RSS

Category Archives: Faith

Being Rich Toward God

Luke 12:15-21, And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

It’s important to take inventory of our lives. To examine ourselves.  What does my life consist of?

When we find ourselves in a prosperous season… when the harvest of seeds sown has come to bear, there comes with it  a temptation to “pull down” our barns and build greater.  An upgrade is due us.

Somewhere along the way maybe, we’ve been lead to believe that we will arrive at a certain level of prosperity.  It’s a lottery of sorts…  a sweet spot in life, where we can just rest easy.  “Eat, drink and be merry”, right?

We long for the day when we won’t have to work so hard. When we can just retire and finally “live” a little.

We start to daydream of pulling down our barns.  It might look something like this…

“Oh, God has great things in store for me.  His plans are SO big that I’m gonna need a better ______________, a better _______________, a better _______________.  That’s what I intend to do! As soon as I get MY harvest, I’m gonna leave this ______________ behind.  I’m gonna build the life of MY dreams!”

Perhaps this kind of mindset has truly diminished the things that God has already equipped us with to use for His glory.  We’ve pulled down our barns.  And if these barns already aren’t enough for us, then how could something bigger and better ever be enough?

And here it is… that man was rich already. He was significant. He was provided for. He was equipped.  In essence, he had what was necessary for today.  He was taken care of, yet somehow, He thought he had to take care of himself.  Somehow, he thought the ground he was given belonged to him.

So what it all boils down to is that there is a question left unanswered.

In all of your pulling down and building greater, who have you served?  If you got your harvest and bought your dream _______________, to what purpose was it?  If it all ends at sunset…whose will it be then?

Will our children know what to do with it?  Will our extended friends and families?  How about our neighbors and communities?  And heaven help us, our government?

We must consider the “whose” of our harvest!  We must begin something with what God has given us that will live well beyond our years!

Get ready! The harvest is upon us. It’s time to seek the Lord! The Lord of the harvest is visiting our ground! He is preparing laborers to who will not labor in vain but will produce more of His spirit and yield His glory in this earth!  Unless the Lord builds it, we will labor in vain! Even if we give it ALL away, we will not find ourselves wanting.  The windows of heaven are opening and God has promised that He would pour out a blessing, so much so that there would not be room enough to contain it!  For some, even the most faithful among us, He hasn’t been able to release such a blessing because with even a handful, we pull down our barns!  We must settle it in our hearts that the foundations are good! What is already built is good! Yes, the barn is good! This is the year of the open door! If we will refrain from pulling down our barns, we will discover that He has opened the door of those barns and His bounty shall spill forth!  If we will rejoice in our room, He will give us a realm! Be rich toward God!

Advertisements
 

Lord, If You Are Willing

Matthew 8:2-3, A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.

There’s this question that creeps into my thinking.  It’s subliminal in nature but it’s no less there.

I know God’s promises are true.  I believe His Word.  I trust He will do what He has said. I have seen His faithfulness day in and day out.  He never fails.  Never.

But when it comes to the things that aren’t in black and white. The decisions that need to be made…navigating the road less taken (or in some cases…never taken)…setting sail on unchartered waters…the unknowns of my life.  I hear it.

Is He willing?

I’m like that leprous man.  You may not see it on the outside but inside, I know.  I know my faults and my failures.  I know all of the blemishes on my integrity and character.  I know my shortcomings and inadequacies. I know my inability.

Without Him.

And that’s why the question comes.  Because, unless He is willing to touch my fault and my failure.  Unless He is wiling to touch my blemishes. Unless, unless, unless….

What I love about this passage, is that the man said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me…..”

Despite the above list… The Lord can make me ___________________!  More than I ever imagined!

And every time the question rises up, I have to cling to, cleave to, make a covenant with His Word, “I am willing! Be  ___________________!” 

 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Christian Living, Faith

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Sifted thoughts….

For years, I’ve been going through a sifting.  Who hasn’t?  Whether we recongize it or not, God still sifts today.

Just this week, an evangelist named Jonathan Garlock came to our church and shared on this subject.  I would write what he shared here but truly, I wouldn’t do it justice!  You can get the CD of the service if you like.  Just leave your name and email in the comments below and I will contact you to get your information and get it sent out to you via the World Lighthouse Worship Center!

One scripture that he shared that is still resounding in my spirit is Isaiah 30:28 and I thought, THAT’S IT!!

And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck,
to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity…

God’s breath is what sifts us.  You cannot feel one’s breath unless they are near to you. Very near.  The very fact that God sifts us is because He is near and desires to be nearer still.  Which leads me to my next thought.

I’ve misinterpreted sifting.  There is more than one instance of sifting in the Word.

Satan will sift us, trying to take us out, as he did Peter. (Luke 22)  But just as Jesus prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail…He has done the same for us!  Pausing here for a moment just to thank Him!  You should too!

Secondly, God sifts us and when He does, He has no intention of letting us fall from His grasp!  When He uses the sieve of vanity, it’s to shake loose the things that we have been clinging to other than Him and the things that have been clinging to us.  Sometimes it will look like people are being shook loose from us, because they are.  Other times ministries (yikes), dreams, money, possessions, extracurricular activities, habits, ownership mentalities, pride, self-centeredness and self-dependence are sifted from us. Sin.  Anything that’s keeping us from being near to Him. Anything that creates a distance.

Sifting reveals nothing less than His desire and great love for us.  When something is removed, He is that much closer.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Character, Faith, God's Breath, Sifting

 

Tags: , , , ,

A walking, leaping and praising God kind of year!

Acts 3:1-11,  Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.  And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;  Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.  And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.  And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.

I recently finished reading an account written by George Muller of his relationship with the Lord and the work entrusted to him, as he cared for as many as 10,000 orphans in his lifetime.  The one thing, most of all, that  was imparted to me was that he never asked a man for anything.   It was a God-given conviction in his heart that the Lord himself would provide for him without his ever having to address the needs of the ministry (or any deficit for that matter) with anyone other than God.  He believed with his whole heart that no matter what, God would meet the needs of today.  He did not disappoint. God would always send someone.  Always.

I am also in the midst of reading an account of Reese Howells, an intercessor, whose conviction was that he had no right to pray for something that he himself would not be willing to provide if the means were available to him. Another words, if someone came to him and asked him to pray for a financial need they were facing, he could not and would not pray for it unless he himself were willing to meet it or contribute to it, if at all possible.  This was to the degree that if someone asked for prayer, he believed that God would indeed use him to bring the answer.

To live with such conviction and purpose.  To trust God with such self-less abandon.

I want this.

Last night, I was thinking on such matters when the Lord began to revelate Acts 3 to me.  I saw the lame man at the Gate Beautiful.  He lived a life where people were always carrying him and not God.  And if I could just interject here, my friend Melissa Flores wrote a beautiful post here about Hosea… he was in the womb and the pains of birth were coming to him, yet when the time came, he refused to come to the opening of the womb.  I believe these two to be the same testimony to what the Lord is saying.  Hosea relished being “carried” in the same way.

How often do I have a handicap and rather than look to the Lord to meet my need, I sit just like that man at the Gate Beautiful?  Searching for someone to tell…someone to help and living a peripheral life, outside of God’s provision?

Truth be known, there is something SO BIG in my heart to do.  Something SO BIG, that my mouth can’t open wide enough at times to speak of it.  My impulse is to lean on the crutch that I see so many others with this same “calling” taking.

If I do this, who will agree with me?

If I do this, who will help me?

“Alms for the poor.  Alms for the poor.”

I keep coming up short every time… and I wrongly convince myself that someone else will do this with me and I will not have to walk it out myself.  Like it’s going to be handed to me.

Here’s the thing. If I never learn  to rely solely upon God.  If I never trust Him as provider.  Silver and gold will never be enough.

When Peter and John said to him, “Look on us.”, what they were really saying was, “Take your eyes off of us! There is Someone greater!”

It’s time for the spiritual “nickel and diming” to stop around here.  For weeks I’ve been so unsettled.  I’ve been at the Gate Beautiful for too long, dreaming of living and praying someone will fund it.

For those of us who have been living this way, (and I don’t think I am alone in this) we are very aware that “eyes are fixed on us”.  We are being challenged.  It’s time meet their expectant gaze and look beyond the flesh, to the One and only name of Jesus.

It’s time to open my mouth wide again and  believe that God will satisfy it with good things!

I believe that even as I post this, immediately my feet and ankles will receive strength!  This is going to be a walking and leaping and praising God kind of year!  It’s going to leave those around me greatly wondering!

You too?

 

Bearing Fruit

Since the beginning of the year, God has been speaking to me about the fig tree.

It’s a desire in my heart that my life would bear fruit because in the end, I want to stand before God and have something to show for this life He has redeemed.  With all my heart, I want something of worth to remain after everything is tried.

But I’ve discovered there’s more. The Lord is hungry.

Oftentimes we think that we must bear fruit for the sake of the sinner, so that they might eat and be made righteous.  I agree.  Also, our fruit is essential for the building up and edification of the body of Christ.  The fruit of our life is necessary for our households and brothers and sisters in Christ.  Yes, bear for one another’s sake!

But there’s a reverence that settles in on me when I consider that Jesus saw the fig tree and approached it because He was hungry.  There was something He was looking for in that particular tree that would satisfy Him.  He wanted to eat.

Surface Christianity just isn’t enough.  All the showy leaves that indicate that there is life in me are worthless unless I produce something that will satisfy Jesus.

James tells us that faith without works is dead.  Anybody think of the fig tree when you read that? What if those leaves are faith without works?

Jesus tells us, have faith in God!  I have it!   And the account of the fig tree in Mark 11 says the same. “And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves…” 

The footnotes of my study NKJV study bible state that the fig tree represented professed adherence to God but possessed no spiritual reality.

Full of promise but empty.

Whatever is not producing spiritual realities in my life must go.  Anything that has capped the flow of productivity in my life needs to be removed and here’s the thing, it’s not God’s responsibility to remove it.   I can speak with Him about it all I want but nothing will ever change.

Look at Matthew 21:19-21

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

The Lord has given us the responsibility.  He will not do what we must do ourselves.  It’s time to curse what must be cursed and release the blessing to grow and produce in our lives!

Most Christians don’t like the idea of “cursing” but it’s an weapon in warfare that we can’t allow to become idle.  Jesus used this weapon (Mark 11:21), not on people (I stress that) but on oppressing, depressing, hindering, suppressing spirits. 

To strengthen the idea of this, you might like to know that the word curse is rooted in the Greek (685) meaning prayer (as lifted to heaven).  Cursing is part of prayer.

It’s also rooted in the word exsecratus which translates execration.  (ex-out of/ secra-sacred)

When we utilize this arsenal, we are using our authority to evict some things.  Come out of my sacred!
We must say it and mean it!

Luke 13:6-9, He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why does it use up the ground? But he answered and said to him, Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well.  But if not, after that you can cut it down.

Friend, when I read the account of the barren fig tree in Luke 13, I don’t want to be just another tree that “uses up the ground”. 

Prophetically speaking, we have one year.  Within one year, if we will utilize the tools given us, there will and must be change. Our life will bear fruit that satisfies a hungry God.

We must dig around the roots and expose them.  What are our roots growing in?  We must be rooted and grounded in the love of God.  Nothing else will do.  Dig.  Prayer is your shovel.  Time alone with a loving God will reveal some things.  Don’t be afraid to discover.  And then fertilize.    As you pray for discernment over your life, allow the things that have been limiting you become the dung that will add to your development.

You may be surprised what may suddenly become refuse.

Philippians 3:8-10, But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him…

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Bearing Fruit, Cursing, Faith

 

Tags: , , ,

Separation of Church and State

This morning as we came together for prayer here at the church, I heard a terrific statement in my spirit.

“There is coming a true separation of church and state.”

Here is my disclaimer:

I am not talking politics, or am I?  I guess the best claim to make is that because this is of the Spirit, I don’t know the difference. 

What followed was this word from Philippians: 4:11-12, “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

For a moment, consider that this was not simply Paul speaking but rather the voice of the church! I sense that the church is coming into such a contentedness…a soundness.  What Paul was speaking of was true prosperity.  He knew what He had whether it was in His hand or not.  Regardless of the circumstances, He lacked for nothing.  Not relationally, physically, emotionally, financially, etc.  Nothing.

After this, I saw coins with Caesars image.  (Matthew 22:15-22).

Clearly in my spirit, I heard, Who’s image do you see?

What God was implying here was that prosperity has a different image.  We can look at money and clearly see the face or head of a particular man representing a government.  But it’s not that simple. Money is not prosperity. Not with God.  If it were, Peter and John would have been speaking out of a poverty spirit when they approached the lame man at the gate Beautiful. (Acts 3)  “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

 

 

It’s time to render what is due to the Spirit of the Living God!  There is a separation coming between church and state.  I believe it!

2 Corinthians 8:10-12, And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;  but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.  For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.

What do you have?

God is asking.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Give Place

Matthew 9:18-19 & 23-26

While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

 

Jesus is not interested in our noise.

Our uproar means nothing.

I can read this and pretend this doesn’t apply to me.

But it does.

How often do I make noise, thinking that it will get God’s attention?

How often do I join others in their noise making?

There’s a lot of noise going on in our world today.

A lot of noise on the internet and on the television.

And yes, there is noise in the church and behind the closed doors of our homes.

Rather than make noise over “dead” things…it’s time to give place.

Because what looks dead is really sleeping.

And all the noise in the world won’t wake it.

In the silence and the stillness, room is made for Jesus.

Resurrection power inhabits what noise cannot.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Confidence, Faith, Resurrection Power