple conversation leads you. He knows what we each want and need. What He wants is a relationship with you.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

PAPA Prayer

So I stopped off at Blessings yesterday and found a neat little book on prayer. Now I'm not normally one to buy books that cover topics which are clearly dealt with in the Word. Therefore you won't find many "christian" books in my home, other than the many Bibles that is. I have lots of stuff from Answers in Genesis as well. So why did I pick this book up?

Well there was a page near the front asking the reader if they had ever asked for something from God and not gotten it.

It was clear from the back page and from the introduction that this book wasn't some "formula" to "ensure" God would answer your prayers. There was something different about this book. From the little I read in it at the store it seemed to be about changing how we relate to God so that we could hear His voice.

I'm just over half-way through it now and I have to say it's already had a great effect on our prayer life. The book is about actually relating to God as though He were a real person. Who would have thunk of that? Well after going back to the Word, Jesus thought of prayer that way, and so did Paul.

What's the big difference? Well instead prayer going "God, You're great! Give me this that and the other thing. Help this person and that. Please work in this situation. Thank You Lord, I pray in Jesus' name." This book leads you to be HONEST with God. Shows you how to relate with Him in a real way. To be honest with Him and tell Him about yourself and how you see Him right now. In the end you are in a dialog with God, and you start asking Him for the true wants of your soul, and you start to get to KNOW Him, instead of just knowing OF Him.

So far I'm really digging the book. The Author is humble and isn't marketing this as the next great way to get a new car out of God. He's simply explaining how He's come to know God better.

We could all use a more close relationship with God don't you?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Good Sower, Bad Seed, and The Enemy

Most of us have read the parable of the Good Sower. In Matthew it can be found in Chapter 13 Verses 24-30. In this parable, Our Lord illustrates how He is now growing, and how He will harvest the Church out of this Earth. These two parts strike me as important this morning.

In verses 26 & 27 we find weeds are growing in the crop. This can clearly be seen as we look around the world today. More shocking however is how the servants in the parable (us believers today) blame the Good Sower (God) for these weeds. This also can be seen all over our world today. Whenever something bad happens, or someone hurts someone else we often shake our fist at God and ask Him why He's done this. Do you also find it shocking how the first thing people often think is they are be persecuted by God, Who sent His only begotten Son into this world to die for our sins and save us from them?

What does God say about this attitude? In Verse 28 the Good Sower (God) replies to this accusation by saying "An enemy has done this."

God has not sowed this bad seed, the enemy has. A quick search of the Word finds references to the "Sons of disobedience" These are the seed of the enemy. So is God out of control then? No, Heaven forbid! God is fully in control. As sin entered the world because of the freewill choice of Man (Adam) God has allowed the consequences of this to enter the world as well.

Fear not! The war has been won and we believers have been cleansed and purchased by the blood of Christ!

In verse 28 His servants (us believers) ask Him if we should eradicate the bad seed from the crop. God replies in verse 29 & 30 saying "No, lest in gathering the wild wheat (weeds resembling wheat), you root up the true wheat along with it. Let them grow together until the harvest; ..." God's mercy for us is so great that He will not destroy the weeds as that could bring harm to the true wheat! He will remove the Church from the world (the rapture) and then He will destroy the weeds completely.

The point is, God does not cause bad things to happen. He allows them to because His response to the true cause of these things would destroy the world. And, in so doing He would harm those who love Him. This is why He is always with us through every situation, good and bad.

Oh Faithful Lord God, thank you!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Most Horrible Word


In context many will agree, disqualification is a disheartening word. Speaking (typing?) from the point of view of someone who's finally, after half a lifetime of looking, figured out what he really wants to do with his life I can tell you the prospect of being "disqualified" is hard to take. I read in a Chuck Swindell book about going through trials just the other day about being "disqualified." I've been praying about it constantly since then, but have spoken of this to no one else.

Today I got a package from my mother in the mail. In it was a fridge magnet which reads "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shine Out of Darkness

II Cor 4:6 "For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah)."

Oh Lord, shine out of darkness today we ask. We love you so deeply, we ache to see You on High! You are good all the time and a bright shinning Light for our paths.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Of Other Tongues

Are Tongues real? Yup. Clearly they are, as the Bible records their use many times.

Are they for today? I don't see why not. I have neither read nor heard an argument against the current use of Tongues that has stood up to even a basic study in the Word. Even though I dodged this one, some people will stop reading after this statement, others will be encouraged.

Are they for all believers? Nope. Now some other people will close the page.

Today we're going to have a quick look at I Corinthians 12. I do not make the above three statements based on any opinion of mine. Last night I prayed it through with God. I said boldly that if Tongues are for all of us then I want the gift. I simply want all of Him that I can get. I am almost greedy about it. Then I asked, if this gift isn't for everyone for Him to give me rest about the topic and give me clear understanding so I can share it with others, and not to condemn them but to aid in understanding. After I had been trying to sleep for nearly an hour I opened the Word and made my way through Chapter 11 and 12. In 12 my prayer was answered.

I Cor 12:4 says "Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments and they vary, but the Holy Spirit remains the same." Then verse 5 explains it by showing something we all see..."there are distinctive varieties of service and ministration, but it is the same Lord Who is served."

Verse 7 goes on to say "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Holy Spirit for good and profit." Then Verses 8-11 explains this statement. The Apostle Paul goes through many gifts saying "to one is given" for each of them. At the end of Verse 10 we find ..."to another various kinds of unknown tongues, to another the ability to interpret such tongues." The point is made at the end of Verse 11 saying "... the same Holy Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually exactly as He chooses."

The next number of verses give the familiar explanation of how the body is made of many parts yet they don't all have the same function.

Verse 28 Paul offers that "...God has appointed some in the church: First apostles; second prophets; third teachers; then wonder-workers; then those with ability to heal the sick; helpers; administrators; speakers in different unknown tongues."

Verses 29-30 he asks about each of the gifts "are all apostles?" "are all prophets?" "do all have the power of performing miracles?" "do all possess extraordinary powers of healing?" and finally "Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?"

Clearly, Paul is indicating in Chapter 12 of I Corinthians we are each given different gifts according to how the Holy Spirit chooses. In Verse 31 Paul finishes the thought, indicating that we shouldn't be obsessed with these gifts anyway. "...And yet I will show you a still more excellent way one that is better by far and the highest of them all - love."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

God's Garden

We're God's Garden. Some will plant seed in us, others will water it but only God makes us grow and become greater. I Cor 3:6-9 makes this clear. We are to worship God and nothing or no one else. No matter how much we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and no matter how much God uses them we must always remember they are but the utensils used by Him that created us. All glory must be to Him.

Just a thought I had as I was reading right now. :)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Thoughts, from Genesis to the Church

In the Church today we have people celebrating Darwin’s failed theory of Evolution. If that statement didn’t send a chill up your spine I wonder what would. If we don't have a firm grasp on Genesis could it be that we don't have a firm grasp on the role of the Church? The reasons for it being in the world? The ages old question of "Why are we here?" is answered in Genesis, and I believe that beyond understanding why the world is messed up now, Genesis can reveal why the Church can and must affect lives today.

Jesus believed Genesis, and indicated that if men didn’t that they wouldn’t be impressed with His resurrection Luke 16:31 “He said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead.”

Genesis clearly claims to be the “history” of Creation. Gen 2:4 “This is the history of the heavens and of the earth when they were created.

Genesis clearly states that creation was finished on the Sixth Day (not continuing to “evolve”) Gen 2:1 “THUS THE heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.”

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, of Blessing and Calamity, Gen 2:9 “And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight or to be desired--good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life also in the center of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of [the difference between] good and evil and blessing and calamity.”; and Gen 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Cold does not exist – it is a concept we use to describe a lack or lessening of heat.

Darkness does not exist – it is a concept we use to describe a lack or lessening of light.

Evil does not exist, It is a concept we use to describe the absence of God’s love. Evil is the same as cold and darkness. Just as cold and darkness are the absence of heat and light, so evil is the absence of Good.” – Albert Einstein

Clearly the lack of blessing is calamity. Is that not what we see when we do not believe, trust and rely on God? A lack of blessing? Is not the world in a state of that, calamity today?

Finally, man was put in the Garden to “tend, guard and keep it”. Gen 2:15 “And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it.” Today the Church is to be the Salt of the Earth. Enhancing flavor, disinfecting and preserving the world. Our role is the same as Adam’s was.

Genesis is the beginning of everything, including our purpose and God's plan for us.