Sunday, September 29, 2013

No Revival

No Revival
Sept 30, 2013
Jeremiah 29:13  "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

The concept of a spiritual revival can be an intriguing idea.  Revival is generally thought of as a re-newed movement of the Lord's activity or power among Christians.  It is a sought after movement as people petition the Lord to bring revival throughout the land.  The hope is that  the Lord would send His presence into the hearts and minds of people, bringing revitalization to a stale or stagnant life, changing their lives.  It can be marked with miracles, signs, and wonders, creating a renewed interest in the Lord.  It can be an extremely effective time-period of bringing new people into the Christian faith.  It is exciting and scary all at once, but filled with the Lord's power nonetheless.  But the concept of a spiritual revival is a man-made idea.

No where in Scripture does it describe a time where the Lord simply sends down a special movement of His power among Christians on His own volition.  It is not His method; it is our perception of the way He works but it is not how or what He desires.  It is not what He designed.  The Lord designed that we would walk and talk with Him on a daily basis, accepting His forgiveness and living a life full of power and a sound mind.  The Lord designed that we would move mountains with our faith and see the sick healed on a regular basis.  The Lord designed that we would have Him in our hearts at all times and live as one of His disciples 24/7.  But despite the Lord's design, we screw it up.  We mess up His plan entirely.  The Lord didn't invent revival.  He knows we need it but He didn't create it.

The opportunity or need for revival comes only after man lets darkness, laziness, and discord enter into his life.  It is man that creates the need for revival, as the Lord originally and continually intends that we live in a constant alive state.  The Lord desires that we would never need revived.  It is our own fault, our own doing.  Thankfully, the Lord accepts the genuine moment when we realize we are in need of being revived.  He acknowledges it and is willing to let it happen, but He does not send it like we think.  The Lord does not send revival, just the opposite; WE allow ourselves to receive it when we truly acknowledge Him.

The Lord didn't leave us.  His power was and is always there, ready and willing and able to perform miracles in our daily lives.  His ear is always attentive to hear our hearts cry, even if we are not willing to speak with Him.  The Lord never left us; we simply became dark, lazy, and full of discord.  In a true state of genuine revival it is the heart of man that is turned back toward the Lord.  We think it is Him who needs to return to us and send His power once again, but that does not contain even a hint of the truth.  His power didn't go anywhere. If we sense the need for revival it is because we stopped allowing Him to be Lord of our daily lives.  We shoved Him away, wrote Him out of our governments, banned Him from our schools, and continually refuse to acknowledge Him in our workplace.  It is not the Lord who needs to bring a mighty move of His presence.  It is man that needs to return to Him.

It is our own fault and we need to turn our hearts toward Him.  Then and only then will we see a movement of Him among us again.  Revival is not something sent from Heaven, it is something acknowledged in our hearts when we truly humble ourselves to seek the Lord.  It starts in the heart so let it begin with yours and mine.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:
  2 Chron 7:14, 2 Chron 30:9, Hosea 6:1-3, Psalm 85, Prov 8:17, John 15:1-10

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pick Your Part

Pick Your Part
Sept 23, 2013
Psalm 139:16  "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

My daughter recently auditioned for a school play, her very first one after joining the drama club.  She was so excited about the thought of being in a play, an original play, imagining just what it would feel like to be a part of the production.  Naturally, she was nervous about the audition, never having participated before, not knowing what to expect.  She had to memorize lines and present her character during the audition.  And then she had to wait.....wait for the directors to cast her role, deciding upon her part in the production.  The anticipation was almost more than she could bear, wondering if she made the cut and wondering what role she might play, hoping it was the part she preferred.  And then the posting of the parts was displayed; she made the cut but was extremely disappointed.  She was glad to be cast for the play, but she did not get the part she wanted.  As a parent, I had to simply let her feel all the emotions that go along with excitement followed by disappointment.

We slowly re-built her enthusiasm for the the play, encouraging her that the part she was cast for might be a good fit.  Although it wasn't what she wanted, she decided to stick it out and accept the role she had been given.  The directors assigned her a script and memorization of the role has commenced at our house.  As we practice the part with her we realize something the directors of the play already knew.  She is perfect for the role chosen for her.  It is as if the role was created just for her.  My  daughter's natural personality really brings the character to life the way it was written and designed by the writers.  The role she is playing is a perfect match for her skills, abilities, talents, personality, and giftings.  But she wasn't allowed to pick her part, it was decided by the writers and directors who knew best.

You and I try to pick our part in life and what role we want to play on the Lord's stage.  But it doesn't work that way.  The Old and New Testament are very clear that we are simply a creation of the Master Maker.  What is created does not have a choice in its purpose.  We cannot pick our part, choosing our own role in the Lord's plan.  He designed the world from beginning to end; He is the Writer and Director.  We are allowed to accept our part in His master plan, but we cannot choose our own role.  Our part has already been written perfectly for our skills, abilities, talents, personality, and giftings.

We can choose to accept our role with enthusiasm or opt out.  Difficulty arises when accepting the role but complaining about it all the while.  The Lord wants willing participants to fulfill the role He created for each and every one of us, no matter if we think it is the role we would choose or not.  In fact most of us, like my daughter, would choose an alternative than what we've been assigned.  We think we have a better idea than the Director at what part would rightly suit us.  The Lord knows best and it is wise to submit to the role He has given each and every person.  He wrote the part just for you and only you can fulfill that role.  It suits you perfectly.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Pro 16:33, Is 29:15-17, Is 45:8-10, Is 64:8, Jer 18:1-10, Rom 9:20-22

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Different is Good

Different is Good
Sept 16, 2013
1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession. . . "

Being different than others is not always a pleasant thing, especially when you want to blend into the crowd.  Sometimes you don't want to stand out but be accepted as one of the group, one who belongs.  We've all felt different at times, wishing we wouldn't be noticed.  It is natural to want to belong, but we must be careful where it is we belong.  The Lord does not want us to belong to the world, only to Him.  Unfortunately, though, we are IN the world; we must endure being IN the world while not being accepted by it.  This creates internal conflict as we must withstand being different.
Scripture says we are to be completely different, unlike the rest of the world.  We are uniquely  His own, regardless of where we live.  Peter discusses this in depth and describes how it should affect our daily lives.  We should have lives free from the world's ways.  We are sacred and special to the Lord and are supposed to act like it.  One translation of the Bible uses the term peculiar.  We should appear peculiar to those outside the church walls.  If we blend in to the rest of society, then we are clearly not peculiar enough.  It is good to be different, as this is required by the Lord.  If strangers cannot see that you live differently, then it is time to adjust your lifestyle.

Living uniquely unto the Lord is not easy however, as our natural inclination is to try and blend in to society.  To accomplish this, Peter gave us the recommendations on how to make it happen.  He said "rid yourselves of ALL malice and ALL deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind."  Obviously, this is easier said than done, however it is a good recipe for being different.  Partial malice and partial deceit do not set a Christian apart from the rest of the world.  Teaching one thing and living another way is not  acceptable.  Having envy actually makes it MORE difficult to live a peculiar lifestyle.  And there are apparently more than one or two ways to slander a person than just gossip.  We all are guilty of these traits, which does not make us uniquely His own, set apart from the rest of the world.

If they did not accept Christ, when He lived among them performing signs and wonders, then they will not accept you or me if we appear to be different.  But that is OK, because that is the way God wants you, the only way He will accept you.  We must live our lives as set apart, not on the outskirts of society but simply not indulging in the same lifestyle as everyone else.  In fact, I've found that strangers are drawn to the light inside of you if you are living according to the Lord's standards.  I'd rather be accepted by the Lord than be accepted by the world any day of the week.  It is not easier but it is better, AND there is a reward for living differently.  If we lose our lifestyle here on earth we will gain a full lifestyle in Heaven.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Philippians 1, 1 Peter 2

Sunday, September 8, 2013

No Escape

No Escape
September 9, 2013
Romans 8:38  ". . . nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

There is no escaping the love of God.  You cannot run from it and you cannot hide from it.  Nothing will ever be able to separate you from the Love He has for you.  You are loved by the Almighty Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.  In as much as He loves you, He also holds you as His own, as His child.  There is no escaping it.  This is so comforting to know and it is a message easy to swallow.  We like to hear this message of love; it is a favorite among Christians.  But there is something else that comes with the love of the Father that we cannot escape.  We cannot escape His discipline.  This message is a little harder to receive.

Adam and Eve learned this lesson the hard way.  Right after their first sin of eating the forbidden fruit, they tried to hide from the Lord.  He went after them, seeking them out, looking for them until He found them.  He didn't beat around the bush either; the Lord cut right to the heart of the matter, correcting them of their error.  He was not about to let them get away with anything.  He always confronts us, not to be mean but to keep us on the path He has set before us.  Adam and Even could not escape the Lord's discipline and neither can anyone else.

Scripture says very clearly in the Old and New Testament that the Lord disciplines those He loves.  This discipline is not punishment but correction, leading, and discipleship.  He has a purpose in mind and that is to be made further into His likeness while being used for His glory.  You cannot escape the Lord's love and you cannot escape the Lord's discipline.  If you think that the Lord's mercy is greater than His intent on applying discipline, you are mistaken.  If the Lord relented from His discipline, it would be akin to hating you, allowing you to continue on a path to destruction.  If you want to accept the Lord's love you must accept the Lord's discipline.

His discipline comes in many forms, often disguised.  Scripture says we are to endure hardships or difficult situations as discipline, as the Lord's discipleship.  The tough time you are having right now is an opportunity to accept the Lord's love and be shaped by His discipleship.  They go hand in hand.  You cannot escape the Lord's love and you cannot escape the Lord's discipline.  Too often we experience difficult times, hardships that seem unbearable, and we become angry with the Lord for allowing it to happen.  This is the opposite of how we should see it.  If the Lord is allowing us to experience it, then He is showing us His love by allowing us to be discipled, being made more into His likeness.  During this hard time, adjust your opinion of the situation and see it as the Lord's love for your life.  If you cannot escape it, you might consider embracing it.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Proverbs 3:12, Rom 8, Heb 12:6-7, Rev 3:19

Monday, September 2, 2013

You Are Not Lovable

You Are Not Lovable
Sept 2, 2013

1 John 4:19  "We love because he first loved us."

You are not loveable, at least that is what you tell yourself.  We all tell ourselves this, that we are not valuable enough to be loved by others and certainly not by ourselves.  This is a common trick by Satan to devalue people in an effort to quench their potential in the Lord.  He fills our head with lies about our self-worth and potential, degrading and diminishing the significance the Lord created in us.  Satan takes your flaws or past failures and sets them up as the image of who you really are, generating a false sense of your present and future value to the Lord.  If he can convince your mind that you have no value, then he can convince you there is no way anyone, especially the Lord, could love you.  But the Lord would say this is the exact opposite of how things work in His mind's eye.

The Lord has never said He would love you based upon your performance or generated production.  He loved you BEFORE you were born.  In fact He even saw your life from beginning to end, BEFORE you were born.  He knew you, your flaws, and your failures BEFORE you even had a chance to live them out.  And yet, in spite of yourself, He decided to love you.  He even proved His love by sending His son to die for your sins, while you were still sinning.  If the Lord can love you before you fail, knowing you will fail, then His love is not predicated on your actions.  His love is based upon you, nothing else.  He loves YOU, not your actions, however good or bad.  He even loves you despite your successes.

If the Lord can love you, filtering out your successes and failures, then it is reasonable to love yourself.  It is OK to love yourself.  In fact, if you don't love yourself, then you are insulting the Lord.  If the Lord says you are loveable, then you are loveable, even if you have personality deficiencies and significant room for growth. He still loves you and you SHOULD love yourself.  Love the way the Lord created you.  Love the unique traits He instilled in you.  Love the special giftings you were born with and the body He gave you.  Love your perspective on life and the desires He placed in you for your future.  Love YOU.

There is no time for self-abatement, whining, or complaining about yourself.  Your current situation, regardless of how dimming it might feel, is not a reflection on your ability to be loved by the Lord or yourself.  The Lord loves you through what you are experiencing right now and He wants you to do the same.  It is also not a time to be arrogant, inflating your self-worth above others, but a time to see yourself in the light of how the Heavenly Father sees you.  He looks on you with love and compassion in His eyes, with tenderness in His heart.  He is filtering out your successes and failures and loving every ounce of you.  If He can love you, then you can certainly love yourself.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:
  Jer 31:3, Rom 5:8, Eph 5:1-2, 2 Thess 2:16