Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Great Christian Agenda (aka Evangelism)

The following are some rather non-conventional thoughts on "evangelism" and should not be taken as a specific attack on any one person, group, or institution.  Any traces of rage you might pick up on have to do with anger at the Liar and no precious Son or Daughter of Zion.

This living in a subdivision has been quite an interesting experience for me, since I haven't really ever had to deal with door-to-door sales people.  It happens quite frequently around here.

To be honest, I despise door-to-door sales.  That being said, I have never had someone interrupt me at supper time with a product that I am actually in the market for.  I am slightly less opposed to those who just leave a friendly and impressive pamphlet of some kind, and from time to time will actually read it.

I have had J.W.'s and other folk trying to sell everything from vacuum cleaners to salvation.  Unfortunately I, and I believe pretty much everyone I know, hate to be interrupted by someone trying to "sell" me anything.  I feel it is disrespectful and rarely do I have any notion that it has anything to do with my well-being.

Let's face it, the purpose of door-to-door sales is to try to better oneself or one's product (the salesperson's) and has little to do with what's good for the interrupted home-dweller.  Even those selling religion are in it for themselves, to feel as though they have "evangelized" or done their part in "spreading the good news".

I lived for YEARS under this lie that I was failing Him because I was not "winning" people to the Lord.  I would try to imagine friends burning in hell to try to muster up compassion and a drive to evangelize them. 

I am RELIEVED to be finally rid of this SATANIC BURDEN.  I do not believe this or anything else is up to me.  HE shepherds His church, He draws us unto Himself, He orchestrates the events of our lives, and works within our freedom of choice to bring about the best possible turn of events within our choices.

He is at work in the lives of my neighbours and that it would be UNJUST for their eternal lives to be dependent upon ME!!  He invites me, all the time, to participate with Him in what HE is already doing in their lives.  But it is an invitation.  And invitation to join in with Him and experience life the way I was created to experience it, living in Him, having Him flow through me.

All of this is to say that I do not believe in door-to-door evangelism.  I think it is Satanic and unfruitful.  What I believe in is surrender.  Surrender to Him in all and through all.  And I believe that what He is speaking about is relationship.  If we have to use the word "evangelism" than so be it.  Relationship evangelism.  Prophetic evangelism.  For the love of God, if we can't even hear from Him before going to approach someone with a sales brochure for our church group, we have NO BUSINESS approaching them at all!

I don't think anyone should bring a flyer or a Bible or a neon pink brochure to their neighbours.  I think they should PRAY and maybe bring them some cookies.  Maybe help them shovel their driveway.  Ask Papa for prophetic insight and speak, if He asks.  Maybe it will be something simple like, "everything's going to be okay."  Enough with the AGENDA.  The world can smell it coming and they DESPISE it.

We live in a generation who is done with being lied to and manipulated.  We live in a generation who would rather risk hell than serve a God who would send a good person there.  That is the reality of our day.  FEAR DOESN'T WORK TO SCARE PEOPLE INTO CHURCH ANYMORE.  The only answer is love.  That has always been the only answer.  When His heartbeat resonates in our ears; when His love pulses in our veins; when the agenda is lost and we stop trying to perform for a father who doesn't exist and begin to really bask in the love that was given to us freely and live loved ~ that is when the world will watch us watching Him and wonder at what they see.
J.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Women



A couple of friends sent me this poem recently and it go me to thinking =)  I will copy the poem below and then add my thoughts underneath.

One Flaw In Women  
Women have strengths that amaze men. 
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,  
but they hold happiness, love and joy.  
They smile when they want to scream.  
They sing when they want to cry.  
They cry when they are happy  
and laugh when they are nervous.  
They fight for what they believe in.  
They stand up to injustice.  
They don't take "no" for an answer 
when they believe there is a better solution.  
They go without so their family can have.  
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.  
They love unconditionally..  
They cry when their children excel  
and cheer when their friends get awards. 
They are happy when they hear about  
a birth or a wedding. 
Their hearts break when a friend dies.  
They grieve at the loss of a family member,  
yet they are strong when they  
think there is no strength left.  
They know that a hug and a kiss  
can heal a broken heart.  
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors. 
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you  
to show how much they care about you.  
The heart of a woman is what  
makes the world keep turning.  
They bring joy, hope and love. 
They have compassion and ideas.  
They give moral support to their  
family and friends.  
Women have vital things to say  
and everything to give. 
HOWEVER, IF THERE IS ONE FLAW IN WOMEN,  
IT IS THAT THEY FORGET THEIR WORTH.
Please pass this along to all your 
women friends and relatives to remind them just 
how amazing they are


Are you ready? Here are my thoughts.
A writer from some several thousand years ago wrote a similar tribute to women, and it was recorded in the book of Proverbs, chapter 31.  For years, I have heard this passage alluded to by many preachers and teachers and, to be quite honest, I normally would feel resentment toward the author and would dismiss the content as being culturally irrelvant and unimportant to me.

I realize that many religious institutions will use such passages as a sort of instrument to try to "put women in their place", which naturally will instigate rebellion in a good many of us and rightly so.  As I read the above poem though, I suddenly had this thought that, whether originally intended or not, perhaps we could read the passage in Proverbs 31 as more of a tribute than instruction.  Perhaps the writer was simply listing a bunch of things he appreciated and valued in his own wife, and hoped his son would be so blessed as to find someone like he had; a warrior woman who knew her worth.
I think, that if we could read it from that perspective, perhaps we would feel more edified than humiliated.  Perhaps we would feel seen and acknowledged, rather than demoralized.  Perhaps we would realize that, even all those centuries ago, even when women were considered property, at times less valued than cattle, there were men who saw our true beauty and value and even wrote about it.  Perhaps even then, Father sought us out and whispered to our hearts, "You have no idea how precious you are."
 
Janna

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sex-Slave Supermodel

In Cambodia, little girls are sold into sex slavery and forced to have sex repeatedly for years, starting at ages as young as four years old. They are gang-raped, beaten, used, abused, drugged, demoralized, degraded, soiled, used, and abandoned.

We buy our daughters Barbie dolls and airbrush our models and idolize anorexic anesthetized remnants of what used to be the promise of something so much more. We embrace the idea of parading our daughters naked for all the world to see, claiming we are modern, when all the while, we are pimping them, abusing them, exploiting, demoralizing, degrading, soiling, using and abandoning them.

It is time for the warriors to arise and open our eyes and see the beauty longing to be rescued right before our eyes. When will she cease to be the god of sensuality and pleasure promising to satiate the abyss within our own souls? When will the mind-altering, mind-numbing, emasculating, self-serving veil be lifted?

The girl-child takes mind altering drugs to somehow protect her conscious self from the horror of being displayed, used and abused by the pedophile, the tourist, the camera man, the media, the audience, the masses of people under the same dark cloud that keeps them from seeing the truth.

There is a Man who rises with the roar of the lion in His chest and the fury of a thousand fathers in His eyes. To ride with Him, it will take much more than mental fortitude or theological certainty. It will take a visit into His throneroom, a snapshot through His eyes, a revelation of supernatural proportions. Do you dare take the risk? Do you dare ask Him to show you what He sees?

(photo above found at georgepechtol.com)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who is in the Storm


Psalm 107:23-31 Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Golden Calf


So the Israelites wanted a golden calf. They wanted what all the other people had ~ something tangible to worship. And yet they had the "pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night" ~ the presence of God being manifested so they could know He was with them. But it wasn't enough. Because he wasn't doing it their way. And He wasn't giving them the things that other people with other religions had.

Sound familiar? God, give me something tangible here. I need money in my bank account. I need my debt paid off. I need a better house, a better car, a better job. I need better friends, a better church, a better program. I need a better spouse, more recognition, more validation. I need health. I need . . . a golden calf. Something I can touch. Something that will glisten in the sun.

We want Him to come down to our level and manifest Himself in our carnal world in the flesh. Guess what, He already did. He came to our level and manifested Himself in the body of a man. He performed miracles. He fed thousands. And He died alone.

Why? Because He didn't do things our way ~ and He still doesn't. And we don't like it. We never have.

Now He invites US ~ the same way He invited the Israelites of old to come up the mountain and behold Him ~ He invites us, "Come up here, my beloved." He invites us to rise above our circumstances and our pain and our delusions ~ to see with His eyes. To hear with His ears. To live a life that transcends our carnal reality and enables us to fly.

Let's stop asking Father to do things our way.
Let's say yes to the invitation and let Him do the rest.
It might hurt ~ it will hurt ~ but, oh! It will be worth it.

J.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Redirect


We look to each other for significance.
We ask those defining questions and we are asking the wrong ones.
Am I lovely?
Am I worth dying for?
Do I have what it takes?
We have been asking the wrong people our whole lives.
It's time to ask the right One.
His answers might surprise you.
Or they might not.
He loves to work through our loved ones.
But sometimes they fail.
He will never fail.
If we expect our parents, our friends, or our spouses to answer the Question, we have put them in His place.
And then we wonder why we are not satisfied.
It's time.
Know Whose you are.
It's game time.
J.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lose Yourself


There's a popular artist in pop music culture called Eminem. You might have heard of him (or switched the dial on your radio swiftly when he came on, depending on your tolerance for offensive language.) His lyrics often carry varying degrees of anger, discontent, and even deep-seeded pain. He wrote one song about a guy born on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. He's been dealt an unfair hand and faces betrayal and animosity at every turn. And yet he comes upon a moment of opportunity in which, if he is willing to lose himself completely, he can lay hold of his dream and be set free from his prison once and for all.

The song is crude and will offend many of you but I'm going to copy it here anyways. I suggest you give it a listen as well (try playlist.com) - I find it very moving on a number of levels.

Firstly, I am inspired by the song. I am inspired by a hurting kid who rises up and says, "I'm not givin' up that easy!" and lets out his gigantic roar. I'm inspired for myself, at the idea of losing myself - defying fear - standing up and letting go.

The other day, as I listened to the song at rather alarmingly high decibels in my car, Jesus hit me with an even more inspiring take on this. As Eminem chants, "so here I go, it's my shot, feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity I've got!" I saw HIM (Jesus), dressed in battle gear, galloping fiercely on an unbeaten trail, toward a small door - an unlikely opening - into the heart of a lost soul.

Paul Young writes in The Shack that, even though not every road leads to the Father (in fact, only one road does), He will take any road necessary to get to us. This is profoundly moving to me. We have a Father who will go to any lengths to rescue us - a savior who will charge down any path toward any chance, no matter how dismal, to get to us. He sees each one of our lives from the perspective of eternity and He knows precisely the moment that is the best moment to show us the reality of His love and the absolute lost-ness of our independence. Not everyone will accept His offer, but if there is a chance ... Any chance at all ... He will take it!

When you read this song - and if you risk listening to it - even though obviously not all the lyrics apply - think about Him. Think about His tenacity. Think upon the fierceness of His love. Here is Lose Yourself:

Look.. if you had.. one shot,or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted.. in one moment
Would you capture it.. or just let it slip? Yo..

[Verse 1]
His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
to drop bombs, but he keeps on forgetting
what he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth but the words won't come out
He's chokin, how? Everybody's jokin now
The clock's run out, time's up, over - BLAOW!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh there goes Rabbit, he choked
He's so mad, but he won't
Give up that easy no, he won't have it
He knows, his whole back's to these ropes
It don't matter, he's dope
He knows that, but he's broke
He's so sad that he knows
when he goes back to this mobile home, that's when it's
back to the lab again, yo, this whole rapshody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don't pass him

[Chorus]
You Better, lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go (go)
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You better, lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go (go)
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
You Better..

[Verse 2]
Soul's escaping, through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking
Make me king, as we move toward a, new world order
A normal life is boring; but superstardom's
close to post-mortem, it only grows harder
Homie grows hotter, he blows it's all over
These hoes is all on him, coast to coast shows
He's known as the Globetrotter
Lonely roads, God only knows
He's grown farther from home, he's no father
He goes home and barely knows his own daughter
But hold your nose cause here goes the cold water
These hoes don't want him no mo', he's cold product
They moved on to the next schmoe who flows
He nose-dove and sold nada, and so the soap opera
is told, it unfolds, I suppose it's old partner
But the beat goes on da-da-dum da-dum da-dah

[Chorus]

[Verse 3]
No more games, I'm a change what you call rage
Tear this motherf*n roof off like two dogs caged
I was playin in the beginning, the mood all changed
I've been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage
But I kept rhymin and stepped right in the next cypher
Best believe somebody's payin the pied piper
All the pain inside amplified by the
fact that I can't get by with my nine to
five and I can't provide the right type of
life for my family, cause man, these Godd*n
food stamps don't buy diapers, and it's no movie
There's no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life
And these times are so hard, and it's gettin even harder
Tryin to feed and water my seed plus, teeter-totter
Caught up between bein a father and a primadonna
Baby momma drama screamin on her too much for me to wanna
stay in one spot, another day of monotony,
has gotten me to the point, I'm like a snail I've got
to formulate a plot, or end up in jail or shot
Success is my only motherf*n option, failure's not
Mom I love you but this trailer's got to go
I cannot grow old in Salem's Lot
So here I go it's my shot, feet fail me not
This may be the only opportunity that I got


WARNING: May be offensive adds on the above linked page
J.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Without Wavering


Paul and I are in an interesting place right now. We have been through one hell of a year or two and now, right when I was hoping it would all ease up, ka-wham (is that a word?) we're smack-dab in the middle of another firing squad. One of the common prayers around here is, "God, please give us wisdom." For quite some time, we weren't getting much by way of a response.

This morning I was reading a word based on this scripture in James:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double- minded man, unstable in all his ways."

I've thought about this last verse many times, heard it quoted, and quoted it in relation to being focused in faith. I had never really noticed that it comes directly in relation to asking Father for wisdom and believing that He will give that wisdom ~ and liberally even. For me, this makes the scripture more applicable and far less vague as far as how we are supposed to avoid this double-mindedness. I have to admit, I have often believed, without realizing it, that we avoid double-mindedness by trying harder to believe in our beliefs about Him. This, of course, is a work of the flesh, which in the end will produce zero fruit.

Instead, James is simply asking us to choose to believe in God's faithfulness, and His faithfulness to keep His promise. That's it. We don't know how or when or what it will look like but we can choose to believe in His character and goodness to do what He said He would do.

So I asked Him again this morning, "Father, give us wisdom and insight. Help us to see our circumstances and the trials before us with your wisdom and have the wisdom we need to make good choices." And this time, I believe. Not for a specific outcome but that He will give us wisdom liberally and without reservation.
J.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Faith or Fear

We have all thought of these two ~ faith and fear ~ as being opposites. And yet I believe the opposite of fear is actually love. Try this out. The next time you feel afraid (which, chances are, will be fairly soon, given that this weapon is so effective!) ask the Father to reveal His love for you in that place. Knowing a touch of His immeasurable love for us enables us to rise above every and any circumstance. It empowers us to see from His perspective, as beloved sons, safe, high, and strong.

Fear is not the opposite of faith ~ it is faith. Faith in what you can or can't do, faith in what the enemy will do, faith in what the world will do. The faith that lives inside of us is powerful. When it is focussed on our Faithful God, it releases us into deeper relationship with Him and from the snares that have held us captive all these years.
J.

Friday, August 7, 2009

You Remind Him of Someone


You know where the apostle Paul talks about believers being like the fragrance of Christ, everywhere we go (among those who are being saved and those who are perishing alike?) I was thinking of those loved ones we have who leave a certain aroma whenever they pass through a room. Both my mom and Paul's mom have a specific perfume that they always wear. You can tell if they've been around because the fragrance lingers for a while. And you can certainly remember if they've hugged you recently because your t-shirt will hold on to the scent, even into the following day!

Sometimes that reminder can bring a smile to your face, even if your mind was on less pleasing things at the time.

Can you imagine the Father looking down on a place where you have been, and taking in a long, deep breath through His nostrils? He keeps His eyes closed for just a moment and savours the fragrance of it. You remind Him of His Son. Imagine the love and adoration He has for Him. And then imagine that He has that same affection for you. Because He does...

J.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lies & Truth


I read an interesting article today that I thought I'd share with y'all. The Father has been bringing me through this revelation of living in the truth and not in the lies, which obviously is something that we realize more and more deeply as we live and grow with Him. I thought I understood this years ago! (LOL)

The truth is, I want to live in the lies sometimes, because I am afraid they are true and if I don't stay swimming in them and contemplating them and analyzing them, I will get caught of guard one day and find out they were all true. But my Jesus is inviting me to live in a different reality. A reality where my emotions might not all be validated or discussed. A reality where I won't be the centre of the universe. A reality that transcends fear and timelines and hopes and dreams. There are two different kingdoms that you can't live in at the same time ~ and this insight from Kathie Walters (see link below) I think touches on one of the primary differences between those kingdoms.

Bless you . . . and as our friend Gary would say, we remain . . . IN HIS GRIP.
Love, Janna

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fearless


I spent some time with Jesus yesterday and He said something I felt I should share with all of you.

I told you you would tread on scorpions and serpents and they would not harm you. You will drink poison and you will not die. There is a generation that will go where no man has gone before. You WILL live without fear IN THIS LIFETIME.

This fearlessness will be a result of us having allowed Him to bring circumstances into our lives that will cause us to face our fears. It is frightening to face your fears. And the only solace I have is that He loves me with a strong and mighty love. My peace cannot come from having worked myself up into some sense of undefeatable strength. It can only come from a knowledge of His Love. And that knowledge can only come from Him.
J.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Wilderness



The following is something a friend wrote that I wanted to share with you all and invite your thoughts!

The Wilderness
Many feel that a lack of trusted leadership to relate to, a lack of any community or movement to identify with, a lack of miracle in provision or healing would be evidence of their being in a wilderness.

The children of Israel had an anointed, powerful leader and they were still in the wilderness. They were part of a great movement and still in the wilderness. They lived by supernatural provision and miracle but were still in the wilderness.

Star leadership, miracles and multitudes are not proof that you are in the promised land.
They may be proof that you are still in the wilderness of immaturity and codependency.

Jesus went into the wilderness alone to fast and pray. Maybe the true purpose of the wilderness is to wean us from our addiction to the approval of others, our addiction to the sensational, our addiction to equating numbers with success? Maybe the true purpose is for us to connect with Jesus alone? To settle our needs in God so that we can freely give to others?

When the children of Israel reached the promised land they dispersed to their own portion and each had to begin to take responsibility for their own lives, to manage their own affairs and to provide for themselves. They could no longer live by Moses and miracle.

You may feel alone and isolated...
That may be your promised land...
That may be the place you fully engage with Jesus.
Although it may feel like a wilderness, it is not only a good place.
It is the best of places!
Steve Hill

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is He Enough?


Hi, everyone. The following is a short story that was forwarded to us by our friend, Gary. It is a simple story but something about it drew my attention and I felt compelled to share =)

THE SON

"A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.
When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas,there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, 'Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.' The young man held out this package. 'I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.'
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. 'Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift.'
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. 'We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?'
There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, 'We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.'
But the auctioneer persisted. 'Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?' Another voice angrily. 'We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh's, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!'
But still the auctioneer continued. 'The son! The son! Who'll take the son?'
Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. 'I'll give $10 for the painting..' Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
'We have $10, who will bid $20?'
'Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters.'
The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel. 'Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!'
A man sitting on the second row shouted, 'Now let's get on with the collection!'
The auctioneer laid down his gavel. 'I'm sorry, the auction is over.'
'What about the paintings?'
'I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!'
God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: 'The son, the son, who'll take the son?' Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

'FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, WHO EVER BELIEVES IN HIM, WILL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.'"
_______________________

What stands out to me is how often we will seek the benefits of the Kingdom rather than the Son alone. So many of us have heard the words "seek His face and not His hands," but how far are we willing to allow Him to take that in our hearts. How often are we furrowing our brows and asking, "when will God come through for me?" as though we have some sense of entitlement from God?

So often, I feel we are getting the cross bit out of the way so we can move on to theological pursuits and further knowledge and understanding of an incomprehensible God. What if we stopped there. Right at the death and resurrection of Christ? What we if stopped at the place where we simply want to know His deep and powerful love for us? What if that was all we ever sought to know? Anything else is gravy. Wherever else He leads us is His business.

Father, from here, take me only where you want me to go. Teach me only what you want me to understand. My life is not my own. I am yours. And Jesus is most certainly enough for me.

J.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Validation


Here's a thought. What if having our emotions validated isn't His main concern? Do I believe our Father loves us and aches when we are hurting? Why, yes, I do. Does He rage at the enemy of our souls? Absolutely. But what if all these feelings and perspectives and opinions that no one else understands are actually existing only in a carnal reality that really only holds us back from the Kingdom reality that we are invited to live in every single day?

We can hold out for miracles, yes. Why not just abandon those too? We can keep praying for reconciled relationships and righted wrongs. But could there be a more excellent Way? What if we were transformed truly into the image of His likeness? What if we became so enraptured by Him and His purposes that the things of earth truly became strangely dim?

I wonder if we could ask Him to simply help us to "set aside" these encumbrances so that we could move forward in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called, as true Spirit-beings, communing with Him, worshiping Him with our every breath, shedding His light and His water on a lost and dying world.

J.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Submission


Whenever I hear a speaker broach the topic of "the woman's role" in marriage, my chest usually involuntarily tightens up a bit. It's nowhere close to the way it used to be, when I would actually become physically ill in a matter of seconds. Blame it on being reared in a church club that preached female subservience or just the fact that I resented being a woman for most of my adolescence and young adult life; convinced for the most part that God had given me the short end of the stick, so to speak.

Eventually, He did enough work in me that I was able to embrace my femininity but it wasn't until He hit me with a particular revelation that I was able to sit through any kind of Ephesians 5 sermon without having a mild panic attack.

A good friend of mine thought Easter time might be a great time to post this tiny and yet profound bit of revelation. And I think she's right. (You're so quick, Shawna =)

It was one fateful summer day, as I wrestled with this whole concept of women being the "weaker sex" and the injustice of it all, when my Jesus offered an interesting observation to me. "Have you considered that I'm only asking you to do exactly what I have done?"

He reminded me of Paul's letter to the Philippian church, when he says that Christ "did not consider equality with God something to be grasped." (Chapter 2 in Philippians is, by the way, quite a wonderful section to read if you're wrestling through any of these issues.)

You see, Jesus, our example of exactly how incredible and powerful and effective and intimate our lives could be, shows us that the way to get there from here is to let go of all our rights. Every last one. Do not grasp onto your right to anything. He, the King of all Kings, bowed down low and submitted to US. Does that make you twitch a little? Do you remember Him donning a servant's towel and washing the dirt and dung from his disciples' feet?

Jesus let go of everything He "deserved" to have. He leaned down low and lifted us up, pushed us forward into our destiny as children of God. This is the pure definition of "submission" ~ from a place of lowliness, to raise another above yourself; raise him or her up and establish them in all their potential and promise and destiny.

Forget about squabbling over who is weaker or who has more authority or who has more of a voice. This is all a waste of time. This high calling to which we have been called is to be like the One who was, in fact, obedient to the point of death, even the humiliating death on a cross.

Do you see? This is the upside down Kingdom of God, here on earth. In order to walk in the fullness of your authority and destiny as an anointed child of God, you must follow Christ's example. This involves submission and humility and surrendering all of your rights to anything.

I am convinced that, the degree to which we have surrendered is the degree to which we will experience intimacy with God and authority and power from on High to accomplish His good purposes in our lives. From this place of submission, there will be no question as to the authority that operates in our lives. It will not be contrived or announced or forced on anyone! It will be obvious.

I said to a friend once, who was incensed at the idea of women in ministry, preaching to men, "I don't know the answer to whether the Lord has called me to minister to men and women alike, or to clean toilet bowls. Of one thing I am certain, my life is submitted to Him, and whatever it is He will have me do, I will do it, because my life is not my own. I was bought with a price. By His grace, wherever He leads me I will go."
J.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What is the Cross Anyway?

Since a couple of dear friends totally messed with my theology and basically set the whole thing ablaze a couple of years back, I found myself pondering the most elementary questions of my faith. Now approaching Easter, I was struggling with the answer to this question, posed by my almost-seven-year-old. "Why did Jesus die for me?"

After discussing the matter at length with my best friend, I felt Papa shed a little light on the subject.

Picture a starting point. The Garden of Eden. Paradise lost. We are communing with God. We are given free choice. We choose independence.

From that point, we begin to part our ways. God continues on His perfect path, and we set off on our . . . well, imperfect path. The place we were never meant to go. "Trespassing" where our feet were not created to tread.

Now picture these paths looking something like the letter "V" ~ our path growing gradually further and further away from His. Now, for anyone who wants to go back to Him and walk with Him on His path, they will need a Bridge. They cannot cross the chasm on their own.

God has the answer. And the cross is the only way.

Rather than think of the cross of Jesus as being the picture of God's wrath being unleashed on His son to appease His anger, what if we looked at it like this: The cross is the picture of God Himself crossing over to our independent path and taking upon Himself every consequence of every sin (independent act) that had been committed or ever would be committed (remember the path only gets further and further away from Him.) What if this was about Jesus, Almighty God, rising from His throne, taking off His magnificent robe, setting His eyes like flint, and entering wholeheartedly and unreservedly into the most gruesome and horrible fate imaginable, taking upon Himself all of the consequences that would ever lie ahead of us on our own independent journey away from God.

In that instant as He cries out, "IT IS FINISHED," a fiery path is cut from one path to the other and a bridge is made for whosoever will accept His gift. He cries out, "you do not have to see how this story ends. You do not have to suffer under the unavoidable consequences of your choice to live independently from Me. You do not have to suffer that pain. Accept that I have suffered it in your stead. Lift your foot. Walk across my bloodied back. I have lain myself out as a bridge for you. Re-join Us on the path that you were always meant to walk."

Never again can we raise our fist to God and say, "you don't know! You don't understand!" For He did not ask us to suffer the consequences of our choice for independence alone. Instead, He came here and suffered right along with us. In fact, He took every consequence of every bad choice upon Himself. We can look at His face and see His passion and know that we are never alone and that we have seen the face of a love that has conquered death for all time.

So I looked at my almost-seven-year-old and said, "Jesus died on the cross so that we wouldn't have to pay for our choice to be separate from Him. He paid so we could come back home." And this time I knew a little bit more about what that meant.
J.
*painting above by Judy Ross*

Monday, March 23, 2009

Watchmen



I enjoyed reading a word from Bill & Marsha Burns this morning. (http://ft111.com) Specifically I felt the word from Bill came with deep insight into the call of the watchmen. I loved when Bill says,
"Watchmen, what of the night? Not only declare what you see in the darkness, but declare that the morning also comes with the glorious light of the Morning Star to lead, guide and show you the way."
I loved the emphasis on the call of the watchman to see and DECLARE what he sees. This to me is in line with the true purpose of the gifts we have received from God. Isn't it true that the gifts and calling we have received from Father are to be used for the building up of the Church? The watchman opens his EYES and sees what transpires in the darkness so that he can bring that reality into the view of the Church and inspire her to rise up in the spirit and live intentionally and not needlessly under the oppression that she oftentimes cannot even see!

And the watchman reminds her of the coming morning. He declares HOPE and REMEMBRANCE of the faithfulness of our God.

To me, these are all things which are released into and over the church, with no strings attached. So often I would take ownership over the things that God had shown me and would take it personally if people would not receive them or take them seriously. The watchman doesn't have time for this! There is too much going on and too many distractions. He calls out what he sees and makes declaration of the truth of Who God is. This is all an invitation for the Church to rise up. Certainly the enemy is on the move AND SO IS THE KING OF KINGS. This war rages whether we are aware of it or not and whether we mount our horses or not. The watchman sounds the alarm and declares the unseen realm to all who have ears to hear!
J.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We the Persecuted


You wouldn't think it would take 15 years of walking with God to grasp some of the more fundamental truths of Christianity, but in my case...well, I guess I'm slow. I don't think I can find a Christian who could not quote at least one scripture regarding worry and fear. To know the truth, however, and to walk in it, are two entirely different matters.

We drop our jaw in amazement at the stories of believers in other nations who face daily persecution for their faith. We hear how they persevere even though their very lives are threatened, and we marvel. We don't seem to be able to correlate, however, that the remarkable growth of the church in those nations, is tied directly to the fact that these people have chosen Christ, with their very lives on the line. They have faced their death, just by saying yes to Jesus, and those around them want in. Why?

Those who live afraid will desire whatever it is that those who live without fear possess. Someone willing to take a bullet for what they believe in, makes others sit up and notice.

I have heard of, and been a part of, many North American prayer meetings where we fall on our faces, praying for the freedom of the Christians in these nations. I wonder how many of us actually realize that the believers in these nations are far more free than we are, and are on their faces, praying for us!

We do not have our governments kicking in the doors of our churches. Our lives are not at risk preaching the gospel. Yet we are the most fearful group of Christians in the world.

The fear here, however, is very deceptive, yet utterly convincing. It is based on a lie spoken over us from the time we are remotely cognitive. We are under its weight every day. It keeps us with our hands on the wheel, even if steered with a baby finger. It whispers to us first thing in the morning, and we try and drown it with every method of escapism at night. Quiet yourself, and you can more than likely hear it now. "Everything you have can be taken from you, so you had better do everything you can to prevent it!"

Our faith is not persecuted in the physical realm, but I strongly believe that this weapon formed against us can invoke a terror just as strong as any physical threat can do. This lie is our persecution! The more we believe it, the more independent from God we become as we fruitlessly try to hold our fear in check.

If we truly believe at our very depths, that His heart toward us is good, we would not be as easily swayed. Yet here we are. Some of us knee deep, others up to their necks. All because we don't really trust Him.

To face that which we fear the most? Those who choose to trust Him with that are the ones who truly discover just how big He is...as they watch their fear wash away like rainwater down a drain. I have only begun to taste this life absent from fear. I assure you, I ain't going back!

p

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Failed Commission


Most Christians who have been raised in an institutional church setting have heard the words of Jesus, recorded by Mark, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation," numerous times. It is interesting to me that this "great commission" is hung over doorways and preached regularly, usually with a healthy dose of guilt and performance-based unction.

On the other hand, the actions described immediately following this verse, including healing the sick, drinking poison, casting out demons, and picking up snakes are normally preached in a slightly different light. Since everybody knows we can't manufacture a bonafide healing or drink poison and survive unless the Spirit of God is actively involved in the process, we are taught that we must rely on Him for these miracles to take place.

Without over-simplifying the concepts here, I wonder if we could just ponder the idea that we can no more raise the dead in our own strength than we can "make a disciple" in our own strength. I think we understand intellectually the idea that it is Father who draws men unto Himself, however I believe we have been convinced throughout our lives that it is up to us to convert people and to then lead them to become disciples.

Driving into my daughters' gymnastics class last night, I found myself dreading having to enter into another conversation about God with the onlooking parents. I realized this false belief was still deep-seeded in my heart. I have been taught by the institution that I am the one who must try to "witness" and convert the unbelievers. I might as well have been given a belt and a belt-notcher. Then He reminded me that this actually wasn't up to me at all; that it is up to Him. All I am doing is making myself available for Him to work through me. This realization is so freeing, isn't it? It really is not up to us at all.

I can't help but wonder if one of the reasons we see so few attesting miracles in our society is that we start out all wrong. Without an honest reliance upon the Holy Spirit from the get-go, I think we have already started out on the wrong path. We then try, in our flesh, to manufacture "faith" so that we can see the miracles that we have determined would best fit our circumstances. This is independent thinking. Perhaps we should ask Him to cleanse us from this mindset and to remind us of the treasure we carry in these jars of clay.
J.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Running the Race

Last night, a group of us were sharing, among other things, about the concept of running this race in such a way that we might win the prize, not looking to the left or the right.

Sometimes this "looking to the left or the right" can be when we compare ourselves to others, criticize one another, or constantly compete with one another. I believe equally as detrimental is when we look to the right and to the left for our salvation. This message seems to have been capitalized, emphasized, and screamed LOUD in our ears throughout this season of faith!

Our help comes from only One (look at Psalm 121.) He desires to use those around us but His influence, direction, protection, and purpose are not dependent upon fallible humans around us! He is the faithful One Who will not fail us. According to Paul's words to the Ephesians (chapter 4), it is as we are unified in our faith in the One who is the Head of the Church that we become transformed into His likeness. Eyes set like flint on the Truth. No looking for a more tangible, seemingly easier way. No more compromise! Following hard after the One who follows even harder after us.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Prayer & Responsibility


We wanted to post a response in relation to the dozens and dozens of emails that are being currently circulated on some of the following topics. This post is not a response to any individual or intended to offend in any way! Please read with an open heart and ask Father to show you any truth He may have for you here.

These days, the Internet is streaming with urgent pleas from Christians far and wide, urging us all to come together and intercede for the land before the enemy takes over completely and we are all destroyed. We are bombarded with information from any number of sources, all of which is designed to put fear in our hearts and, for lack of a better word, manipulate us into prayer.

How is this any different from the religious institutions from which so many of us have been called away? Some of the main tactics used in the institutional religious setting are fear, shame management, and emotional manipulation. And yet Jesus is showing us in this pilgrim-trail that there is a better way. His way. Do we believe that He can speak to His children and draw them into prayer for His purposes without our help?

We serve a God who is not on an equal playing field with Satan or his principalities. While the enemy is certainly powerful and always up to no good, he is and will always remain limited. Yahweh, on the other hand, is unlimited. Although He at times limits Himself, He is not limited by us and He is certainly not limited by Satan.

Are we called to intercession and prayer? Absolutely! “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

While coming together is encouraged in the new testament scriptures, I have found that the emphasis is far more on sharing life together, so that we can encourage one another, edify one another, and even remind one another of the calling with which we have been called. This has to do with everyday, living, breathing LIFE as the living Body of Christ Jesus.

I believe we are in an era where we will be responsive rather than responsible, expectant rather than trying to live up to the expectations of others. Our God is so much bigger than what we have ever realized. As our sister Beth Moore says, “the lion of Judah cannot be tamed!”

So the question is, what is He asking you to do? False responsibility, as I have learned through painful lessons, is, after all, idolatry at it’s finest. - J

Praying Afraid?


Fear. This is the word that I have begun using as a God-led, self-diagnosis for everything that I do. It is remarkable to discover the extent in which that word motivates my daily actions. I had no idea…until the Holy Spirit had me pay attention. I am not necessarily talking about “obvious” fear. The kind that is so blatant that the demonic is not even bothering to disguise itself. It is the more under-the-surface fear that has a longer-lasting, more devastating effect…because I don’t even see its ugly face.

I think, simply put, that fear is the opposite of faith. Think about it? If we fear something, is it not simply because we are not trusting that God is who He says He is in that area of our lives? I really believe it to be that simple. We believe Him, or we believe the lie that makes us afraid.

This little self-diagnostic is quite simple. I ask a question. “Am I doing this/thinking this because I am in fear?” If we are really honest with ourselves, we always know when we are acting out of fear. God is very quick to reveal those hidden places. I guess we first need to ask ourselves just how honest we want to be?

If we are not paying attention, we can be doing the most natural things, and be operating in fear. In fact, we can be doing the most “spiritual” things…fearfully.

We can be praying in fear.

Every now and then I catch a glimpse of “a call to prayer” that has the feel of Lassie running into the town barking madly because Timmy has fallen into a well. Try as I might, I just can’t bring myself to imagine God in such a panic. Does He call us to pray? Of course He does. But I believe the self-diagnostic works just as well here. Is there a sense of fear in the call?

I am forced to think that something is “off” when the church is summoned to pray immediately or else some great evil will befall us. If it is the Father, then a summons to pray will always have his divine calm attached to it, even if the call is a serious one. That is just the way He works.

We are called to be people of prayer, but that prayer is to exemplify the intimacy he desires with us above all other things. In that place, He can direct us to pray to stop any calamity the devil can throw at us, and the spirit of the prayer will be entirely different. Resting in His peace, our prayers become powerful.

paul

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Last Camp & The Summit


The following is a vision the Lord gave me many years ago that He has added more revelation to year after year. I feel the time has come to write it down.

I was on one of my frequent forest walks with the Lord when He opened up what can only be described as a "movie screen" before me. He showed me the base of a very large mountain where I noticed a camp. A number of tents, supplies, and people milling about. He then began to move the scene upward, where I noticed a number of other camps situated on plateaus along the way. Each camp had a small number of tents. I was reminded of Rick Joyner's vision in "The Final Quest" which also involved different "stages" on a mountain trek. I asked the Lord what the camps were, and He said, "these camps represent the various seasons I will take my sons and daughters through as they journey with me". I then asked Him what was at the summit, and He replied, "the summit of this mountain represents where I desire ALL of my sons and daughters to be." Seemed pretty straightforward. "Show me the summit?" I requested. "Not yet," He said, "First, I want to show you the last camp before the summit."

The scene moved up the rocky face of the mountain, all the while showing only a close up view of the small camps as they appeared and disappeared from view. "We are here," the Lord said. Suddenly the scene panned back dramatically to reveal the entire upper portion of the mountain. What I saw was not another camp made up of a few random tents. What I saw could only be described as New York City!

A huge metropolis built into the sides of the cliffs with the peak of the mountain emerging out of the center like a jagged skyscraper. Millions upon millions of people living, working, and going about their lives. "What am I seeing?" I asked the Lord. "The summit," He began, "may be where I desire to bring my children, but this last camp is where the vast majority of my sons and daughters stop!" I was confused at His words. "Why do they stop?" I asked. I felt the heaviness of His answer before they left His mouth. "They stop, because the last path to the summit, is where I take everything else! Their journey with Me thus far has brought life, truth, and undeniable fruit, but this last climb is where I remove every hidden thing. The very roots of all personal ambition, pride, intellectual security and false beliefs. But most importantly, on this path I remove all fear."

"Why do they not take that path?" I inquired. Instantly, I was flown from the skyward view of the city into the bustling streets and wayward busyness. I was taken right into the heart of the metropolis where the mountain rock became visible. It was a dark, foreboding place with a deep fog coming off the cold mountain rock. I noticed through the subdued light, what appeared to be a door set right into the rock face. A more menacing door I could not imagine. It was made from thick, wooden timbers, with black hinges that looked older than time. I felt compelled to open the door despite the deep desire to run as far from it as possible. The hinges popped and creaked violently as I pulled the ancient gate open and peered inside. I saw what appeared to be a dirt path between two rock walls that faded into a wall of green. It did not appear unwelcoming, until I noticed the thorns! The wall of green was a briar patch!

"Well, it's obvious why nobody wants to take that path" I thought to myself. "And yet I call all who wish to follow me to it." The Lord replied, answering my thoughts. "While it is true that this path will bring pain, those who choose it for my sake will never regret their choice at the end of it. No flesh can glory in my sight. This you know. This is the path that will tear that flesh away. Will you go?" Somehow, in the gripping fear of the moment, I knew I could trust Him. I said yes. My spirit then lead my flesh through the ancient door and onto the path...kicking and screaming.

The pain of the briar patch was very real! On this path I felt every part of me exposed. The flesh being torn off my body representing such intense fear. Fear I had no idea I even carried. Fear that kept me safe in my own prison. Fear that kept me from Him. Every known or unknown issue in my life seemed to come back to being afraid. In some way, shape, or form, fear was riddled through me, and these thorns were performing surgery.

I remember thinking to myself that there had better be one huge party at the summit of this mountain, should I make it! I wanted dancing angels, trumpet blasts, singing choirs, and a loud booming voice saying "this is my son, in whom I am well pleased!" I figured that would certainly be my reward.

After what seemed like an eternity, and with my body torn and battered, I could see the path open up. One last push up the rock face. One last patch of thorns. Let the celebration begin!

I lifted my body onto the flat rock of the summit. The rock red from my wounds. I managed to stand. I stumbled to the center of the rock table and looked around. No angels. No trumpets. No choirs. No booming voice. Just the soft whispering of a summer breeze, and a greater peace than I could have ever imagined. Men dream of living with the absence of internal fear. I doubt it could feel any better than at that moment. It was then that I heard Him. "Come to the edge of the cliff." said the Lord. As I walked over I realized I was suddenly full of strength. I looked down at my arms. Where the wounds were gaping, there were now only scars, but the scars remained.

I stood at the cliff edge and looked down. Below me was the city, sprawling and dramatic. Full of my brothers and sisters. The Lord directed my eyes to an alley in the city, close to the mountain. I could see three men there, though at a great distance. To my surprise, they were all looking up at me! They were angry and very animated. I could hear them. I was the target of their anger. "Who do you think you are?" they shouted. "You are so self-righteous, but we know who you really are. We know what you have done." Their words were very accusatory, judgmental and critical. I stood at the cliff edge shocked! I have carried a great inability to be able to handle accusations from other Christians, having been repeatedly hurt. Historically, attacks of that nature would reduce me to a fetal position. That, however, was not why I was shocked. What was eye-opening about that moment was the fact that I did not feel hurt. Not at all. I looked down at these three men with what seemed like eagle's eyes. I saw past their angry faces, their accusing words, and right into their hearts. I saw their damage! My emotions were of intense love and compassion, and absolutely nothing else! It was the most liberating moment I had ever experienced.

"On this summit," the Lord spoke, "you will see as I see. You will feel as I feel. The scars you carry from the briar patch give you my gift of compassion, heavenly wisdom, and love that surpasses understanding. Those who come here will become my most trusted vessels. They will be men and women who have not loved their lives unto death. They will be the broken jars of clay that I can pour My spirit through in this hour. They will be my chosen ones. I have called many to join me here, but few have come. For many are called, but few are chosen."

I have spent the years since the Lord showed me this on the thorny path. It has been painful. It has been revelatory. The more my fear is torn from me, the more my spirit lives. I regret not a single moment of that choice. The clearing is just ahead...

paul

Monday, February 9, 2009

Accountability?

There has been a lot of talk about the "A" word lately. Brothers and sisters who are in support of the concept are very enthusiastic, largely because forming accountability groups or making themselves accountable to a few trusted fellow Christians has shown real fruit in their lives. They have been able to experience degrees of victory over different areas of temptation that, in some cases, had had control over them for years.

Those opposed to the idea of accountability within the Body are equally strong in their standpoint that accountability is more like control and a superficial solution to a deeper problem. My good friend David put it this way: "Accountability is like a prison. Sure it keeps you from sinning but it doesn't solve the problem in your heart."

Could it be that some of us would be better off to royally mess up and have our hearts exposed and healed than to keep everything in check our whole lives by a valiant effort of our flesh? Can God be trusted to keep us from temptation that is too great for us?

On the other hand, I wonder if sometimes prison is necessary for us when we find ourselves exuding behaviour that is causing unnecessary pain to ourselves or others. I suppose then the question would be, how effective is the rehabilitation process? It is not enough to lock ourselves up and throw away the key. In that place of being supported by brothers and sisters whose primary objective is to love and not to control, are we playing an active role in praying for one another and truly bearing one another's burdens to the point that we are committed to walking arm-in-arm, through thick and thin, until the victory has been had? Have we created a model for a "good Christian" that shames anyone who doesn't measure up and excludes anyone with an honest struggle from being viewed on an equal playing field?

Perhaps the invitation is not so much to "accountability" to one another but rather real, honest relationship. Where we relate to one another in our daily lives, without pretention, confessing our sins to one another and bearing one another's burdens. Fighting for one another and along side one another as we move corporately toward the only One to Whom we most certainly will give an account one day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Of Gold and Fishes

Did anyone ever notice that little story in the book of Matthew, chapter 17, where Jesus and Peter have a dialogue regarding the problem of the tax-collectors who are about to come looking for money? Jesus sends Peter fishing, telling him the first fish he catches will have enough money to cover both of their taxes, resting in its mouth.

I've always found encouragement in that story, in that there is the knowledge that God can provide for us even from the most unlikely sources. We just have to trust Him.

A little while ago, He brought this story to mind again. This time, we went a little deeper. Stressed out about money and bills and people who needed money to pay their bills, I asked Him to show me how to pray. He said, "go fishing." I knew he was referring to the Jesus-Peter-fish story. But at first I wasn't exactly sure how to relate this advice to our current situation.

He asked, "what did Peter do for a living?"
"Well, Lord, He was a fisherman."
"Yes. A fisherman. A seasoned fisherman. Catching fish was one of the few things he knew really well."
"Okay. I think I'm getting this . . ."
"Just do what you know to do, child. Do what is in front of you to do. Be faithful, and not anxious, in your everyday tasks. In the profession I have placed you in."

And then there came the kicker.

"If you will be faithful with what I have given you to do, and choose to 'only believe', you WILL see my glory. There is a time coming and is at hand where My people will reap generous rewards from the work of their hands, when they have chosen to move forward in obedience and faith. The return from their labour will be MUCH GREATER than what it is worth in the natural realm, just as the coin in the fish's mouth was much more valuable than the fish itself."

Well, that seemed easy. Choose to believe and then do what I know to do, in obedience to Him.

The next day, He pointed out something else about this fishing excursion. Peter was used to fishing. He was used to having to catch a substantial number of fish in order to make a decent living. And yet, in this story, Jesus says, "the first fish you catch." It was not going to be difficult for Peter to catch that fish. One fish! I believe the LORD is showing us that we do not need to strive or be anxious about our work, as though we have to do our part in earning His favour. I believe He is showing us that we need only believe in Him and His great love for us. He is the One who will provide ALL THINGS. We must only believe and be obedient to what He has called us to do!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Waiting for God

You know, the Apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter, "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." I believe he was referring to the promise of Christ's return here but I was thinking He is speaking about the character of God and how He is always patient with us and for us.

Sometimes it seems as though He has waited for too long to answer our prayers or even to fulfill His promises to us. And yet He is not slow about His promise. He is patient ~ He's actually holding back on those promises because of His patience. He allows time for repentance ~ time for us to turn from the things that are not of Him. Time for us to come in line with His purposes so that we will not miss out on the fullness of the fulfillment of those promises!

Just think of the sorrow of loss we would experience if He came with the answers and the promises and we were not ready to fully receive them! Our desperation for comfort does not mean we are ready to receive HIM!! We could very well be sitting in the muck and mire of our self-serving lives watching His promises pass us by because our hearts are hard and unable to receive Him. The answers to our prayers are multi-faceted, always taking into account the lives that are effected by our own. He carefully weaves the tapestry of redemption, always keeping in view the precious ones around us. He patiently waits for them, as He patiently waits for us . . .

Papa, bring my heart to total surrender. Let me have the gift of repentance. Cover me with Your blood of atonement. Make my heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Make me ready to receive and walk in the fullness of your promises and in the light of the revelation of the GLORIOUS Son of God!