Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Season of Layers

"'Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;

he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;

he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:

You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.'" Daniel 2:20-23 NIV

The last couple of weeks, I've been noticing that the air is getting it's fall smell and look. The air has that musty, moisty, leafy smell, the sky is that extra deeper blue color with of the obvious changing color and dropping of leaves.

Well, that got me thinking about seasons and then of course Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 came to mind and that was what I was going to write on today. But God lead me to this one instead.

Have you ever read it? It's a beautiful praise/prayer from Daniel to his God. He puts into words what I have been feeling lately. The power of my God and His love and acceptance of me is, at times, too hard to grasp. Too hard to accept. Too deep of a truth to wrap my spirit around.

Do you do this? Do you feel or think,"Yes, my God loves me." We say that, but do we really comprehend it? I don't know if I can explain what happened, but the other night as I was driving home, the Lord brought to me the realization that He loves me. That I can truly lean on Him. That I don't need to worry about things. He truly will take care of them.

Duh! No brainer you say. But this was different. These truths were brought into a deeper layer of my spirit. Like you, perhaps, I knew these truths, but until the other night, they were just on the surface of my spirit, if you understand what I am trying to say. But as I was sharing with Him my feelings and such that I had been stuffing the last few weeks, I felt His presence in my mind and it was this thought--"Why? Why do you do this to yourself? Don't you know? I am great enough for you? I am your God. I will take care of you."

WOW! Talk about being stopped in your tracks! I felt so foolish. I called myself a child of God and claim to have unconditional faith in Him--but it was only on the surface of my spiritual life.

Please, within all of this rambling I have shared with you--is this truth--the same God that saved Daniel from the king's butcher's block and prompt him to write the above praise verses, is the same God that saves us from our selves. That the truth of His love and authenticity can safely go a layer deeper into your spiritual life. You don't have to try to protect yourself by keeping on the top, the surface. You can't believe how humblingly freeing it is!

The same God that can change the seasons of nature for centuries, is the same God that can change the seasons of your spiritual life today. Trust Him!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Life Moment

"When God makes you feel sorry enough to turn to him and be saved, you don't have anything to feel bad about. But when this world makes you feel sorry, it can cause your death." 2 Corinthians 7:10 CEV

In a time when you are bombarded with the idea that as long as you are not hurting anyone, that whatever you are doing is OK. If you don't get caught or if you are not in jail, it acceptable.

But if you are a Christian, you know. If you listen to your inner spirit, you know. There is no gray area in God's rules for a peaceful, productive life. It's written there, in black and white and sometimes red, (if you have the version of the Bible that has Jesus's words in red.). Whether you listen to it or not is up to you.

God also uses others in our lives to help us hear His knock on our hearts. If you are doing something that is wrong, He will use healthy, sound Christians to speak into our lives. And when He does, we should listen.

God, your Heavenly Father, loves you so much that He doesn't want to leave you to doing a sin that will keep you away from Him--in essence, died in the spirit. No, He loves you so very much that He will fight for your soul. He will fight for your relationship with Him. He desires you so much that He will fight tooth and nail for you--there's no question about that.

But what about you? Where does that leave you? What is your responsibility? He can only go so far--the rest is up to you. You have to be able to be humble enough to admit that you are living in sin or doing a sinful act. You have to be humble enough to get on your knees, and cry out for forgiveness--and mean it.

The one thing that God will not put up with is hypocrisy. You can not cry out for forgiveness one minute and then go right back into the same sin, thinking that if it gets bad enough, then you can just ask for forgiveness again and again, God will forgive you--after all, isn't that His business?

That is just rude and wrong. Your God is not your magic, feel good genie. He is your Spiritual Father of Heaven and Earth and He sacrificed everything for you. He deserves your complete respect.

So, the next time you feel a knock at your heart or a friend speaks into your life--listen. It may be the moment of a lifetime.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spiritual Sense vs Common Sense

"And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
for he will be highly honored around the world.

And he will be the source of peace." Micah 5:4-5 NLT

There will be times of trouble in our lives that we cannot explain. We feel that we are on the right path, that we are doing the right things, that we are where the Lord wants us and yet, we are being attacked.

And I'm not sure if you've noticed, but it's not always the big, KABOOM attacks. A lot of times, it's the little things that are the attack points--the little nat that keeps flying in your face--buzzing around your eyes and ears. At first you ignore it, then you half-heartedly swat at it, and then when you have had enough, you run into the house. Your peace destroyed.

When I read this verse, the first thought was that this is a great verse for pastors and pastorial leadership. We, the church family, are their flock. God has placed them as our sheepherders, to protect us and keep us from harm. And harm isn't always the most obvious of situations. Sometimes harm is in the little things--the gossip, the unacceptable behavior, hangups, the sin that Jesus speaks about boldly in the Bible--all of these are harm and it is their God-given duty to protect us from it.

Does it make them popular? No, not always. Do they get the appreciation that they should? Probably not. Do they themselves get attacked? At times.

Listen up! When we hear rumors or slander about our pastors or church leaders, shouldn't we run it through our spiritual brain and see what the Lord tells us about it? Instead, at times, it seems that we are ever so ready to jump on the band wagon to believe ugly before we even check in with what God would say.

We need to use our spiritual sense more often, and our common sense less. Jesus wasn't always the most popular man in town because He had to stand up for things that many thought was acceptable--but He knew in His Father's eyes--weren't.

Let's be in prayer for those in leadership roles. What a wonderful way to show them how valuable they are to us!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Honor Role

"'Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, O God, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! You speak as though I were someone very great,O Lord God!

What more can I say to you about the way you have honored me? You know what your servant is really like. For the sake of your servant, O Lord, and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known.

O Lord, there is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you!" 1 Chronicles 17:16-20 NLT

This was a prayer that King David said to God after the prophet Nathan reported to him the promises that God had told Nathan to share with him--and God's graciousness overwhelmed even him, a king.

At times, is that how you feel? I know I do. God's graciousness has sent me into tears. Tears of gratitude, tears of humbleness, tears of joy, of thankfulness. If we did not serve such a loving, gracious God, where would we be? We would be nothing--we would be worthless.

Do you feel that, as King David stated so elegantly those many years ago, that there is no God like our God? That just to be able to bear His name, is honor enough. Praise be to our Father in Heaven as we serve Him here on earth.