Fri, May 28th - 10:51AM
The Springs of Obedience
springs from love, not duty. Obedience
that springs from duty is the obligation of slaves. It is for each of us to judge which of
the two motivates our obedience, but bear this in mind – we will naturally
obey that which we love (John 14:21). And in those three sentences the Lord answered my prayer this morning:
“Lord, speak to me”, and He did so almost before I prayed.
In a side
note, I think the Lord often speaks to us, but he does so before we expect it,
and therefore we are not yet ready to hear. We all know people, who because of their mental makeup and
background, never seem to hear anything said directly to them, the first time
it’s said. It is frustrating, and
I’ve often wondered if we should preface everything we say to them with, “Are
you ready to listen?” I have to
confess, I’m most often this way with God, and I wonder how often He speaks to
me before I hear Him. I’m thankful
that He’s patient.
love Jesus, we keep His commands. Keeping commands in order to love Him, or to show that we love Him is
backwards, and is like becoming pregnant to keep a marriage together – it’s
just backwards, and doesn’t work. And it doesn’t work because the child is a child of duty, not love. Being backwards from God is the earmark
of “Man’s wisdom.”
obedience is explained in John 14:21 (above), and is further explained by Jesus
in John 15:10 - ‘If you
keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My
Father’s commandments and abide in His love.’
15:14-17, Jesus goes on to explain that obedience from love equals friendship
with God, and in verse 16 He says that if this is the case, the Father will
grant us whatever we ask. All of this chapter in John, from verse 1 through 17
is describing an upward spiral – and it is entirely conditional on the “If’s”.
I mentioned in
the opening paragraph that obedience from duty is the obligation of
slaves. Jesus mentions this in the
oblique in John 15:15, when He says that a slave doesn’t know what his master
is doing. That’s because the slave
doesn’t need to know, and indeed, has no right to know. Dutiful obedience is the end of the
line for slaves, and their total function is perfected in dutiful obedience to
calls us “friends”, which in biblical times meant a lot more than being
friendly. “Friend” in biblical
times referred to an existing covenant relationship, and usually meant that
both would willingly die for each other, as seen in the relationship between
David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18:1.
And so, in
essence, we are covenant friends with Jesus and His Father (and the Holy
Spirit), if we obey out of love. We are still slaves, hoping to be friends, if we obey out of duty.
In my opinion,
it must be grievous to God that so many of His family are still stuck in slavery.
He died for so
Thu, May 27th - 11:22AM
God is raising
up a generation of warriors at this time. I am commissioned a warrior and a recruiter. While that last statement may seem arrogant to some, I only
say it as a statement of fact; it is not something I’ve chosen for myself. As such, I am commissioned by God to
have the authority to talk about mindset. Many reading these words will know that I am talking directly to
you. Although the words come
through me, they do not come from me, and if they are for you, pay attention.
As with Gideon’s
army, God’s army has always depended on those He set aside and called to the
fight. As with Gideon’s army, God
is not interested in how many serve, or how hard they “work” – rather, He is
raising up those desperate to hear from Him, and 100% committed to
unwavering loyalty and obedience.
Read in Judges
7:5-8, where God decreased Gideon’s men from an already anemic 10,000 troops to
only 300. Do you see where He only
chose those who brought the water to their mouths while reserving their vision for
God? Just so, the army of warriors
God is now raising up are those who will feed from the water of God’s word, but
only as they keep their eyes on His face. He alone will provide the water, but only they will determine their
focus. It is the only
winning combination in this battle, anything else will result in loss.
told me, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight that matters; what matters
is the size of the fight in the dog.” Gideon’s 300 men trusted their very lives to the God they represented,
and I’m sure each one of them fully realized that without God, they were soon
to be dead men, irrespective of their loyalty and dedication. And that is mindset.
Many want to
leave the uplifting spiritual conferences and hit the streets running with the
name of Jesus, but those that burn the hottest, the soonest, usually burn
out. Look for them a few years
later – where are they? They
burned out because they entered the army without any intention of going through
basic training. They wanted the
combat ribbons without the mature, combat mindset. Basic training is wholly and completely the responsibility
of the Holy Spirit – bypass Him to your peril.
“Timing is everything”, to God’s warriors, ‘Our times are in Your hand’ – at
all times. We do not take orders
from any source other than our Commander in Chief. To even entertain any other source only empowers our enemy
while weakening us. Every shadow
occurs as a result to a blockage of the Light.
In this army,
some are issued swords and stationed at the front lines, while others are
assigned to the mess hall, or quartermaster’s Quonset. As King David decreed, (1 Samuel 30:9-24),
those who watch the baggage share equally in the spoils; the point was, and is,
they were all assigned tasks according to their abilities, and no task took
precedence over any other. We
cannot afford to look down our spiritual noses at those who stay home and pray
in support, but neither can we ally ourselves with those who turn back from the
fight. We cannot sacrifice our
mindset for the comfort of others, because God is in charge of ‘renewing our
minds’, and bad mindsets corrupt good ones.
If you hear
the call of God in this message, accept without reservation your
commission. Also, accept the basic
training, administered by the Holy Spirit in these tense and perilous
times. Realize also, that the Holy
Spirit will alone determine the battles you will fight, and the ones you will sit
out while in active support. Everyone called has a part to play, and each part is vital.
your right hands and throw your life away – to gain His.
Tue, May 18th - 12:26PM
8:10b, the Bible records these words: ‘Do not be grieved, for the joy of the
LORD is your strength.’ (NASB).
I’m not sure
how it happened, but I always interpreted this verse to mean that I became
spiritually stronger when I was joyful. Therefore, it followed that I was to put on a smiley face in
all situations. In retrospect, I
wonder if that’s honest. Aren't
there some days the clouds cover us and everything looks dark? Am I honest when I plaster on a smiley
face then? Frankly, I think it’s a
dishonest denial of the facts, and unnecessary.
I just got off
the phone with a close friend of mine who called because her life began to
unravel yesterday. By the time she
called me, her future looked dark, and the devil was whispering thoughts of
fear and recrimination into her head. She saw a possible pathway, but there was an element of deception
involved in it, so she rejected that way – but now what? We mutually decided she should honor
God by being totally truthful, and trust Him to put her life back
together. It was not an easy
decision for her, and would potentially subject her to more breakage prior to
some words in the above quoted scripture. The truth exposed in this verse has nothing to do with my denial of
reality by smiling through bad times. Instead, it means that when God is joyful, He will make me strong
with His strength. And in the
darkest of times, isn't that the kind of strength we need – His?
anyone can praise God from the mountaintops, standing in the sunshine and
soaking in the perfection – everyone’s a winner when there is no contest, but
only a true child of God can stand in the dark, dangerous shadows, reject
Satan’s whispers, and then purposely choose the course that will make
God joyful. That’s when trust
matters; that’s when praise sounds the sweetest to God. These are the expensive lessons, and
they are the lessons that matter the most. These are the times that require nothing less than faith.
says, ‘..the conviction of things not seen.’ It remains impossible for any of us to have real faith
unless we know the will of God in the situation. That’s substantially and critically different from hoping
His will coincides with ours – and only faith pleases God.
So in essence,
my friend chose to honor God by following the hardest, most dangerous looking
course. And she chose it not
because there weren't other options; she chose it precisely because it honored
Him. And I have to say, choosing
God’s way may not look sensible to the world, or even to us, but it makes Him
It may be
temporarily difficult for my friend to see, but it is her great honor today to
be able to honor the God of creation with her choice. And even if her choice results in more wreckage, I can
testify to this:
Never has God’s beauty been easier to see than when it reflects from the lives of His family, but those reflections are easiest to observe in contrast to darkness.
Fri, May 14th - 11:49AM
The Sound of Music
If I were to
strike a piano note, I have no doubt the instrument would uniformly and
accurately sound the requested note. You and I would be able to agree we heard the same note, and both of us
could identify what we heard by name. But would your ears hear exactly what my ears heard? I don't think so. And it’s just a guess, but I bet if we
could switch ears for a repeated sounding, each of us would probably be amazed
how different the same note sounded.
In the same
way, none of us really has any idea what God hears when we interact with
Him. Does He only hear our
audible, spoken words? No, because
He also hears our thoughts and the intent of our hearts, but what do those
sound like? They’re inaudible to
us, but He hears them.
For the last
few days I’ve been thinking of Psalm 22:3, where it says in the King James
Version, ‘But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of
Israel.’ In the New American
Standard Version it reads, ‘Yet You are holy, O You Who are enthroned
upon the praises of Israel.’
The word for
“inhabitest” and “enthroned” is the Hebrew YASHAB, and among other various
meanings in Strong’s, denotes ‘to dwell; have one’s abode; to remain or
is, what do our praises sound like to God? I think we are allowed a little margin for supposition, and
within that margin I would propose that to God, our praises sound like
music. And why not? In Revelation 5:8, the prayers of the
saints are called ‘incense’. I
think our praises affect all of God’s senses.
God is an
intimate God. He is much more
intimate with His people than we come close to understanding. We make a big deal over how He wants to
be included in our every day lives, but I think that’s a far cry from How
“included” He wants to be – and already is.
In faith, His
very blood flows in our veins, how intimate is that?! When you are “born” of someone, you necessarily share their
blood, and we have become “born again”; born of His Spirit. Compared with that intimacy, our
human-to-human intimacy pales, almost to the point of coldness.
It does not
matter at all how well we can sing, and while many of us can’t carry a tune in
a bucket, it sounds good to God’s ears. We fill our homes, our cars and our workplaces with music – so does He. That’s really where we got the idea in the first place. You didn’t think Heaven was quiet, did
adores the praises of His people. He likes them so much He decided to live in them, and be enthroned upon
them. He purposely gave us the
freedom to praise Him no matter what our circumstances – it’s not about us –
it’s about Him, and He is always worthy.
You may not be
able to sing well enough to please other people, but when you praise God, it’s
the sound of music to His ears.
Wed, May 12th - 4:48PM
left my church; today I’m a pariah, and I suppose I’m writing this to relieve
the pain. I don't know how I
didn’t foresee the turmoil and personal cost my decision would create, and the
backlash I would experience, but I’m blaming only myself. As usual, I probably should have found
a better way to deal with the church issue. I really don't know if there was a better way to deal with
the issue – maybe. I’m usually
most blind when I think I see most clearly.
must feel like I rejected them personally, and nothing could be farther from
the truth – but I am helpless to fix it now. In the past, I’ve received advice from people who advocated
crawling to those we have wronged and tearfully begging; I’m not very good at
that, and frankly, the whole idea leaves me with a bad taste. It’s the same taste I’d get in my soul
when my dad would lose his temper while giving me a well deserved
told me that any parent who loses their temper while swinging a belt at a
child’s rear end has slipped over a line marked Discipline on one side, and
Child Abuse on the other, but I’m not sure that’s correct. Probably a better definition of abuse
is when a parent uses violence as a means to self-gratify themselves in some
sick, perverted way.
deserved the whippings – no child ever earned them better, but I hated them
most because I knew my dad would sneak sheepishly up to my room afterwards and
apologize. I can't begin to explain how much that destroyed my respect for
him. Right or wrong, I never loved
my dad less than when he crawled sheepishly back to me after giving me a
whipping I deserved.
In the matter
of my leaving my church, perhaps I filtered out God’s guidance and only
believed what parts of it I was pre-disposed to hear; perhaps I heard validly
from God and He asked me to walk a tough road, but the “Die was cast” when I
hit the send button on my email yesterday, and history is not to be reversed.
So today I’ve
been beating myself up after a long night of doing the same. Did I do the right thing? Was my decision made at God’s
direction? Will I ever know? I know my friends will forgive me, but
will they ever trust me again? Probably not.
Last night as
I prayed into a vacant heaven, I realized that all I’ve ever wanted in my whole,
entire life is more of Jesus Christ, Himself. And I ended what seemed like a fruitless session of one-way
prayer by begging Him for a much more intimate relationship.
Everything I’ve ever wanted, everything
I’ve ever needed, the only reason my life has any value or reason for being,
has been to acquire more of Him. Not His benefits, not His wisdom, not His gifts, not His understanding
or any others of His perfections – just simply HIM. Everything resides IN HIM. It’s not complex. But since this relationship is a two-way street, and He also has perfect
free will, will He let me in? That
question torments me, but even as it does, I’m banking my life on it. What other choice do I have?
put myself on a moving train headed into an unknown future. I bought the ticket, I boarded the
train and there is no way off. I
am on for the duration of the ride. Perhaps I was the only one who didn’t know the train was moving? But it was moving, and it’s too late
now to recall it back to the station. And I’ll miss my friends. I
loved them, and didn’t want to leave them. That was never my intention. But they had no interest in getting on the same train, and
today I fear we are far apart, and getting farther apart hour by hour.
I can't begin
to describe how lonely it is on this train. Lonely and frightening. My only hope, the only comforting thing I cling to, is that
Jesus is the conductor, or if He wasn’t when I boarded it, maybe He is
now. And in a miniscule way, I
understand Jesus’ cry from the cross, but there is one notable difference: years before I was born, Jesus promised
not to leave me or forsake me.
staking my life on it being a vital difference.
Wed, May 12th - 11:09AM
world at this moment, groups of Christians are praying fervently for
revival. As a citizen of the
United States, a country broken and breaking daily, I can't think of a time in
my life when revival has been more needed, in fact necessary, than right
now. I’m writing this today
because I believe God wants to send revival, and I think He will – but we need
the key to unlock His power.
with our conviction that a mighty revival is needed is the frustrating, even
haunting fear that we need a key of some kind to unleash it. What is that key?
typically evangelical Christians, the key is more and more prayer. Don't we just love to work at it? Across the country, indeed the globe,
groups are hard at work bombarding the Throne Room with their cries for powerful
revival. We repent and repent
again, and resume the arduous task of intercession, but somewhere deep inside
we hit a snag…we need the key.
not praying aright; perhaps we need to re-read Malachi and quit ‘robbing God’,
but even as this traditional message is once again preached, we still hit the same
snag. Where, oh where is revival? Doesn’t God hear our prayers?
God told me in simple terms, I’ll pass it on…the key isn't an “it”, it is a
“Him”; the key to unlock the flood of God’s blessings has never changed – but
unfortunately, we have. As someone
once observed, “If you feel far away from God, who moved?” The key is: THE HOLY SPIRIT (in Person).
Most of us
know about the Holy Spirit, and pay Him recognition in our congregations when
we blithely repeat the phrase, “Father, Son and Holy Ghost”, but then we go on
to preach, teach and focus on the Father and Son (nothing wrong yet), but we
shortchange the Holy Ghost.
been ignorantly ignorant of Him, or perhaps our belief systems don't focus on
Him for their own reasons, but the fact remains the same throughout history –
if you want revival, in addition to making yourself ready and willing, praying
and fasting, repenting and focusing on pleasing God, you absolutely MUST purposefully and zealously make
the Holy Spirit welcome; make room for Him; invite Him in – for all revival
comes through Him.
Just as He
moved upon the surface of the waters, and brought life and order out of chaos,
all life, i.e.: revival, comes through Him and by Him – it always has. There is simply no other key, period.
years ago it was my privilege to serve as an usher in several Kathyrn Kuhlman
healing services held in downtown St. Louis. Ms. Kuhlman was a most interesting person. She was flamboyant on stage while maintaining
an aura of incredible humility. At
first, I found her manner irritating, and I had to work past the flamboyant
presentation, but she was genuine.
would come out on stage to a packed house (and packed sidewalks outside) with a
grand wave of her arms. Then she
would just talk. After awhile,
just about the time I would give up on hearing anything said that was significant,
the Holy Spirit would enter the auditorium.
was unmistakable and electrifying! And as He entered, Ms. Kuhlman would stop talking and get very
still. Not a sound could be
heard. Suddenly she would say in
an authoritative voice (much different from her “stage” voice), “Someone right
there is being healed of cancer”, and she would point to a certain place in the
crowd. She was very specific, and
spoke as if she was actually seeing the Holy Spirit doing the work. These declarations went on for quite
awhile, and then just as abruptly, she’d relax and resume her stage presence, “Isn't
He wonderful!!??”, she’d say.
asked Ms. Kuhlman how she did it, and she replied, “I don't do anything,
really. I just invite the Holy
Spirit and talk until He shows up.” And for her, that summed up her entire “ministry”. She didn’t say any more about it. Simple.
THE KEY YOU’VE
BEEN LOOKING FOR IS THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. MAKE HIM WELCOME; INVITE HIM IN, AND YOU’LL GET YOUR
Tue, May 4th - 10:44AM
With all the
different looking architectural structures we see in America, the construction
of most foundations remains pretty much the same. This is because foundations are basic, and most basics don't
change. The shape of the
foundations do change, and influence the top structures considerably, but most
foundations remain rooted in the reality of the ground. To change the
“rootedness” of the foundation would not only influence the shape of the top
structure, but invite disaster, because on this planet only the ground is
fastened down securely.
America’s foundation is rooted in the God of the Bible, and because of the firm
footing provided by this foundation, we traditionally have been able to offer asylum
to different peoples from all over the world – on one condition – that they
accept, and adhere to certain basic principles that spring from our
foundation. No one is demanding
they worship the Christian God in order to become Americans, but there is a
requirement to adhere to the underlying principles that come from Him.
borders have become more and more porous because we have allowed holes and erosion
to occur to our spiritual foundation. We have been in the process of denying God for several generations, and
slowly, incrementally, we have uprooted ourselves from our foundation in the
process, casting our nation adrift.
We thought we
could chart our own course, but this arrogance mandated a foundational
change. We wanted to tweak the
upper structures of our society, but as we realized we would have to abandon
our old foundation, we felt the necessity to build back a new in place of the
old; one not based on biblical truth, but instead on secular truth. Today, we are seeing the outworking of
that new foundation. As a nation,
God can only be rejected for so long, and then the effects catch up to the
cause. We are just beginning to
see the effects today. Let me say
that again: this is just the beginning.
problems that are piling up on America nearly every day are upon us because of
our decisions against God, or lack of decisions for Him. We have abandoned our God, and now He
is demonstrating quite clearly through our daily events what the effects of that
abandonment mean, and will continue to mean in our future.
come and gone in history. Once
mighty, unconquerable nations have walked across the stage of history and
fallen off the other side into obscurity. The only way for us to avoid that fall would be to return to our
original foundation that is based on the only eternal life force in the
If we can't
find our way back to our original foundation, there is no political answer for
the problem. There is no fix to be
found within either of our political parties – none. As long as our country is focused on self-determination
without God, there will remain no political solutions.
The answer to
all our national problems is very simple – just hard to accomplish. First, we have to acknowledge we were wrong
to abandon the God who called this country into being; second, we must
genuinely change our minds and consequently our direction (repentance), and
head back in His direction, and third, we must only elect men and women who
will hold to this course no matter what their personal sacrifices.
decisions demand tough people who can maintain clear visions of our true
foundation without being distracted from the course by other alternatives. Do these people still exist in
America? Do they exist anywhere
else? I don't know – most days it
doesn’t seem like they do, but I do know one thing: if we don't fix the basic,
underlying, foundational problems in this country and turn back to the only
real God, the most we can hope for is to become just another poster child for
national obscurity, no different from any other godless nation. This is not a Democratic/Republican,
Liberal/Conservative issue – it is more basic, and more important.
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