Wednesday, September 28, 2016

No resource limitations in the Kingdom

A few nights ago, Beau was reading Jesus's parable of the enemy planting weeds in the field.  When the workers discovered the weeds growing up with the wheat, they asked the owner if they should pull up the weeds.  The owner told them not to pull up the weeds because they might damage the wheat and that the weeds would be sorted and burned when they harvested the wheat.

I don't know why I haven't thought about this before, but growing up on a farm, you learn to pull/hoe weeds whenever and wherever you see them for a couple of important reasons: (1) weeds steal water, nutrients, and possibly sunlight from the crop, which decreases production, and (2) if you let the weeds produce seed, you could have 100 times more weeds next year.

I think the Lord pointed out to me that there are no resource limitations in the Kingdom.  He is not worried about weeds stealing resources from the wheat.  His focus is on growing wheat, and He has unlimited resources to grow the wheat.  It is not a competition between wheat and weeds.  He is fully capable of providing all of the water, nutrients, and sunlight that the wheat needs to grow and produce a harvest of 100 times the original (to mix parables).

Heavenly Father, thank you for taking care of us, and thank you for the promise that you will always be with us and work for our good.  Thank you for your kindness and abundant favor to us.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Seeking His face, rest

Katelyn is teaching me what it looks like to rest in the Father's presence.  When I hold her, she sets her chin on my shoulder and is content.  Sometimes I think she went to sleep, but her eyes are open, and she is content to be with me.  She doesn't have to do anything.  As Brandi pointed out yesterday, she doesn't even have to hold on because she is held.

I feel like I am a hyperactive little boy with the Father: always running around in circles trying to do stuff, asking Him to fix something, or asking questions and studying something.  I need to learn how to be still with Him.

I have read the Scriptures about seeking His face and heart, but I think it is more about being still with Him than running around exhausted trying to accomplish more for Him.  I think it is like Jesus withdrawing to pray and spend time being with His Father.  Christ's miraculous works of the Holy Spirit were in balance with significant time spent in quiet stillness with the Father.

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me a picture of being still with you.  Help me grow in daily time spent with you in stilling my soul with you and being content in your presence.  I want to seek your face and know your heart.  I want to rest in your love.  Jesus, thank you for your example.  Holy Spirit, guide me into a deeper relationship with you, Jesus, and the Father.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Messianic foreshadowing

Psalm 105:16‭-‬22 NIV
He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free. He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom.

Joseph is a type of Christ, who came in humility and suffered the wrath of God for our redemption from sin and death.  The Father raised Him from the dead and made Him preeminent. Christ is the head of the household, and we seek his wisdom.

The meaning of Jesus's name is similar to the meaning of Joshua: "YAHWEH is salvation"

Zechariah 6:11‭-‬13 NIV
Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak.  Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.'

Jesus is the Tender Shoot (Isa. 53:2). He is the Vine (John 15). He is the Branch (Zech. 6:12).  And we are His temple (1 Cor. 6:19).

Heavenly Father, your plan is amazing! I am so impressed with your sovereign plan to save us through Christ and make us your temple.  Lord Jesus, thank you for your sacrificial love.  Holy Spirit, increase in me.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

You won't relent

This song really resonated with me this morning:

You wont relent until you have it all
My heart is yours
You wont relent until you have it all
My heart is yours

Come be the fire inside of me
Come be the flame upon my heart
Come be the fire inside of me
Until you and I are one

He wants all of me.  And I want to want all of Him, but He is infinite, so that means, I want the next logarithm of Him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for wanting me.  My heart is yours.  I am all yours, Lord.  Holy Spirit, fill me with your fire!  Give me more of you today!  Take me to the next level with you. Increase my desire for you. I want to be one with you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pursuing and waiting on the LORD

Sunday evening, in our monthly Leadership Development Program meeting, we were discussing the concept of hosting the presence of God. 

Carlyn pointed out the importance of pause.  Often we notice what God is doing and/or hear Him speaking when we take pause.  Pausing is hard for us busy Americans, and I think I am beginning to realize that for me, an overcommitted person, pausing is actually the most important part of the effectiveness of spiritual journaling,  taking pause to notice Him and respond to Him.  I want to pursue God.  And that means I need to spend time not only reading the Word (logos), but waiting on Him for fresh spoken words (rhema).

Yesterday morning, I was thinking about what we had discussed about pursuing Him and seeking His manifest presence and anointing, and I was listening to praise music.  Several songs came on that were very encouraging:

Fall Afresh (Bethel)
Waiting Here for You (Jesus Culture)
Called Me Higher (All Sons and Daughters)
Be Still (Bethel)

The lyrics from the beginning of Called Me Higher were representative of my heart:

I could just sit
I could just sit and wait for all your goodness
Hope to feel your presence
And I could just stay
I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel you
Hope to feel something again

This morning, I echo the lyrics of the song Set A Fire:

Heavenly Father, "set a fire in my soul ... I want more of you, God".  Lord, please increase my desire for you.  Lord Jesus, I want to be your disciple.  Holy Spirit, please anoint me with your presence today, and grow the fruit of the spirit in me today. May I be faithful in taking pause to seek you. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Priestly role

Ezekiel 44:15‭, ‬23 NIV
" 'But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign LORD. ... They are to teach my people the difference between the holy and the common and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.

As a priest, I see two roles highlighted here: (1) drawing near to God and serving Him and (2) demonstrate the difference between holy and common.

First, we approach the Lord through the mercy and grace of Christ Jesus.  I believe that we have an opportunity to bless God as we approach Him with a joyful desire to love Him and enjoy Him.  I want to be more intentional about doing this.

Second, our lives should demonstrate a difference between holy and common.  We are set apart for Christ and his purposes; our lives should not be full of worldly stuff.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the blood of Christ that opens the door for relationship with you.  Lord, may I walk into your presence boldly with intention to know you and enjoy you.  Holy Spirit, you are making me more into the image of Christ; help me be a spiritual man, not a carnal man.  Lord, show your love and power in my life.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

spiritual prophecy

Ez 37

God told Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones to assemble, and then He told him to prophesy for them to receive breath.  I don't think I have noticed before that the spiritual activity was prophesy.  When we prophesy something, we are speaking into effect the reality that God desires; we are agreeing with God to accomplish His will.  

This may be heresy, but maybe you could say that in the beginning, God prophesied the creation of the universe.  The first revelation of the character of God in the Bible is that He is the creator, and He created us in His image, as creators.  He has given us authority and creative agency, so as we listen to the Holy Spirit, He will tell us what we should prophesy about people for their healing, restoration, and empowerment.

Heavenly Father, I praise you for your creativity and power, and I thank you for giving us some of that creativity and power.  Thank you for involving us in your good works.  Jesus, thank you for sending us out as your apostles.  Holy Spirit, thank you for speaking to us, guiding us, and empowering us.  Lord, please help me be an active agent for advancing your Kingdom. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, September 2, 2016

To know you is to love you

After I finished writing my blog yesterday morning, I turned on Pandora to the Bethel channel, and I told the Lord, "Hit me with some good worship music." The first song that came on was Love Came Down by Kari Jobe, and the lyrics resonated perfectly with what I had just blogged:

If my heart is overwhelmed
And I cannot hear Your voice
I hold on to what is true
Though I cannot see
If the storms of life they come
And the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe
I'll remind myself
Of all that You've done
And the life I have
Because of Your son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
Lord I'm forever Yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours
I am forever Yours

I was standing by the TV, raising my hands in praise as I was singing to the Lord, amazed at how personally and quickly He had responded to me through the lyrics of that song.  Then I heard Jude say, "Good morning, daddy."  I suddenly felt caught!  Then Jude said, "I saw you praising God."  And I thought to myself, what a blessing for my son to "catch" me genuinely praising the Lord! 

Heavenly Father, thank you for answering me and speaking to me!  Lord Jesus, may my love and devotion to you be so dynamic, frequent, and transparent that my children will have that as the basis for normalcy in their life.  Holy Spirit, please give me more!  More experiences with you!  I want to love you more, and my love grows as I experience more of your goodness!  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Love and rescue

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: " Lord, save me!" The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
Psalm 116:1‭-‬5 NIV

I read this passage a couple of days ago, and it continues to resonate with me.  I was in the hospital less than a month ago with an aggressive and potentially fatal infection.  I think I am a relatively slow emotional processor, and i think it is just now setting in how clearly the Lord rescued me from death.  He has given me more days.  In the intensity of my pain, I did cry out to the Lord for mercy, and He did heal me. 

I feel like because He has not only rescued me from eternal death through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but He has also rescued me from physical death and extended my days, He has doubly bought me for Himself, and I should be doubly devoted to Him.

Heavenly Father, I love you.  You have shown me so much mercy and grace.  Lord Jesus, I am yours.  Please live your life through me, and use me to advance your Kingdom of love and rescue.  Holy Spirit, please open my eyes and heart to see you and love you, and anoint and empower me to do your work of love and rescue.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.