What Moves You?

What moves you? We can be moved to tears of compassion, moved in a way that motivates us to action, we can even be moved to be generous according to the occasion. Those are examples of “good” moves. But what moves you negatively? How often are your buttons getting pushed? If you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus and a lover of God, a saint walking in communion with Holy Spirit, you shouldn’t have any buttons left to be pushed.

We live in a dark and hardened world as those have carry a great light. We are called, chosen, set apart and raised above, seated with God in Christ. What are we doing still responding to earthly triggers? We are not as we were, but are new creations, created to walk in the way of love! Kindness and compassion should be marking our way, creating a path behind us for others to follow. Though the darkness close in on every side, still the light within should be enough to cast darkness off. Why do we let ourselves so easily be provoked? Do we let the poor attitude of another influence us to react in accordance to the darkness we encounter?

Do you return anger for anger? Disrespect for disrespect? If someone is short with you, are you in return being short with them? Come on Body of Christ! You were made to be more than a short fuse. Let the peace of God dwell in you richly! Stop being offended by offensive people… stop reacting every time someone steps on your rights by treating you poorly. News Flash: YOU DIED with Christ, and dead men have no claim to rights. We are suppose to be sensitive to the Spirit, not sensitive to ourselves. Our feelings get hurt, we become offended, or maybe it’s just a matter not being shown the respect we feel we deserve. Such behavior is not Christlike.

If we are going to impact this world for our beloved king, we must walk where he walked the way he walked it out! We need to bring his peace into chaos. We have to have compassion on those who are up in our face. When we have been wounded by words or betrayed, does the pain make us lash out, or does the God of all comfort rule our hearts enough to calm our souls, that we may extend mercy?

So, here’s the question…  what moves you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Father Everywhere

I love when God shows me something in His Word from a new perspective than I’ve ever been taught, when I’m open to listen, when I shut off the other voices  and listen only to the voice of Holy Spirit, He faithfully does through the Word what Jesus consistently did during his lifetime on earth; reveal the Father. Jesus said if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. His whole ministry was about reconciling us to our heavenly Father. The heart of God, has always been, above all else, to be in a Father-son/daughter relationship with us. So it’s been my practice for many years now, as I read the bible, that I read the Word, the same Word that became flesh and dwelt among us as the man Jesus, that I read it realizing it still has the same intention it always had – to reveal the Father-heart of God. I look for it, and since in all the Holy Spirit does is seek to magnify the work and truth of Jesus, He’s been faithful to see the finished work of Jesus finished in me, in us.

Recently I was concentrating on the unchangeable character of Father God, which lead me to Malachi 3:6-12. When I read verse Malachi 3:6, saying  ‘I the LORD do not change,’ I was quickened in my spirit that the Holy Spirit was saying “pay attention, I’m Talking about the unchanging heart of your Father.” It goes on to says that because he does not change, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

Malachi 3:7 says “Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them.  Return to ME (emphasis mine), and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty…”

This is a huge revelation if you will see it! God, our Father, our Papa, our Daddy God, the one of whom the Spirit within us cries “ABBA!”, does NOT call us to try to turn back to his decrees, but return to  His Heart! Not that we should not follow His decrees, obey His commands and pay attention to His precepts, we should, but not if we aren’t first focusing on knowing Him heart to heart. It’s not enough to work hard to do all the right and God-pleasing things if you never move into the understanding of God as your Father. We totally miss the point if we think doing brings blessing, because Jesus made it clear, it’s not the doing, but the knowing that God blesses. We do because we love, not to be blessed. But when we KNOW God, it’s the knowing that brings blessing.

Malachi 3:8-9 says  “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.” It’s interesting how God seems to be contradicting himself, but he’s not. He’s saying we cannot rob him of his power as God, his majesty as God, his infinite character and being. So how do we rob God? That’s the same question they asked in Malachi, “how?” The response was, “in tithes and offerings.” But by the previous verses, we see that the context of the thought is “Know me as your Father.” And a Father is a provider, one on which we lean. And when we bring in our tithes and offerings, it is not because God lacks resources. It’s because our giving of our treasure, is proclaiming onto the heavens “we recognize that our Father God is the one we are counting on, leaning upon to see us through.” Bringing our tithes and offerings will release blessing into our lives, and if we do it just for the purpose of this is how God said to get blessed with provision, that’s what he’ll bless you with. But if you do it to acknowledge you are trusting, leaning on Father to love and care for you, he will bless you with relationship. So to fail to bring our tithes and offerings then becomes more about robbing God of the relationship as Father in our heart, then the resources.

 

Presence, Grace, & Power

These three words keep ringing in my heart. I hear them echo in my ears as they sing from my lips. Lord we need your presence, we need your grace and power. Lord we need to seek your face, we need a fresh encounter…

Sometimes I think we get lost in a world of available teaching, good sermons, admonition on how we should be living to be a better, more successful Christian. We seek out inspirational messages  on how to position ourselves for blessing. We love hearing lessons that spur us on to do the work of the ministry. We learn about giving, tithing, renewing the mind and spiritual warfare. These are all super, great, and necessary. Paul taught them as did the other books written by men of God.

Jesus taught these things himself. But everything He taught was for one purpose, to reveal the Father. Everything. It all revealed the heart of the Father. Jesus called Peter “blessed” when Peter declared Jesus to be the Son of the Living God. Why? Because he had his first encounter with the Father! He said man did not reveal this truth to you, but my Father in heaven! It could have read “Way to go Pete!! You just heard my Dad!! I’m going build my church on men who know how to encounter my Father, and nothing can take that away from you, the gates of hell will not prevail against the reality that My Father wants to reveal himself as YOUR Father too!

Do you realize that after Peter encountered Father intimately, and personally, the keys of the kingdom were given to him? Seriously, the power to bind and loose; understanding of God as Father is some serious stuff!

So in our sermons, in our studies, in our online teachings we are so devoted to, are we being drawn into the divine intimacy of God as Father, creator of our hearts, lover of our souls. Talk to me all day about how to live a Christian life, and I’ll take a book load of great notes. But tell me of the love of the Father, inspire me by letting me hear the hunger in your voice for his presence in your own life and  I will desire it more for mine as well. Challenge me to get into the secret place of God’s heart. Rally me for the affection of God’s love as my Father.

This is what the body needs. To be taught to get alone, get quiet, and seek his face, FOR OURSELVES!  Good teaching is good, but only infants should be getting all their food hand fed. A mature heart will not be satisfied until it learns from the Holy Spirit, not just from the latest most popular online video. Remember Peter was blessed when he had his own personal encounter with the Father….

Reveal Jesus

Paul said in Galatians 1 that God was pleased to reveal His Son in him, so that he might preach the gospel. What does that look like for today, to have Jesus revealed in us? Is He revealed by our bumper stickers, our Jesus jersey and our jewelry of crosses and fish? I don’t think so. I think it looks like the guy stuck in a long line of irritated customers waiting, who has the eyes of Jesus and can see the hurting heart of the cashier rather than the 6 angry people behind or in front of him. I see someone who doesn’t walk past the homeless guy on the street, and who does more than just  the good deed of giving that extra $5.00… I see the guy willing to sit down in the dirt and listen to the story of this man’s life, giving and recognizing his value and worth, rather than letting life make him invisible.

I believe we often pray “God, reveal yourself to me” when we should be praying “God, reveal your Son IN ME.” We should be crying out for Jesus to be revealed in us so that we too, can preach a gospel that goes beyond words. We should be on our knees or on our faces, until we see the Son being revealed in us, and in our churches.

Oh Papa, let this be our outcry unto you!! REVEAL YOUR SON IN US! Reveal him through our choices day to day; how we spend our time and our money, our attitudes. Reveal your Son in our sincerity, in our words and speech. Reveal Jesus in us as we go through this day so that everyone we encounter might see him!

 

Finding Jesus

I just want to ask, when you read the bible, are you just reading it, or are you “searching the scriptures”? Jesus said several times “to  him who has ears to hear, let him hear”…I think he was trying to tell us that understanding the Word of God isn’t going to just happen without setting your heart to it. I know someone who reads her bible everyday, quite faithfully it would seem, and yet never encounters Jesus within the pages. Does that describe you? When you read the bible, are you getting out of it only the surface of the things we’re suppose to be doing? Are you coming away from your private study full of insight on how to live, what to do, what not to do, yet totally missing the revealing of the love and life of Jesus in those passages? 1 Corinthians 13:2 says “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” The bible clearly tells us that Jesus and Father God are one, and God is love. So even if you read the bible and get all this knowledge about it, if you aren’t seeing Jesus in what you read, it really isn’t benefiting you at all.

God doesn’t just want us to read His Word, He wants us to encounter Jesus on every page! (yes, even books like Numbers can reveal the heart of God’s love if you are really looking for it!) The Word of God is the essence of Jesus. If all you are looking for within it’s pages is the method on how to live, the do’s and don’ts, the how to and how not to’s, then be certain, that is what you are going to find. And if you can follow through with everything you read, you will surely reap the rewards of those teachings. But you still may totally miss Jesus, the love of God, and knowing him according to is love, not just his commands.

Every time we open our bible we should be encountering Jesus and the love of God. Every time. If your understanding of the purpose of the Word of God is just that it is to teach us how to live, you have a very narrow, works oriented view of the Bible, and God wants so much more for you than that. It’s more than telling us how to live, it’s about revealing to us our Father’s heart, the essence of love itself, the reality of Jesus Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit. If you only see the do’s and don’ts, you’ll never even see the heart of the Father when you read verse after verse of who begot who, and how many were in each tribe and family and clan. You’ll either blaze by those verses or read them just to check off your “through the bible in a year” chapter finished box, totally missing the heart of God as He is trying to show you how no one is forgotten, each one, from lowest to highest is important, valued, remembered. You’ll totally miss the Father whispering how great his love is if you don’t read his word expecting to find it.

The next time you open up the scriptures, ask Holy Spirit to reveal more than just how to live. Ask Him to reveal Jesus in the words you read, ask him to reveal the love of God and the heart of our Father. Ask yourself, did what I just read only make me a better Christian, or did it cause me to fall more in love with Jesus? Don’t stop reading until what you read draws you closer to his heart. And don’t feel like that means hours upon hours of endless reading. It’s not about how much you get into the Word inasmuch as it is how much the Word gets into you! Sometimes it may take 2 chapters, sometimes it only takes 2 verses. But when the Holy Spirit pricks your heart, don’t just blaze by it, stop, meditate, inquire of the Holy Spirit to reveal the deeper truth, the hidden treasure of what he’s speaking. Stop worrying about checking of your daily reading box, and get to know Jesus. Don’t just read about what Jesus did, learn about who Jesus is, because when you seek him, you will find him.

 

Redeemed from an empty life

1 Peter 1:13 admonishes us saying, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action…” To understand the context of “therefore” we have to back up a few verses to get a better idea of what the apostle meant. The the previous verses, Peter speaks of the revealing of the new birth into a living hope through Christ Jesus that had, until that point in time, been hidden. The revealing of the salvation of our souls through Jesus Christ had finally been made known. Peter says that the prophets who spoke of things to come, and even the angels themselves longed to understand the truth that has now been revealed to us.

It is for this reason the apostle says “Therefore, prepare your minds for action.” …but what action? I think what Peter is trying to say is, do something with this new understanding! Understand we are responsible with what we’ve been entrusted with. Before the cross, all of history longed to understand what before was only revealed to a handful of prophets, and even they did not fully understand what they were pointing to. But we have this truth. We need to prepare our minds, to be ready to share the hope that we have. This hope, Peter says, is a “Living hope”, not some hope that is unrealized. We are to be ready to offer people a living hope. Salvation belongs to us. Redemption from a life that is empty is given only through Jesus Christ.

A common cry of every human heart is to find meaning in their life. To have a purpose. To make a difference; people need to know their life matters, they count. Jesus redeems us from what 1 Peter 1:18 refers to as “an empty way of life”. People live empty lives when they don’t realize their own value. The world defines our value by the car we drive, the house we live in, the clothes we wear. We esteem the beautiful, the handsome, the fit, and the talented. We attribute value with success. We devalue the poor, the elderly, the sick. God looks at NONE of those things. 1 Peter 1:18 says we were not redeemed with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus. By this, he defines our value. Not according to who we are, but according to what was given to purchase our lives back from death, and can now enter into a life full of meaning and value!

So let us who know the hope of our calling be prepared for action. Let us be prepared to share the truth we know, that God loves each person, every heart, every soul, so much that he gave his son. God’s love gives us our value, our purpose, our reason for being. In a world that wonders what’s the point, that is trying everything it can think of to fill the void inside, let us be prepared to offer living hope, the truth of the reality of Jesus.

 

Notes On Private Worship

We are called to worship God in Spirit and in truth, at all times, with our whole heart. The scriptures tell us to sing and make music unto the Lord, but worship at it’s core is more than just a song, it’s a attitude, or better said, a position of the heart before God. So how do we enter into private worship times, if it’s not all about singing a song to him? If you are feeling dry in your private times and just need to prime the pump of your heart, try these seven areas of focus.

  1. Encourage Your Heart – Encourage your heart to seek his face, regardless of your situation or circumstance, and often in spite of it. Don’t rely on “feeling like seeking him” because everything is going well. Tell yourself, and let the enemy hear you say it, that you will seek the Lord while he may be found!
  2. Focus Your Thoughts – Focus your mind on His great love, His kindness, His faithfulness. There’s a time to present your requests unto God, but stir your faith up first. Get your mind off of your needs, and on who He is, what He has done, and fix your mind on Jesus.
  3. Enter With Thanksgiving – Cultivate a heart of gratitude. Be thankful. Acknowledge that He is working in your life.
  4. Declare His Great Works – To declare aloud what He he already done in your life is an act of warfare against doubt, fear, and indifference.
  5. Proclaim What He Will Do – Get Proactive, and prophecy to your life the promises of God. Speak it out. Stir up your faith and encourage your heart. Activate the promises of God and stand on it.
  6. Let Adoration Flow – As your heart is stirred, pour out your love without reserve. It’s okay to get caught up in it. It’s not about emotions, but it’s okay to express them. We don’t base our relationship on an emotion, on how we “feel” about our relationship with God, we base our relationship with God on the Word, on truth. Just remember, God created us with emotions, so He does like us to have them.
  7. Listen For His Voice – When we draw near to God, remember that He’s been drawing near to us first! Listen for His Voice. He longs to speak to us, and often will meet our needs with a word before we even make our request verbal.

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