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1376

June 30, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 112.1,6

“Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and who find great delight in His commands. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Jesus tells the story of a man who build his house on solid rock so that it would be able to withstand the onslaught of the world’s storms. That man is different than the one who built his house on the sand. While he may love the beach and an ocean view, or a seaview in Jesus’ day, a house of prominence would sink in the sand and be washed away or of unsubstantial nature and blown away in a storm. Of course, Jesus was a carpenter by trade learned at the hand of His earthly father, Joseph of Nazareth. He also spent time in Capernaum by the sea and could relate to the literal housing business. But, Jesus was not speaking of literal houses regardless of His expertise. If that is all the people got out of His teaching on the subject of building on a firm foundation then they did not have ears to hear or eyes to see. Jesus took practical examples and made them spiritually applicable.

The house is, of course, our life. Hopefully we are at home in our earthly house and spiritually strong to support it from the inside out. But, this house is but an earthen vessel in which the Spirit of Truth, the Truth of God, exists for its time. Jesus declared to the disciples as they gazed upon the gleaming stones of the Jerusalem temple, that if that house was taken down it would be rebuilt by Him in three days. He was speaking not of the temple but His own life. It would be rocked by crucifixion but not defeated by death because His life was established on the unshakable foundation of God’s love and truth. It seems then that once the foundation is firmly established building on top of it is a cinch. We have seen where literal foundations are cracked and the house built upon it fractures as well and the home established in the house becomes stressed as well.

But, for the mighty man of God who puts his fear in the Lord and delights in His commands has experienced the building of a firm foundation which cannot be shaken, broken or destroyed. Though the house upon it may experience some earthly trials and tribulations it can and will be built back in no time flat. Not only that but it will become a testimony and witness for the ages to come. That foundation of the mighty man is faith in God with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. The home built upon it is fashioned not with human hands nor is the product of human actions or intentions. It is a home, a spiritual home, a new creation, built in the heavens by the Master Craftsman who is the author and finisher of all creation. His work of salvation makes it possible for the mighty man of God to live an unshakable life her on earth as it will be in Heaven. If we are not tested in Heaven then why should we worry about our time here on earth. Our faithfulness to God becomes the legacy of immutability which God’s love proclaims over all the enemies of faith in God alone. What a blessing it is to put our fear in the Lord and to delight in His Word! It is a foretaste on earth of the glory divine we shall enjoy forever.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will lead God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For respite and protection from the severe heat throughout the south and southeast US
* For our Supreme Court justices who seemed to have surrendered their sacred duty to delight in the command of God and put on the mantel of humanistic accommodation
* For protection of all life from conception in the womb to the moment before the tomb; God’s grace is sufficient and all life belongs to Him
* For the leadership of our nation to submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and quit dealing as with the mind of sinful men
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Eritrea
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for my stepmother and strength for my dad; healing for Lisa body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance; for reconciliation with family for Spencer and an open heart to Jesus; for healing and strengthening in Tom’s back, Holly’s teeth and heart;for LVISD and the changes in leadership which are happening now- may they be led by the Holy Spirit and all blessed with the positions they need to serve; for Mack’s father and grandfather who are both in serious medical conditions that need God’s total healing

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* There is movement in Linda’s healing and we give God all the glory (out of CICU and into rehab) and for the healing that will be taking place in her family!
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered)
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the
future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, strengthen our foundation of faith, hope and love. Make it strong so that what we choose to build for Your glory on earth will inspire others to reach toward heaven. Amen.

1375

June 28, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 112.1,5

“Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and who find great delight in His commands. Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

What does God give the man who has everything? The opportunity to share what he has with others so they may not fear the lack that is in their lives! Jesus certainly proves this point for every mighty man, doesn’t He? Jesus had everything. He is the Son of the Most High God, Creator and Ruler of the Universe. The wealth of heart, mind, soul and spirit belongs to Him. We cannot even begin to imagine how to describe the height, breadth, depth and volume of His worth in earthly terms. Whatever is needed, His Lord has provided. He has no lack of gain. Yet, He was willing to give up all that He had and surrender it to God to follow His heart. He knew that for each of us He measured the value of our lives. How much are we worth? We are so valuable to Jesus that He laid down His life for us, suffered and died on the cross to atone before God as the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek for each of our lifetime sins. We are so valuable to God that He asked His own Son to go into the world and teach us how to live without earthly fear, to have joy in His commands and to walk humbly before the Lord. Jesus believed in what His Father asked that He said He would love to because He loved us. How do we feel about that? Do we feel worthy? Valued? Loved? We may not feel it this way in terms of our earthly lives in the midst of those we may call family, friends and cohorts…but we should! Why? Because in the very “heart” of who we are, in the spirit and soul of our being, we are called worthy, valuable and sons of the Most High God! His promise is for our eternity. His desire is for our spiritual prosperity which will be made known in an abundance of life we cannot fathom nor which can be taken away. (Yes, it can be surrendered in doubt and with a lack of wisdom to keep our fear in the Lord.)

So, look at yourself in the mirror and smile today. You are blessed with the Savior’s love. It is the same love He has for Our Father in Heaven. He knows what it means to live in the midst of Almighty God. He continues to show us what it is like and piques our imagination to consider that “as good as it gets here, it doesn’t compare with what is yet to come.” We have been given the keys to the kingdom and its treasure which belongs to us. If we go to God and ask Him for what is needed on a daily basis then it is promised to us. If we see the need in the lives of others, then we are called to give what we have, what we can and serve them with justice where injustice seems to rule. It takes faith, true. I know I find it difficult myself at times. I do know that when I trust Him and give, then it does come back to me in more than I gave. I just need to embrace the simple truth- I am loved by God who wants me to explore and claim all the blessings of life He has prepared for me. How about you?

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will lead God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For respite and protection from the severe heat throughout the south and southeast US
* For our Supreme Court justices who seemed to have surrendered their sacred duty to delight in the command of God and put on the mantel of humanistic accommodation
* For protection of all life from conception in the womb to the moment before the tomb; God’s grace is sufficient and all life belongs to Him
* For the leadership of our nation to submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and quit dealing as with the mind of sinful men
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Equitorial Guinea
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for my stepmother and strength for my dad; healing for Lisa body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance; for reconciliation with family for Spencer and an open heart to Jesus; for healing and strengthening in Tom’s back, Holly’s teeth and heart;for LVISD and the changes in leadership which are happening now- may they be led by the Holy Spirit and all blessed with the positions they need to serve; for Mack’s father and grandfather who are both in serious medical conditions that need God’s total healing

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* There is movement in Linda’s healing and we give God all the glory (out of CICU and into rehab) and for the healing that will be taking place in her family!
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered)
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the
future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, for all that we have and are about to receive, we pray for the wisdom to use it for the glory of Heaven and the welfare of Your children who are given to us to serve in faith, hope and love. Amen.

1374

June 27, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 112.1,4

“Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and who find great delight in His commands. Even in the darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

The Elder John declared that Jesus is the Light of the World which the darkness could not comprehend nor overcome. He wasn’t talking about Jesus as a supernova whose light endures for billions of light years following its explosion. Although Jesus certainly burst onto the worldly scene with a glory from God that endures for generation after generation beyond even the close of this age. But, Jesus, as the Prophet Isaiah foretold, was a light in the darkness which would lead God’s people out of the fear and defeat which sin settles into human hearts, mind and soul and into the light of His glory and grace. It was not a literal darkness that these mighty men were revealing even though despair does seem to make our days feel darker. No, it was the figurative darkness of which they spoke. The darkness of doubt, ignorance, poverty, sickness, despair, self-centeredness, unrighteousness, damnation and unbridled sin are the realities these mighty men were addressing.

And the light? We know the light is Christ who is the Light of the World just as John described from the opening of his gospel witness to Christ followers and future followers at the turn of his century. Certainly those times were bleak in which Christians were still being persecuted by Rome and by misguided Jews. He himself was the lone surviving disciple/apostle who have walked and ministered with Jesus during His earthly ministry. Death, certainly not a threat to him giving the story of how he survived being boiled in oil, was still an inevitable human consequence. But, that would be illuminated by the glory of God in Jesus Christ which guarded him on earth; lighting his journey of faith throughout Asia Minor, Greece and Rome; and would guide him home to Heaven when the number of his days on earth had been fully counted. The light of Christ is peace, truth and righteousness. When confusion and doubt creep in like wolves in the darkness ready to devour the light of the World, not a worldly light, keeps them at bay. Meaning, purpose, wisdom and knowledge are revealed which strengthen the character of the mighty men of God. In that true light the eyes of faith are opened to see the glory of God at work in them and through them into all their world.

And how does this energizing light become available? Certainly not by harnessing the Energizer Bunny! It comes by putting your fear and trust in the Lord and delighting in all of His commands. How I struggle today on the cusp of what the United States Supreme Court has ruled concerning alternate expressions of a marital relationship and the fiscal accountability that goes with it. Certainly we know that righteousness and faithfulness cannot be legislated for we are set free from the law which binds men to spiritual death. How I wish it could be otherwise; but freewill cannot be consumed. But, by the same token how can we continue to tolerate behaviors and misunderstandings of the truth whose end can serve no everlasting purpose. Yes, marriage is a God-given convention to promote the coming of future generations in order that His manifest glory can be experienced until that time has come to an end. But, this is not what God intended for the purest expression of marriage (any more than He intended for abusive heterosexual relationships to become a common reality). We cannot make laws against lawlessness if there is no spirit of righteousness to put in its place. We cannot fall back into the light and let our surrender to the ways of the world consume the truth and bring the brink of darkness in closer. Thank God, a light has dawned which the darkness will never consume. It burns brightly in the mighty men of God who must now fan the flames of joy in delighting to do God’s will and proclaim His love to all generations. Do not hide your light under a bushel nor keep it behind the closed doors of your prayer closets and worship centers. Expose the truth that you are praying, God-fearing mighty men who bow in willingness to the One True God in the name of His One True Son to serve them and them alone by the power of Their One True Spirit. This is the reality of the blessed man of God and praise God for it!

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, pour in Your light of love, faith and truth into these men of Yours. Purge them of all darkness. Cast their doubts, fears and concerns created by the trials and tribulations proposed by Your enemy into the Fire of Judgment to be consumed because they have no true substance. Refine these men in the Light of Your Word which is truth for all and make them mightier than ever before so that Your Word which is in their heart, filling their mind and proceeding forth from their mouths- indeed out of the very mouth of God shall bring a new dawning of hope into our darkening and weary world. Let the vitality of Your Presence push back the limits offered by the darkness of doubt, confusion and despair until they no longer exist and the glory of Your Name reigns forever and ever. Amen.

1373

June 26, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 112.1,3

“Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and who find great delight in His commands. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Remember Jesus teaching “store up your riches in heaven where neither moth nor rust nor thief can take them from you; for where your treasure is there your heart shall be as well”? Have you thought about how you would actually do that? Is there some heavenly deposit box or vault that we have access to? In actuality there is. It is your heart. The heart of a mighty man is full of the love he has for those things which he treasures most. If his heart is given to Jesus then all that is in his heart is with Him as well. Yes, our material possessions are not there because we should not be measuring the value and worth of our lives by them lest we be consumed by them. That is why, I think, Jesus taught in His sermon on the mount that we should commit our true treasures to heaven where they cannot be consumed. What would our true treasures be?

David declared that the blessed man, God’s mighty man, would have mighty children when he fears the Lord and delights in God’s commands. It stands to reason that those children are mighty when they honor the father who fears the Lord and delight with him in God’s commands. If God’s command is to lay up our treasures in heaven, the wealth and riches in our house, then we need to look no further than the people in our house: spouse, children and those we care for who have been given to us for a time. They are our treasure. We should find delight in them as well. Each generation living there which stands up for God is blessed. What is not blessed cannot survive. What is blessed endures forever. David said the mighty man who fears the Lord will have a righteousness that endures forever. It is because he shares in the blessing of God over his household that his righteousness endures forever. His righteousness is being in proper relationship with God. In the days of David it was obedience to the law which included sacrificial offerings for those times when the people transgressed the law that kept them righteous. It wasn’t the act really but God who maintained their righteousness. As long as they came before God in the right manner with an honest heart, humble mind and a contrite spirit then God would declare them righteous. Sadly, those activities became facades behind which unchanged lives were lived. That happened because they did not truly have the Word only its tradition. They did not treasure it in their own homes. They denied the wealth and riches which were in their houses. They sacrificed their way of life and surrendered their own children to the enemy in order to protect their own way of life.

But, David knew that honoring God with our family and taking delight in following His command to love God and one another at all costs would revive the heart, mind and soul of man before God. He sadly had to learn it the hard way through the death of his first son with Bathsheba. Today, God’s mighty men benefit from the blessing of righteousness which is conferred on us by the blood of Jesus. We no longer have to come to God to offer sacrifices for our sins and failures in this world. Jesus has already done it for us. What we receive instead is God’s affirmation of His love for us when we humbly come before Him in Jesus’ name. When we pray for our family and all those who dwell in our home, we are conferring upon them treasured status. They are our truth wealth and riches. They are the real inheritance passed on to the world with faith, hope and love. As God lives in them and they in God then righteousness is celebrated and no one can take that away. What is given to God cannot be wrestled from our hands nor His!

Being mighty men means being mighty fathers, sons and mentors of this generation and those over which we will have authority in our lifetimes. Anoint each generation daily with prayer and the Word. These are the initial deposits God made into our life’s bank in Heaven and where our treasure is there our heart is as well. If you are looking for heaven, just a glimpse, then take a look at the treasures in your heart and rejoice in how rich you truly are!

Perhaps you are reading this and find your heart is empty because you have surrendered all you have to the ways of the world. It is not too late to call upon your Heavenly Father who wants to invest His treasure in you. He can restore, reunite and make whole again that which has been lost. Come before Him humbly and put your fear in the Lord, delight in His command to believe that Jesus Christ is His Son and your Savior. Surrender what you have to Him and seek His blessing. He is ready and willing to share it with you. Give your heart to Him and He will give you life- eternal and abundant on earth as it is in Heaven.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, take our life and let it be- holy only, all for thee. We treasure You in our hearts with all those who we love. We celebrate now this love which makes all things new and rich and strong and useful for Your Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

1372

June 25, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 112.1-2

“Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and who find great delight in His commands His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

The hope of every mighty man is to have mighty children. It begins with planting the seed of delight in their lives. If the seed of faith, hope and love is planted in the mighty man then the fruit of the spirit will be translated to the following generations. His children will not only be the apple of his eye but that of God’s as well. What a blessing for the mighty man whose fear is well-placed in God. He does not fear the wrath of God but the loss of the joy of God that rises in him when he sees the plan of God in motion. Where he sowed the word of God the mighty oak of spiritual strength takes root. Where he laid the foundation of faith a strong house was built. Where he shouted “prepare the way of the Lord,” his voice echoed in the hearts and minds of others saying “He is the way, the truth and the life.” Good works, good spirit, good fruit and goodness become the legacy of the mighty man whose fear is in the Lord. And the children know it. They may even fear their father’s desire to be fear-filled with God. They may wonder how such a strength could resonate in him when they cannot see the source of that strength. But, the mighty man works out continually exercising his faith by staying rooted in the word, flexing against a strong foundation and running the good race. He sets the table before them with the feast of God’s success worked through him. He gives thanks to God for the opportunity to serve and protect. He is a guardian of his flock and they know him by name just as he knows the Great Shepherd watches over him. His life becomes their own as he anoints them with the delight of following God’s commands. His harvest is their belief and trust in God as they believe and trust in him.

But, mighty men, consider further the additional blessing to those of mighty children. They are a generation that does not lean easily. They are mighty oaks akin to the mighty redwoods in California. Their rootedness in the joy of humility and obedience to God’s will extends far beyond their reach. Most trees have root systems that extend as far as their limbs and branches to create equal support and balance. But, those whose rootedness is in the fear of the Lord find their system of support growing far and wide. Their influence towers and stands stronger because they do not stand alone but with others like them. Their generation stands upright to face the challenges in front of them, behind them and all around them. The result is a blessing which cannot be removed and their generation will be everlasting. What mighty man of God would want less for his children than this? It begins in his fear in the Lord and his desire to delight in God’s commands. His faithfulness and obedience to the charge given to him to make disciples across the earth brings home the truth of his passion for the living God. His joy is in the Lord. His joy is of the Lord. His joy is with the Lord. Who then could overcome him and cast him down? There is none because God cannot defeat the godly who have been created and now recreated in the image of Himself in Christ Jesus. All because he chose to submit his will to that of Almighty God and walk the path of a good and faithful son.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may these mighty men proceed with the confidence of Your Joy. May that joy be complete in them as it works now in the generations who will follow them. May their influence be of faith, hope and love and a glory to You, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

1371

June 24, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 112.1

“Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and who find great delight in His commands.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

I find that most of the world’s troubles arise out of a lack of humility. I know I become vexed just driving down the highway. When I try to ease into traffic invariably there is someone who will not yield enough to let me in. I end up nearly stopping at the end of the entrance ramp only to find that they are exiting within the next half mile. Really? How much easier is it to start slowing down when you know you will have to do it soon anyway? And I love those drivers who are tailgating you as you begin to slow to exit. The extra four seconds they lose they certainly make up for by speeding around me to exit, too. Don’t you admire those drivers who embrace lane diving as if they were feeding from a buffet table? The speed up to gain the inch advantage to make sure you have to slow down to let them pass so they can get in the other lane only to watch them return to the same lane and, yes, exit. I suppose the best is watching those drivers who just want to be first and cannot comprehend why you would maintain even half of the safe distance between you and the car in front of you. I know nature abhors a vacuum but that doesn’t mean you have to fill it with your car and create two unsafe distances. Yield does not seem to be in the human vocabulary on the road or in life. Yet, yield is what God requires of us as His mighty men who embrace humility and delight in the presence of His living Word. Besides, do not the fields ripe for harvest yield their harvest and we pray ten, fifty and a hundredfold?

I doubt David had traffic problems in his day with too many wild chariot drivers or horse riders impatiently battling for the right of way. But, He certainly had to confront the enemies of God and Israel who refused to yield to God’s presence in the very community of Israel. At times, even God’s people forgot what it meant to yield to God and they bowed down to their fear of the enemy instead bringing corruption and devastation to Israel. Even David yielded to his passion for Bathsheba and suffered dire consequences in a lesson hard-learned. All of this to bring you in to the picture so you can say, “Yes, I have been there.”

But, haven’t you been “here,” too? That “here” is where you did find the blessing of “fearing the Lord and finding great delight in His commands.” God’s plan does work. It may not always be the easiest plan. It may require great effort of heart, mind, body and soul to complete. It may require not only effort but sacrifice. It may expose the reality of yielding to faith that God’s way will indeed work and His benefits will be unmatched by anything this world has to offer. David found himself “there,” too. His sang out “Praise the Lord. Blessed ARE those who fear the Lord and delight in His commands.” It really works. It really does. To “fear the Lord” is to yield to Him in all things. Yes, the consequence of not fearing the Lord leads to a disastrous end. Even the momentary success one may experience may be built on the loss of others in your sphere of influence or those caught in the rippling effect through future generations. But, the success of yielding to God in all things actually benefits those around you. They won’t know why something good has happened to them until you “Praise the Lord!” Telling them how yielding to God produce goodness and righteousness leading to a bountiful harvest of spirit, mind, heart and perhaps wordly goods might create in them the desire to “delight in His commands” along with you. No longer do we see the “Law” as a don’t but an invitation to pursue righteousness. We are not bound by a legal “fence me in” but set free to graze green pastures and sip from still waters under His perview. We are relaxed in the “go and do likewise” instead of tensed in the “don’t do that and don’t even think about it.”

Praise the Lord! God’s plan works. But, He already knew that. Do we? Join me over the next several days as we reflect upon Psalm 112 which was reintroduced to me under the message of “Intentional Parenting.” Let’s rejoice in and harvest the benefits of delighting in His commands.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, nothing is sweeter than the taste of the new wine of grace and the bread of Your saving Word. We yield ourselves to You and will seek to delight in Your command over our lives knowing that Your purpose is to do us good. Amen.

1370

June 23, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Jeremiah 29.11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

When we live under the law, the threat of death looms in our background; its noise of chaos distracts others from the truth about our lives. I am talking about man’s laws as well as spiritual law. Man’s laws attempt to reflect the divine pattern of expectation. But, man’s laws become punitive as the only means of gaining compliance and obedience. Obedience, like trust and value, is something that is given not earned. God doesn’t want to earn our trust nor be complied with because of the fear of punishment. God values us by placing His Holy Spirit into our lungs to enliven our physical selves and into our soul to enrich our spiritual self. Because we recognize our empowered value in God we surrender our will to His, we give our trust to Him instead of things (and people who live by objectifying all things including people) and we desire to be obedient to His Word because we see that it doesn’t fail though it may require some longsuffering. Israel became collateral damage to the invading armies of foreign nations who themselves did not see obedience to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David or Solomon as a worthy endeavor and way of life. They trusted in the sword, the shield, riches and the volume of military forces they could compile and push against less equipped nations or cities or people. What they still do not understand is the plan of God to push back!

As God’s mighty men, we cannot fall prey to the call to longsuffering and bearing patiently for the plan of God to be revealed and engaged in our lives as a sign of “it will never happen, at least not in my lifetime.” God’s plan is fully and completely in effect. Since sin came to dwell among humankind the pathway to completion has taken many strange, sometimes wonderful and sometimes tragic, turns including the need for God to send His Son to earth to be sacrificed on our behalf because we, as God’s people, just struggle against this total surrender and total trust- which Christ taught as faith.

God declares that He knows the plans He has for our lives. He speaks of hope and not harm. His plan for our lives is life ultimately culminating in a manifestation of no hunger, no thirst, no sorrow, no sighing, no crying, no dying, no ill-will or animosity and no need to seek forgiveness because there will be no need to forgive what can never happen again. How we pray for that kind of life for ourselves, those we love and hopefully for all others including our enemies which Jesus commanded us to love as well. God does not want to see us harmed, injured, sick and dying. Our God is a God of life, of the living and the eternal. Yet, God sees the hurt and harm among His people and sometimes inflicted on others by His people. If God can shake His head in dismay, He would and is. If God could clear His throat to express caution and awareness, He would and should. If God could obey His plan of freewill and also instanteously change the course of each life so that their end would be one that is favored and blessed, He would. Am I saying there is something that God cannot do? Yes, I am saying God cannot stop being God! If God denies our freewill, the gift which He bestowed on us as His children, then God is no longer the One True God. He would become just like the other iconic figures of history who dabble with limited power and supposed long-term effect but fall pitifully short of their own expectations for greatness including the most fallen one, Satan. So, do not allow yourselves to be disillusioned by the course your life has taken. If there are negatives in the road it is because of the choices you have made to not surrender to the hope which God has planned for you and the consequence is harm. It is also because there are many others who are travelling in the same way though not on the same path. Yet, their trials and tribulations to find the truth of live do cross our own and the collision of those intersecting and sometimes totally opposite intentions results in lessons that must be learned in the hard way. But, do not lose hope. Hope is what God has planned for us.

A prosperous future is also what God has planned for us. It is cliche to declare “no pain, no gain” but sometimes that trite truth speaks volumes as we look across our own lives. How often have we found the true value in a wisdom set aside after we have had to endure the consequences of responding to our own knowledge? Exacting His will over our lives is not always a pleasurable experience. Ask Adam and Eve as they stood outside the guarded gate of the Garden of Eden as it disappeared from their sight. Ask Moses as he stood on the mountain overlooking the entrance to the Promised Land he would not be allowed to enter for his disobedience to God. Ask David who suffered the loss of a son born out of an ill-gotten relationship knowing God believes in justice above judgmentalism. But, God never asks more of us than He Himself is willing to endure. That is why He did not spare His Only Begotten Son from the cross of Calvary. Jesus accepted the ministry of the cross upon His own freewill to satisfy the letter of the Law His people chose in order to gain Heaven. God gave to us exactly what we asked for just as He delivered to His people Saul as king because they trusted more in the ways of other nations more than the prophet-priest of the nation of Israel as God designed and desired. And what shall we do with this gift which we asked for? Shall we not appreciate it regardless of the consequences it requires us to endure for the sake of the gospel following after Jesus as the Christ of our lives? He promised us a mansion in heavens, treasures stored up there over a lifetime far beyond the reach of thieves and robbers who simply want to steal our lives away in any way possible and an eternity to enjoy life with the God who loves us more than life itself. He does not want us to suffer harm and hurt. He does want us to prosper in a hopeful future. For that, in spite of everything this world can do or give, I am willing to surrender myself to the will of God. I never said it was easy and neither did He. But, He did say it wasn’t impossible for those who believe in the God of possibility. Odds are in His favor and in ours.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, for the gift of life lived in the covenant of Your Holy love we are thankful. May we continue to be worthy of the life to which we have been called in Jesus’ name. Amen.

1369

June 21, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Jeremiah 29.11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

When God revealed this prophecy to Jeremiah, the leadership and artisans of Israel had already been taken into Babylonian captivity. There was a date and a place which was common knowledge to the Hebrews and to the Babylonians and to God. God’s prophecy was no secret. I can only imagine the fear of God that must have stood upon the raised pages of reports which made it back to the rulers of Babylon. Sure, it could be ignored when it was year 10, 15, 25, 50 and even 60. But, if God had said when seventy years are completed in Babylon I will be coming to secure your freedom then someone was going to listen and believe. That is part of our problem today, I think. We do not have certain timetables and guidelines to focus on. We ask God for assistance and we feel as if He has said, “Just a minute.” But, if God’s word declared that a thousand years is like a twinkling of an eye then a minute of God’s time would be as a thousand thousand years and more.

But, isn’t that also the joy of knowing that God is fully capable of keeping His promises to us. He knew the plan, the course of action being taken by all the involved parties. Seventy years was a long time but there was more than chronology at work here. Seven is a holy and sacred number. The priests understood God’s creation as seven steps which they determines to be seven day. The farmers knew that four sevens was twenty-eight and that was the number of days it took for the moon to make a complete cycle of phases and became the basis of the Jewish calendar. Jesus answered Peter’s question on forgiveness saying “Forgive seventy times seven if it is what is needed to bring your brother into full reconciliation.” Even the Year of Jubilee was based on seven sets of seven years plus one year to grow on as the full cycle of reconciliation of debts and trespasses to give everyone a new start on life. God was speaking at so many levels of opportunity when He declared to the Hebrews in captivity that when the full seventy years had been completed they would go free. And free they became with financial support from Cyrus the King of Babylon at that time to not only return to Jerusalem but to rebuild it and the temple. God used Babylonian fear of Israel as their motivation to exact discipline on the people of Israel who had forsaken their God. While they took credit, God took the time to rebuild and reestablish His people in the place of righteousness and power. God would be respected and sought out as the protector and provider for those who remained faithful and faith-filled with a desire to be God’s people.

So, mighty men of God, we may not have a date in front of us when we will get that raise or that promotion or that miracle. Even Jesus admitted He had no idea when His return would be and the Church would be justified. But, not knowing when cannot stop us from knowing who! If God says He knows the plans He has for us and our future, then He does. But, He is now known as a God of goodness and grace not laws and timelines. We want to structure our relationship with God so that we are back in control. God wants us to be in relationship with Him and let Him be back in control (because He always was, He needed us to confess it and live it out). God has provided the fulfillment of our spiritual destiny in Christ. Heaven is ours. He only wants us to seek His Kingdom here on earth and let Him take care of the rest of the needs of our lives. I say if our future is in God’s Hands and that He has a plan for our success, we are in better hands than even Allstate can provide.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, it is so hard to just let go of our worries and troubles and trials and let You do Your thing. I don’t know how much easier You can make it than You have when You ask us to just trust You in all things and at all times. We are trying. Thank You for blessing us in these times and for having a plan of goodness and mercy for all of our lives and for all of our life. Amen.

1368

June 20, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Jeremiah 29.11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

This is why mighty men must trust God! What God said concerning Himself in relation to us is not what man always has in mind in their relationships with others. God’s plan is always to cause us to experience prosperity and be protected from harm. He doesn’t promise we will live a life without pain. He promises to share our pain yoking us with His Son who endured far greater pain and showed the fulfillment of God’s victory. Stephen saw the risen Christ sitting at the right hand of God. Saul was blinded by the glory of the risen Lord. We have seen miracles revealed in those whose faith in the risen Lord exceeded anything known by those who had seen the Lord in real life or in His resurrection. This is far different than the plans of many men of the world who push the limit of inflicting pain in order to secure their gain. It will be short-lived but ours will be eternal.

We must trust in the plan God has for us. He prepares us each day. We may not see the plan laid out on the draft table of heaven. We may not see but a few feet of the journey before us each day. But, we do have His Word, His Word made flesh that dwells in us as spirit and truth; His Word is His promise and His bond. As the small sign taped to the old cash register in a small country grocery store said, “In God we trust, all else must pay cash.” Trust in God, let the credit of your life be due to Him and Him alone.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, reveal Your plan for our lives to us. Show us the Christ for He is our way, our truth and our life. Give us more than just a glimpse of the road ahead- where we are to go and what we are to do. We trust and believe in You. Thank You for trusting and believing in us. Amen.

1367

June 19, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Psalm 69.13-16

“But, I pray to you, O Lord, in the time of Your favor; in Your great love, O God, answer me with Your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

How God’s mighty man, David, must have struggled to pen this psalm and pray it for all the world to see. He was not a perfect man, but he was God’s man appointed and anointed to be the King of Israel. He would stumble and fall short of God’s expectations for his success at times. Then there were times when he rose up like a champion and made God’s name a vital reality throughout the land. But, in all times- success or failure, He gave all glory to God and stood honestly before Him.

Here is the lesson, fellow mighty men of God, we must all stand honestly before God at all times. The opinion of man is but a fleeting moment in the eternity of God. We cannot be defeated by it nor can we cast our hopes upon it. It is like a leaf that falls on the streams of life. It is carried downhill and its destination is unknown to it. It floats for a time and then it will sink and become only a part of the earth- the miry deep which David experienced. But, the truth of God is an eternal grace which exists in all time and space. Wherever we are, there is God. He loves us. He cares for us. He sees us. His Word is truth and it matters for our lives. He can and will speak into our lives. His Promise will be a stronghold around us when the enemy presses against us and those whom we love and serve. It will be a canopy of rest over us when the heat of the sun or the cold of night pursues us. It will be our food and drink of righteousness when the fruit of this world will fail. And trust me, mighty men of God, the fruit of this world will fail. Those in whom you trust who feign allegiance to you and God are not different than those who stand defiantly against the will of God. There is no surrender to truth in their lives. Their hope is only to devour and not feed; consume and not produce.

So, in all times and in all ways, stand before God. Stand with Him in all your thoughts and in all your ways. Let Him be your strength and your guide. He alone is the truth of your life and for your life. And when the storms of human will rise up against you know with surety that God’s will alone will survive and overcome. You may see the darkness of life and feel shrouded in its desire to embrace you but the Son always rises. If Jesus had to die a thousand deaths in a thousand days for just you, He would be raised from the dark of death every time. There is no failure in His promise because He never failed to trust in God alone before whom He now stands for eternity by our side. Take strength and hope in this truth. His love and mercy endures forever.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, You are our constant and stay. We trust in You now more than ever. We need you now more than ever. May Your peace reign. Amen.

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