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Monthly Archives: June 2010

I’ve Been Such An Idiot

By now, I hope that I’ve gotten your attention.  You heard me right.  I’ve been an idiot and if that’s not enough, chances are, so have you.  Yes, you’re really going to love me after this….all four of you.  (Thank you by the way.   For coming here.)

Now that I’ve buttered you up, let’s get back to the subject at hand. 

I’m reading a book authored by Craig Groeschel.  (You can find him at www.lifechurch.tv.)  You may or may not have heard of it.  It’s called The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist.    

The simplicity of Ps. Craig’s writing is both inspiring and at the same time gut wrenching.  He cuts to the chase and dives right into the heart of the matter.  Unfortunately, I have found myself to be symptomatic with every chapter that I read but am thankful that as I read, I am being changed.  It’s Divine intervention, this book.  My prayer has been, “Father, don’t leave me this way” and He is more than willing to answer that.  He’ll even use Amazon.com to do it. 

Throughout his writing, Ps. Craig will insert a scripture and then touch on the translation of a word or two.  Rarely does he expound.  It think it’s rather suggestive actually because he leaves it up to us to do that.  To read more into what he has said.  It’s the bait. 

Last night as I was reading on the subject of When You Believe In God But Not In His Church, he mentions that many people don’t attend church because they don’t believe there’s any way God would work through them and their imperfections and using Peter and John for example in Acts 4:13, he makes his point.  “When (the religious leaders) saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that these were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Now, I’ve highlighted the word ordinary because that’s the word that translates in the Greek idiotes, meaning unskilled or untrained.  Look familiar?  Our English word idiot comes from it. 

Peter and John were ordinary men, no different from anyone else, except that they had been with Jesus.  What transformed them from idiot to genius was a willing heart and an open mouth.  “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Now that’s genius! 

I can’t help but be convicted of all the times I’ve been an idiot and I guess the moral of this post is simply this…

Can they see the difference in me?  In us?  God has made us to be anything but ordinary.  Don’t be an idiot!

 

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Built For This

John 5:1-9 

1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 

Now, the pool was called Bethesda.  Bethesda means house of mercy or flowing waters and it had five porches.  It is widely recognized that the number five represents grace and these porches were places of shade, where one could rest from the hot sun. 

Today, I’m not concerned about being theological or bringing definition to every jot and tittle.  But there is one question Father asked me when I read this passage recently and it was simply this.  When was the last time your waters were troubled? 

As I continued to meditate on this, something became clear.  I asked, why could only one be healed at the moving of the waters?  I realized that that pool represents us individually as believers.  We are those waters and each and every day, there are porches of grace that we encounter where they are waiting.  One on one encounters just waiting to happen.  And Grace is holding them there until our waters are troubled.   We are houses of mercy filled with flowing waters.  Mercy in a house made without hands, with waters that are moved to flow and wash over broken people, saving them, delivering them, making them whole. 

That’s me.  That’s you.   Built for this.

 
 

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No More Me and My Shadow

James 1:17 says,“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” 

What are the gifts? 

1 Corinthians 12 gifts… spiritual gifts, tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, working of miracles, gift of healing, faith. 

Ephesians 4 gifts…apostlic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, teaching.

Romans 12 gifts… Prophecy, ministry of helps, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, showing mercy.

I find it interesting that a double emphasis is put on the gift in this passage and even more interesting that there are two words used to describe the gift, that would seemingly hold the same definition.  Good and perfect would seem to be relative to one another, so what’s the difference between a “good” gift and a “perfect” gift?  

Taking a look at the word good, it means, to be of good constitution or nature.  Constitution refers to the physical makeup of an individual, in regard to the appearance of such an individual.  We’re talking about the one who the gift came from, so that constitution would be Father God’s.  And the nature referred to here is very much the same, yet speaks of creative power as well.  The power to act and something interesting is that is speaks of disposition…what is transferred to another.  It is the essentially useful gift.  It’s meant to be put to use.  

When we use the good gift, it’s going to look like Father and what He himself created.  And with it, we create.  In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.  Genesis 1:1  and in verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21 and 25 that God saw that it was good! In fact, when you read it, in it’s original context, the words it was were added.  So it should read, God saw that good! 

You see, after the fall of Adam, what was good was no longer ours.  We had to work for it. The law required it.  But since Jesus, the cross and the resurrection, good has been restored to us through grace. And that word gift is simply another word for grace.  And as we use the gifts or the graces that God has given us, we create again in this earth that is rightfully ours through the blood of Jesus.  We have been restored to the good! 

Now, how about perfect?  There is a perfect gift. Why the distinction?  Well, perfect means to be brought to it’s end, finished, wanting nothing, complete.  To be perfect is not about being “flawless”.  It’s about fulfilling our purpose.  Matching our integrity, moral character and virtue with God’s and doing His will in this earth.  Psalm 37:37 says, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.”   

We also know that the Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus was made perfect in that he became the author of eternal salvation to all that would obey him.   If it was about being flawless, it wouldn’t have applied to Jesus.  It was about becoming His purpose.  

When we use the perfect gift, we become the purpose God created us for. 

And He is the Father of lights.  I find it interesting that the word light translates of truth and it’s knowledge but more than that, it’s the truth and knowledge that is exposed to the view of all, openly and publicly.   

In Him there is no variableness nor is there shadow of turning.  God never turns from His purpose…His perfection.  And if we are to be like Him, perfect as He is perfect, then we must use these gifts and not turn from the truth.  No more me and my shadow.

 

With All My Might!

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life,  and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 

That word might should not be mistaken for a question mark or a maybe.  That’s just where God left it up to us to decide!  It’s our choice to receive it or not!  And each and every day, we are faced with opportunities to determine whether we have it or not.  

I mean really, how many times have you used the word might that way or even heard it used to denote that something is in question…as in “it might be?”  It’s a word that we commonly use when we really don’t know or are uncertain about the state of something.  But in this particular passage, that word might does not represent a question mark, nor does it mean “I don’t know, maybe?”  That word might can defined as express permission.  Reading this passage with that in mind, He came so that we have express permission to have life and express permission to have it more abundantly.  More life than what the need determines. 

Liberty is another word that can be exchanged for might.  To have liberty is to have the power to do as one pleases!   It’s freedom from arbitrary or despotic control. It’s not about whether we deserve it or whether we’ve done everything right today!  It’s not about whether or not someone else sees fit that we have it!  The devils tyranny can’t stop it!   It’s grace.  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  When we believe, the only thing to be said is, “It’s mine!” 

Thief, interestingly enough in this passage, translates differently than I had expected.  It translates, “embezzler”.  To embezzle is to appropriate (as property entrusted to one’s care) fraudulently to one’s own use.   The thief is nothing more than a fraud! One who comes with intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.  He doesn’t work behind the scenes, go behind our backs or even come in unaware.  This thief comes, pleads his cause bending the truth, twisting words, leaving something out, adding to and presenting us with all the ands, ifs or buts, question marks and maybes there are to offer.  And then…if we surrender to it, there he goes with our husbands, wives, kids, houses, cars, bank accounts, etc…using them for himself!  

The stealing, killing, destroying…the blood prevents it all!  It’s better than a dead bolt, a combination, padlocks, keyed entry!   Brinks Home Security (no offense) doesn’t hold  candle to it!   And more than that, it’s our agreement with the blood, that determines what we have.

 

Wrestling with God

Genesis 32:24-26

 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 

This is a very interesting encounter that Jacob had with God.  It says “when he saw that he prevailed not against him”.  God?  Almighty, all powerful God saw that he prevailed not against Jacob?  It wasn’t that God could not prevail or overcome Jacob.  Of course He could.  It’s that He would not prevail against him.  He chose to let Jacob continue as long as he was determined to, to see the outcome that God had promised him. 

Could it be that God was testing Jacob’s desire?  Perhaps this was to build Jacob’s endurance and to prepare him for what was to come.  This was a feat of faith, one that Jacob was determined to win.  What was Jacob wrestling with?  His words had become flesh to him.  If you’ll look back to verse 12, Jacob had received a promise from God and it was in that place that he uttered those words and suddenly they were manifest.  “And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.”  The Word Himself had come at Jacob’s remembrance. 

What might have that wrestling sounded like?  

With every twist… “You uttered My words.  My presence is here, do you understand Who I really Am?  Do you know Who has your life in His hands?” 

With every turn… “If it’s not the way you imagined it, will you still believe Me?  

Who’s will? How will it be?  In My  timing or yours? …the balance shifts.  Agree with Me!

And with every grasp of the hand… Do you believe you will touch it?      

I want God’s promises but when I declare it, am I willing to wrestle with it as it really is?  Am I willing to answer to the wrestling?  Will my will to see it come to pass match God’s will?

 

Dry Spells

In prayer this morning, as we were praying for revival, I began to hear the words dry spells

I understood this to mean that there is witchcraft involved as we seemingly enter into revival and then suddenly, there’s no sign of it whatsoever.  And by witchcraft, I mean, with our own words of doubt and unbelief, we are casting these “dry spells”. 

To be blessed is to be empowered to do something.  All throughout the word, we see that when God blessed, it was to accomplish something in the earth.  The blessing is the empowerment to fulfill the will of God in the earth and in our lives. In the beginning, God blessed Adam & Eve and told them to be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it…having dominion.  

God blessed Abraham as Genesis 24 tells us, in all things!    And if you backtrack a few chapters, God said it was in the seed of Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  The same blessing of empowerment is available to all who believe and to be distributed to all who would believe!

In Genesis 24, a blessing upon Rebekkah caused even her seed to possess the gates of those that hate them.  We are empowered to possess and have authority over the gates of our enemy. 

This “blessing” is exhaustive and I could go on for miles with scripture and references to this but the word says in Number 23:19-21 (Balaam was being asked to curse God’s people.)  “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.”

Let’s insert the word empowered in that passage and now what does it say? 

Behold, I have received commandment to empower: and he has empowered; and I cannot reverse it!

Note that he received the commandment. He accepted that is was his own!

To command is to have at one’s immediate disposal, as in “commands many resources”

He received and accepted having at his immediate disposal the empowerment from God!

It is a command to bless and when we do otherwise by not confessing the word and speaking negatively, we aren’t necessarily cursing ourself but are stopping the flow.  Basically, we deny what’s available to us immediately and the empowerment to bring that thing to pass is at a halt or delayed for a time or even indefinately.   

The word says in Psalm 1 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” 

Empowered to be planted, immovable in the rivers of water.  Empowered to bring forth fruit.  Empowered to not dry up! Empowered to “do” and prosper.

Proverbs 26:2 says, “…so the curse causeless shall not come.” 

In the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth, let there be no cause.  Let them be pleasing unto the Lord!  For it pleases the Lord to bless me!  Let there no longer be a cause!