Monday, November 12, 2012

Protecting Women

I am late to the battle. I know that. I have lacked understanding.
Let me get right to my point.
Our women need men. It is not a matter of equality.
Women, real women, the way God created them to be, want to be protected.
The proper order of things is that a woman will defer to a man to be protected by him. As a man my job is to protect the women in my life, to encourage and love them and protect them from outside enemies and from their own inner musings.

This election season has burdened my heart. "The war on women" is a phrase heard over and over. Those who seek to harm women have accused those who stand to protect women of being at war against women. Nothing could be farther than the truth.

We are a people created by God with a free will. We are a nation of freedom.
It is in the name of this freedom that certain ones proclaim there should be no limits to our freedoms. They say women must be given free contraceptives, women need to be able to access abortion services on demand.

My understanding is that generally women want relationship more than sex.
The heart of a woman is to raise and nurture family.

So why would those who proclaim to be for women's freedom fight so hard to give them access to birth control and abortion unless the goal was that women are objects to be used for sexual satisfaction without cost? These are not people seeking to protect women, these are people seeking to use women. Worse, they have recruited, abused and lied to some of these women and gotten them to advocate for the same things. It has been a cultural shift that can only be understood as a spiritual attack on the mind and understanding of women.

Have women been used and abused by men in our culture historically?
The answer is certainly yes. Do women get paid less than men for the same work. Honestly we must say yes. As a business owner I hired women because I though I could pay them less. Historically me have been the providers and women came in behind to fill in the shortfall.

The enemy has succeeded in turning the world upside down. I can't even get to the heart of my thinking without generalizing or writing page and page that will completely offend.

Prayer for a friend

You are favored by God. As the enemy requested to sift Peter like wheat because he was a chosen vessel, so he has requested of you. Because you also are God's chosen vessel! Even as Jesus declared to Peter: "Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren." So is this promise for you. You are one who strengthen's others with your gifting. The enemy cannot have you. This is God's declaration to you!

When your heart is overwhelmed make the following declaration:

The voice of the Lord is majestic. His Word is Truth. My feelings are only passing emotions that exist only in my soul which God has saved, and he is in the process of healing. His Word is my truth, my life, my hope, and my strong tower, my fortress of strength when my heart is overwhelmed.

I declare what his Word declares about who I am.
I am victorious even when I don't feel it.
God will vindicate me.
God is my healer. He is healing me. He heals my soul.
Holy Spirit is my comforter. He comforts my pain.
He knows everything about me and he has gone through it all with me.
His presence went before me and follows after me.
His presence is my strength.
He himself, Jesus, the creator of the world, the One who created me, is cradling me right now.
He is my great reward.
I can trust him when nothing else makes sense.
Jesus is my treasured possession that no one can ever take from me.
He is my shield. He surrounds me with favor like a shield.
When my heart is overwhelmed, he stills my heart and teaches me to trust and to rest in him. Even when I don't feel it, I declare that he is my rest, and my shield, and I will trust in him.

Oh God, I love you! My heart is overwhelmed. I declare Jesus is all I need. You are my healer. You are more than enough for me. I believe. I believe. You are my healer. You are my strength. I have no more strength. Be my strength. These thoughts, though overwhelming will not overwhelm me. The enemy has come rushing in like a flood, God will raise a standard against him. (Is. 59:19).
This battle is not mine but the Lord's. He is the one who declares me innocent.
His blood shed for me makes me innocent. I believe. I believe. His Word is Truth. His Word, not my own thoughts, are my truth. God fights for me. I run to him. Hold me daddy, hold me daddy. I am yours. I am yours! I trust you alone.

Letter to my son

Hi Son,

It was great to see you. I really think you are amazing! You always have such a positive outlook. You are a refreshing person to be around! You are so compassionate and easy to be around! I can see why people want to be friends with you! I also think you have a gift and passion for (things) that you should continue to pursue that!

It was nice to get a peek into your life while I was there. It reminded me of a story about the son of a rich man who took his inheritance and went and spent it on "the good life." In the end he ended up living with the pigs he was hired to feed.That was the story I was reminded of.

Son, God has such great things for you! I just want to remind you that you are a son of the King. In life we have two choices. We can choose to live from our soul or we can choose to live by the spirit. There is a whole side of life that you seem to be ignoring and I want to remind you that it is available to you!

I kinda watched the stuff you had on TV. Even my flesh, the soul, likes it because it caters to our lowest desires. But it seemed so pointless! Is that all life is about, watching videos and laughing at sex jokes? At what point does that just lead nowhere?

In the story I was reminded of, the son finally comes to his senses! He had lived in an opulent house and ended up living with pigs. He decided he could live better as a servant in his father's house than where he was. You can do better son!

In the story, the son goes back home, and his father is there waiting for him.
He welcomes him back with open arms. There is nothing that the son has done that the father does not forgive.

An even better story is that in the reality of the Kingdom of God, God sent Jesus to pay the price for everyone who chose to blow their inheritance (which is all of us). You know, the good news is not about being good, or living correctly for God. It is knowing and accepting the fact that God has paid the price for every stupid thing we have ever done!

You are an awesome person son, and you live in a community that has so much need for what you have to offer them. You were always the most spiritually sensitive of all our family. You can hear God better than all your siblings! I want to challenge you to listen for and return to papa!

God came to save our souls. Our soul is our inner man-our mind, our will, and our emotions. THAT is what God came to save! Our mind is corrupt and depraved!
But the Bible says that we are to renew our mind by reading the Word. Do you have a Bible? Just read it. Stop playing games, and watching TV, and spend some time reading Psalms and the New Testament. God came to save your will. We all choose to do our own thing, that is easy for everyone. The soul God has saved chooses to submit his will to God's will for his own good. There is no inner peace when we demand our own way, but when we listen for and do God's will, the inner peace that so eludes us comes and fills us with joy beyond comprehension. Remember what the presence of God feels like! The third part of our soul is our emotions. Emotions can ruin us as we swing from happy to depressed, from content to pissed in a matter of seconds. God saves us from being led by our emotions and helps us to realize that feelings are fleeting but his love for us in every circumstance is constant.

        God loves you! Never forget that! I love you too, enough to write this! It is hard for a parent to speak to his adult son, and I am afraid that you will think I am judging you, but I want to encourage you: You were raised to be more than you currently are! God is waiting for you to give yourself to him completely! Even as I am typing this God is speaking to me that you are right where you need to be. Because of who you are and how you were raised, you are influencing people. People look at you and wonder what it is that makes you what you are-and it is the imprint of God on your life. You are a minister of his presence just how you are, and as you begin to press into him that reality will become so much more clear to everyone around you. They KNOW already that you are the Kings kid, and they are just wondering when you are going to start living like it!

Son, I'm asking Holy Spirit to invade your life! Your part is really simple. Just say "Yes!" That is all there is too it. Just say "yes" and thank him for what he has done. He does the rest.

The riches of the Kingdom is the Presence of God. His Presence is always available. It is only a question away. "Father, would you come?" And he comes.
Son, I invite you to invite Him to come visit. He will come bearing gifts!
That is how he rolls!

His name is Jesus. He is the visible image of the invisible God. There is power in the name of Jesus. He is God himself, and God himself saves you! He made himself nothing. He died a criminals death for you on a cross. He is Lord. You don't have to put any confidence in human effort. We boast in what Christ has done for us. God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith. Everything else is worthless when compared to knowing Christ! Get to know him! He loves you and so do I.


How am I supposed to live?

I did not choose to be born.
I did not choose when or where.
God created me, and somehow here I am, aware.
I am here on this planet. How did I get here?
I just did. I was alive. Then I chose my own way. And I died.
Yet God had a plan. Before the world was.
He sent his Son. He paid the price, and he died in my place.
Now I am alive in him. How can this be?
All I have comes from him.
So why should I fret and why should I worry?
He is the creator. He is the author. He is the finisher.
What if the greatest thing I could do was to amount to nothing!
The world seeks great things.
David said: "I don't concern myself with things too great for me."
What if this is the challenge God has for me?
Don't seek great things for yourself.
Make disciples he says. Does that mean I'll be famous?
One day at a time. Be who your are.
The gifts that you have, are for his joy and pleasure.
No one on earth appreciates you like he does.
Do as he asks. Humble yourself.
Turn from your sin. Be a servant to all.
But not for your glory. It must be for him.
He is in charge and he opens your doors.
Go through when he opens them. Don't choose the others.
His sheep hear his voice. They won't follow another.
I follow my leader the best that I can.
I often fall short, but he picks me up again.
I am not worthy, that's why I need him.
His grace is sufficient, I'm dependent again.
My creator, my leader, he works in me.
He will lift me up for the world to see.
He lifted up Jesus, on a cross hung him there.
He bids me to follow, what more can I do?
Dying to self is my place of joy.
For the joy set before him, he offered himself.
I am his treasure and he is my reward.
His presence is better than silver and gold.
So here I am Jesus. I find myself in you.
You set my feet on a rock, and that rock is you.
I have found my creator, he gives me such joy.
I will worship him forever, what more can I do?
I will live for his presence, and live for his will.
If I amount to nothing, he will love me still.
I can't improve on his plan, so on this rock I will stand.
Gazing at Jesus, the God who became man.
Unless the Lord builds the house, I labor in vain.
My children are a gift I will not have shame.
I will rest in his love and I will rest in his care.
He gave me this life to lay down for him.
The greatest love is to lay down your life for a friend.
I give it to Jesus. That's how I will live.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The narrow path

August 26, 2012

Holy Spirit is drawing me. Deep calls to deep. I feel my humanity, the old nature, my soul, and it stinks. Yet the drawing of the Spirit of God is unmistakable. Lord I come to you, and you accept me as I am. You know that I am but flesh, yet you choose to take up residence within, and redeem this soul.
I wait in your presence. Holy Spirit come.
You fulfill your promises to us. You take us on a path that at times is difficult for us, but we must travel this path to reach our destination.
The Lord showed me a picture of a mountain top shrouded in clouds and mist.
I was on a path that went all the way around the top of the mountain, but it never ascended to the summit. I kept on the same path, going round the mountain just below the fog line for a long time, always ending back at the same place. Then he showed me a narrow way, a path up to the summit, a path shrouded in clouds and mists. This is the way to the summit! It is narrow, steep, and the view is foggy. I can't see far ahead, and I can't see the distant view. All I can do is ascend the steep, narrow path one step at a time. Each twist and turn comes up slowly and it is all I see. But I know the destination of this walk by faith will be to stand on the summit of his will for me, and I believe that he will part the clouds as I reach the summit and provide me a view, his view of the world below.
A song we sing goes like this: There is a place, a wonderful place. Where accused and condemned find mercy and grace. And the wrongs we have done and the wrongs done to us, are nailed there with him, at the cross, at the cross.

The path upward is the path of the cross. It is the path of death to self, the laying down of our lives to obtain kingdom life. It is the walk by faith. Walking in the place of obedience. The first path, the path that went around the mountain, it was in the will of God. Yet it became a plateau, a path that only went round and round until the new path was identified and traversed. Behold, the old things have passed away and new things have come! The things and places of the past, even done in the will of God,  must be left behind when the Spirit of the Lord is leading to new destinations.

It is God who leads us to new destinations. Our part is to listen and to get onto the correct path. Where are you on your path with God? Does he have you on a long road of continuous faithfulness? Is a turn coming ahead? Have you missed a turn? Is there a narrow road you need to take that you have been avoiding? There are many paths to our destination. Some are easier than others, some are faster, some have more stops along the way. But it is God who is at work in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Do you trust that the path he has for you is the best path? Trust him with all your heart.
The cross is a wonderful, painful place. The birth process is a wonderful, yet painful place. New life comes from a wonderful, yet painful process. We must embrace the pain that leads to new life. Jacob wrestled with an angel. Abraham sacrificed a son. Personal loss often leads to new freedom. For some letting go is a painful process necessary to move forward. For others fighting for something of value is the painful, wonderful process whose reward is new life.
Most often for me the place of pain is the point of decision. Once the decision is made, the pain subsides and the new path is traversed. So why do I stay at the point of decision for so long wallowing in my pain? Is this true for you? Make the decision. Lay down your life. Trust God for the outcome. Trust that he is who he says he is! He is able to redeem your mistakes if you make a wrong choice. He just wants your heart. When you submit your life to him you become a sweet smelling aroma to him. Though you feel your fleshly soul stinks to high heaven, your obedient spirit man is a pleasing aroma to him, because it is Christ in you, your hope of glory that he sees, and it is well pleasing to him.
Go for it with all your heart!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Casual Obedience

Casual Obedience

I am a follower of Jesus, but sometimes I turn my back to him. (This is the Biblical definition of evil). But always when I turn back to him (repent) he welcomes me back with open arms. He is always waiting  for me with a loving embrace! Mercy triumphs over judgement! Thank you Jesus!

There also always seems to be in my soul a battle for control. Lordship is allowing Jesus to speak to my heart, and doing my best to walk on the path he directs me to take. Sometimes when I do this I miss the mark, or it is a scary path, but it is my heart of obedience that pleases him more than the resulting circumstance.

This last week I have been noticing in my heart that at times I sense the Lord speaking to me, and I don't exactly turn my back to him, but I do delay my walk of obedience. I was taking a walk, and I decided to return to where I started, but rather than go straight back, I took a longer route. Now that was ok for the walk that I was on, but I realized that I do the same thing in my walk with God.

I don't generally run straight for the battle line like David did. I delay. I walk around the long way. I think about it. This really isn't the trust of Lordship like it ought to be. Yes, timing is important in our walk with God. There are times that God will speak to us and we need to wait on the timing to move forward. However, generally speaking I believe that when God speaks to our heart that we need to move to instant obedience. My obedience has been rather casual most of my life in God.

I remember a teaching I heard one time, that in terms of meeting peoples needs, or choosing to speak a word from the Lord to a stranger, TO NOT DECIDE TO, is TO DECIDE NOT TO. Sometimes our window for obedience is only a few seconds. We miss so much blessing by not trusting God with instant obedience.

I am faced with major life changing decisions. I have dragged my feet for over two years. How much have I missed? I found my heart in turmoil until I obeyed. God was asking me to do something outside my paradigm of vision for my life, and it took me that long to figure out that he indeed was asking me to lay down all my past career choices. I am on a new path now, but I find myself wanting to take a roundabout path so that I can "process" what he is doing. 

I am tired of going slow and taking the long way, and dragging my feet to the next destination. I want to get there now. So guess what, now I have to wait!
There are things I have no control over that I must wait for. So while I wait, I am doing my best to rid myself of all the baggage from the past that is holding me back. I have a lot of baggage. Some of it is hard to give up. But this path of obedience cannot continue to be casual. I need purposeful obedience. Forgetting what lies behind, I press on to the mark of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!

I have a sense that God wants to do a new thing in all of us. We all see as "through a glass darkly" the will of God for our lives. We never know when some little decision will have a huge impact on our future. Sometimes we think we are facing a huge decision and it turns out not to be that big of a deal. Other times we make a quick instant decision with no idea that we are choosing something that is  going to affect our lives for years.

I am at a point where I know that I must leave the past behind. I get that. I also have a general sense about the future path, and yet...and yet. The natural path I see does not line up yet with the sense I have of where God has for me to go!
So all I can do is walk forward day by day. Doing my best to toss away the baggage of the past and find the path of the future. It is an exciting place.  I want so much to apprehend his promises for me. I don't see it clearly. Others seem to see it, why can't I?

Ok, here is what I do see about the Kingdom of God. Most of what we do in life is mundane, everyday stuff. Getting out of bed, preparing for the day, greeting our family, preparing meals, doing our work, praying, reading, resting, etc. But this IS all Kingdom stuff. If I think I am destined for some glorious ministry maybe I need to re-think my purpose. The most glorious ministry in the heart of God may be changing diapers and doing laundry!  Which brings me back to my point about obedience. He who is faithful in the little things is faithful also in much.  Which means if I want a glorious ministry, that I need to lay aside my casual obedience and grab hold of God instantly when he speaks. When I have to wait, then I must be faithful in what he wants me to do while I wait.

In any crowd there are only a few leaders.  There a 7 billion people on this earth.  Very few will lead. Most of us are just sheep. Yet the chief shepherd laid down his life for the sheep. Our calling is to be faithful sheep. The Lord of the universe is intimately acquainted with the depths of our hearts. Is this enough for you? Don't seek great things for yourself. God is able to lift you up. The humble he will not despise! The best leaders are changing diapers unseen by the crowds.  The greatest saints are cleaning up the daily messes of life everyday. Mother Theresa did not work alone. 

Our days on this planet are few in number, and only a few will attain the great things they dream of. Yet God's measure is not man's measure. His ways are not our ways. A daily walk with God in a relationship of humble instant obedience (not casual), is the greatest ministry anyone of us can have. Are we loving our neighbor as ourself? Who is our neighbor? Are we caring for our kids and family members like we should? Are we our brother's keeper? Are we living in peace with one another? Are we seeking great things for ourself? What does it mean to love one another? Are we doing for others what we want them to do for us? Are we storing up treasures in heaven, or seeking some kind of glory in this life? 

Take a few minutes to consider if your relationship with the King has been too casual. I know mine has been. By his grace and loving embrace, I will walk side by side with him every step of the way no matter where he goes. Remember the little things are the big things to him!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thoughts on Ps. 112

Ps. 112 I have written above Ps. 112 in my Bible that success is experiencing the presence of God! I have been finding his presence, yet I am still discouraged. Is it because I live by feelings and not by obedience. His grace is so good. Lack of peace draws us to him no matter how dense we are. He is patient. Praise the Lord. Happy are those who fear the Lord. Yes happy are those who delight in doing what he commands. Do you have gifts, callings, ambitions, or goals, but the Lord is saying put those on hold and listen to me? Are you delighting in doing what he commands or are you trying to do your own thing?  Happy are those who delight in doing what the Lord commands, even if it is outside the box you have put him in in your own understanding of who he is. If you delight in doing what he commands: Your children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation will be blessed. You yourself will be wealthy. I have written in my notes that you will have a full spirit, i.e. you will be filled with the spirit, which is true wealth, and your good deeds will never be forgotten. The implication here is that obedience to God leads to a wealth of peace and prosperity in his presence and involves doing good deeds for others. Interesting-death to self-will leads to obedience to his will, good works and wealth, be it the inner wealth of his presence, or the overflowing abundance of goodness to the next generation. When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in. They are generous, compassionate and righteous. All goes well for those who are generous, and lend freely, and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil circumstances. Those who are righteous will long be remembered. They do not fear bad news, they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will never be forgotten. They will have influence and honor. the wicked will be infuriated when they see this. They will grind their teeth in anger, they will shrink away, their hopes thwarted. Here are the words to describe the spirit led man-generous, compassionate, righteous, full of light, fair, fearless, trusting, triumphant! Is this you?