Luke 15:20 So [the son] got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
Friday, January 29, 2016
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Gen. 39:2 The LORD was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household,and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. ... 20 Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Gen 32:9 Then Jacob prayed, "O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, 'Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,' 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, 'I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.'"
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Last night, we discussed this passage:
Luke 11:9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
I have been wrestling with this concept of baptism of the Holy Spirit, and last week, I think I finally accepted John the Baptist's prophecy of Jesus and Jesus's own promises:
Luke 3:16 John answered them all, "I baptize you [in] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you [in] the Holy Spirit and fire.
Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while [Jesus] was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized [in] water, but in a few days you will be baptized [in] the Holy Spirit." ... 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
I felt like this past week, I came to the realization that I believe our Heavenly Father is good, and He wants to give us good gifts when we ask Him, and the best gift is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent the Son, and the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit. I do believe that I received the Holy Spirit at the moment that I put my faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation, but I realized that I wanted to receive this gift of baptism and anointing from Him. So, last night, at the end of our discussion, I asked our homegroup to pray for me to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I sat in the middle of the floor, and as they laid hands on me and prayed, I thought that I sensed a spiritual filling of some kind, like water in a pail. At one point in the prayer time, Ryan said that God had spoken to me, but I had not "heard" anything, so I interpreted that to mean that the sense of filling was what God had revealed to me. So I believed that it was really happening, and I focused on opening my spirit and receiving it. I sensed a spiritual filling with a dense and viscous fluid (like molasses). It felt like when you are thirsty and you are drinking water and you can feel the water going down to your stomach. Later in the prayer time, I sensed an outward anointing with a thick substance, and I imagined it like molasses slowly flowing over my head and down my arms and covering my hands, so that if I touched someone else, I would smear it on them. I sense that this was in response to Steve specifically praying for anointing over my hands for a gift of healing.
As I sat there on the floor after the prayer time, I felt like the Holy Spirit was continuing to slowly pour into me, and I wanted to continue receiving, so I just sat there. I felt Tom's hand on my shoulder for a few minutes, and I could tell that he was also experiencing the power of the Spirit. I could feel a weightiness of filling and anointing. I felt like I weighed twice as much as I do, like I had been filled with metal.
As the group was eating dessert, Ryan helped me up from sitting on the floor, and I sat down on the couch. I still felt such a weightiness, and I felt like my spirit had been filled with a dense fluid. Tom had obviously been moved by the Spirit, and he told me that he saw a vision of me as a vessel of God, a vessel redeemed and restored by God, and being slowly filled with a thick fluid. No rush, no hurry, just steady filling. Tom's word was such an encouraging explanation and confirmation of what I had been sensing in my spirit!
I believe that this was a significant spiritual event in my life, and I look forward to seeing the Lord demonstrate more of His authority and power in my life to accomplish His Isaiah 61 ministry.
May we continue to seek to be active sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, and may we celebrate His goodness.
Heavenly Father, I love you, and I believe that you are a good, good Father. I receive your Holy Spirit with thankfulness and joy, and I believe that you will continue to mature me and use me to establish your Kingdom on earth. Holy Spirit, I submit to your leadership. Teach me to hear your voice and walk in obedience. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the man who kept in perfect step with the Holy Spirit.
Monday, January 18, 2016
Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
When Brandi and I were still in Austin, our church had a Global Impact Celebration every two years, and in combination with the Perspectives course. We responded in submission and "put our yes on the table", and two years later, we felt the Lord calling us to a life-commitment to global missions At the time, we didn't feel any specificity, but we did feel like God made it explicitly clear that we were supposed to move to El Paso.
A couple of years ago (at our first Taste Retreat in May of 2014), Robin prophesied over us that we had a missional call on our lives, a call for our whole family. This was really helpful for reminding me of the calling that we received in Austin. He told us that he felt like the Lord was telling him that in a few years, the Lord would transition us to a new stage of ministry.
Recently, I have been sensing a stirring in me to be more focused on helping people receive clean water and Living Water.
Heavenly Father, thank you for calling us to serve you. Lord Jesus, thank you for modeling sentness. Holy Spirit, thank you for empowering us to go and share our story of how God has redeemed us. Please help us listen to you, and give us faith to walk in obedience to your calling. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;the whole earth is full of his glory."
Hab. 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
God's glory is the result of God expressing Himself. In other words, everything He has made and does, and the attributes, nature, and power behind those actions, are His glory.
Glory is the eternal value that someone or something has because it reveals, points to, and reflects the attributes, nature, and power of God.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Be assured that my words are not false; one who has perfect knowledge is with you. (Job 36:4)
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17 NIV
I have thought of "the word of God" in this verse to mean "the Bible". However, the Greek word used here is "ῥῆμα" (rhema, spoken word), not "λόγος" (logos, reasoning expressed in words). My interpretation is that a spoken word from God is our offensive weapon in spiritual battle. It leads me to more diligently learn to hear His voice.
Heavenly Father, I want to know your voice. I want to hear what you are saying. I want to speak what I hear the Father saying, like Jesus did. Please give me more rhemas. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
This morning, I had the privilege I preaching from John 11 on Jesus being the Resurrection and the Life. The main points that the Lord impressed on me were:
- It takes time in conversation with the Lord to develop a close relationship with Him.
- No matter how close you are in your relationship with Him, He wants to take you to a higher level with Him. Martha and Mary believes that Jesus was a healer, but Jesus wanted them to know Him as the Resurrection and the Life.
- Sometimes Jesus allows us to experience difficult situations because He wants to glorify Himself.
- Don't let the stench of death prevent you from experiencing the Resurrection power of Christ.
It was so encouraging to see many people come forward for prayer, and many for heavy issues. I believe the the Lord is launching some great redemptive transformations in our congregation. I am praying for chain reactions.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me a message to share, and thank you for loving among us this morning. I love you, and I can't wait to see what you will do next. I pray in the name of Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life!
Thursday, January 7, 2016
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Saturday, January 2, 2016
These are similar to my resolution a from last year:
- daily read through the chronological Bible; take time to soak it in and pray through it, and talk to other people about it
- daily spend quality time with my wife and sons; meaningful time (look them in the eyes, minimize electronics)
- daily mentor/teach my sons
- daily physical exercise
- daily study Spanish
- daily eat healthy food (low cholesterol) and stay hydrated
- daily rest, with sufficient sleep
- daily work on things that are important, not being a slave to the urgent
- weekly discipleship; pouring in and pouring out
- develop regular spiritual teaching
- regularly take my family on short trips
Heavenly Father, I want to be a man of God. I want to grow in spiritual maturity, operating as an ambassador of Christ. Lord Jesus, I want to walk like you and talk like you. Holy Spirit, I want to be annointed by you. Please grow your fruit in me this year. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.