Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Saturday morning, God woke me up at 4am and I knew that I needed to read my friend Lewis’s facebook (See, God does use facebook!). I got to his page and saw a status and a post that had been put up nearly an hour ago (3am). The status said, “Scum of the earth, refuse of the world, put on display at the end of the procession. Whipped, beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, jailed, burned, sawed in half, beheaded and crucified. Hungry, tired, lonely, crushed, mocked and doubted. Paul took the lash 195 times, Peter was nailed upside-down, John lost his head, Steven was crushed by rocks. The name of Jesus, properly spoken, should silence a room, if only for these.” Even though I wasn’t speaking out loud, my room went silent and it was… Supernatural.
I then read the post,
“Dear Sin Nature,
If I believe that the Bible is true (Romans 6-8), then you are SO DEAD.
YOU'RE DEADER THAN DEAD; YOU'RE SUPER-DEAD.
IF I have been born again, that is saved by the risen son of God, then you are DEAD.
DEAD MEANS NOT ALIVE, AKA NO LONGER ACTIVE OR VALID.
THANKS ANYWAY, GOOD TRY, BUT YOU = FAIL.
When I act as though you are still alive, I am gravely (haha, pun) mistaken. It’s like being in a jail cell that is unlocked. I am, in reality, not a prisoner anymore. The choice to function as one is mine, not yours, because you’re DEAD.
Yes, it is easier to do what I already know, but this is not what Jesus is asking me to do. I am being transformed, my mind is being renewed by the word of God and He is UNCONDITIONALLY committed to the process that makes me more like Him. Not you. You’re dead.
My most insincere regards to your rotting corpse, thanks for all the pain, doubt and suffering you caused,
Lewis Kleiner, new creature, alive in Christ.”
God used this to help me see that I was still standing in my cell, my prison, even though the door was wide open! It didn’t matter who made the prison, how it was formed, or why I stayed in it for so long; all that was forgiven and forgotten so that I could come out of it knowing that God led the way for me, all I had to do was follow Him. In the silence of my room, God held out His perfect hand to me and bid me to take it and let Him lead me out of my prison. It literally didn’t matter if I built the prison or if I just let myself be caught up in someone else’s prison, it was all forgiven and the door was flung open. I took His hand and wondered how I had stayed there for so long.
I processed this all weekend amidst all the things going on with Jonesy leaving and Keri and I looking for a new place to live… it’s been a busy weekend and this week is looking to be much the same. But God has been so good to me through it all, giving me extra strength for the day and then letting me rest at home, to play and talk with some beloved friends, and praise in church (can we just talk about how God spoke through the worship on Sunday? wow.) and letting me know that it’s okay that I’m still processing it even now! God knows that my brain has not caught up with my heart and it may not ever catch up, and that's okay. I don't need to be able to wrap my mind around what God has done in my life in order to accept it.
Last night, in prayer meeting, I'm sure we were supposed to be praying about something specific, but God had a grip on my heart and showed me in my mind's eye the cell that I have been living in. He showed me three solid walls and on open cage door. He walked into the cell, turned and looked at me with love shining out of His eyes, and then he raised His pierced hands and blew all four walls to pieces! Never again shall I live in that dirty cell when I can fly with Jesus!!
when i think about the Lord
how He saved me, how He raised me
how He filled me with the Holy Ghost
how He healed me to the uttermost
when i think about the Lord
how he picked me up
turned me around
how He set my feet
on solid ground
it makes me want to shout
hallelujah! thank you, Jesus!
Lord, you're worthy
of all the glory, and all the honor
and all the praise!
Hallelujah! thank you, Jesus!
Lord, you're worthy
of all the glory, and all the honor
and all the praise!
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained."
Monday, August 17, 2009
The same is true about my relationship with God. Over the years, I have learned to hear His voice, to recognize His touch, and to understand some basic truths of who He is.
There are so many revelations of God in His Word. The Bible boasts of His greatness, glory, honor, and character. We know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8), that God's grace is sufficient for every repentant heart, and that His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). We know that His name is above all other names (Philippians 2:9), that there is no other like Him (Jeremiah 10:6), and that His wisdom holds secrets that are hidden from before time began (I Corinthians 2:7). And for as much as we know about the LORD, our knowledge of Him is but a fraction of a grain of sand as held up to all the beaches on earth.
Though He is the mysterious master Creator who hung each star in the sky and calls them by name, He wants us to love Him, to trust Him, to know Him, and to worship Him. That thought alone sets my mind to wonder! God invites us to participate with Him in a vibrant dance of abundant life through His Son, Jesus Christ. Our amazing Heavenly Father bids each and every one of us to come to Him with questions, to be held by His love, to find peace, hope, and healing in His Son. He calls us to seek Him through prayer and to experience new revelations of Him through His Word and through the Holy Spirit.
The voice of all of creation shouts His praise! I encourage you to pause in this moment to consider Him...to respond to Him...to meditate on His glorious splendor. As you do, He will increasingly become the all-satisfying desire of your heart, while at the same time, He will stir up a hunger in your soul to know Him even more.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Rhythm was doing a service project in South East Roanoke and I had arrived a little late. As I walked up to get some instructions on what I should be doing, Thomas Frankie grabbed a box of tissues and told me to follow him, Craig had something he needed me to do. He took off running around a few dilapidated buildings until we were standing in a parking lot sized pile of mud. Craig was there, looking down at something buried in the mud. As I walked closer, I realized that he was talking to someone who was buried in the mud from head to toe and as I drew closer, I realized that it was a woman with only her face, hands, and feet showing through the now drying mud.
Craig stood up and looked at me, pointed down to her, and said "Talk to her. She needs to talk to you." I knelt down in the mud next to her, being careful to not kneel on any part of her buried body, pressed a tissue into her hand and said, "I'm Shanna." The woman instantly began to sob and tell me her story.
She told me that she once had a good life. She was a wife, a mother, and an active woman in her community. She helped everyone who needed it without a thought about herself. But then an accident happened and all the bones in her feet were crushed and the bottom half of her legs were horribly mangled. I looked down at her feet and realized that they were crumpled, broken, and still bleeding. She said the accident happened in the very same spot she was laying and because no one helped her, she had to stay in that spot and the bleeding never stopped. The entire lower half of her body was now covered in blood and mud. She continued to talk to me, her tears making crooked paths through the mud on her face, about how all she wanted was to be clean, all she wanted was to wash the mud off.
I woke up before the conversation ended, before I saw in the dream what I did to help her, but I don't think my helping her was really the point of the dream. I'm no Joseph, but God spoke to me very clearly through this dream.
"Am I the woman?" I asked Him.
"Only if you chose to be."
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
by Max Lucado
"We have here only five loaves and two fish." (Matt. 14:17)
How do you suppose Jesus felt about the basket inventory? Any chance he might have wanted them to include the rest of the possibilities? Involve all the options? Do you think he was hoping someone might count to eight?
"Well, let's see. We have five loaves, two fish...and Jesus!" Jesus Christ. The same Jesus who told us:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Luke 11:19 NIV)
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. (John 15:7 NIV)
What ever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24 NIV)
Standing next to the disciples was the solution to their problems...but they didn't go to him. They stopped their count at seven and worried.
What about you? Are you counting to seven, or to eight?
Here are eight worry stoppers to expand your tally:
Pray, first. "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him...(I Peter 5:7 AMP)
Easy now. Slow down. "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him (Ps. 37:7).
Act on it. The moment a concern surfaces, deal with it. Don't dwell on it. Head off worries before they get the best of you. Be a doer, not a stewer.
Compile a worry list. Over a period of days record your anxious thoughts. Then review them. How many of them turned into a reality?
Evaluate your worry categories. Detect recurring areas of preoccupation that may become obsessions. Pray specifically about them.
Focus on today. God meets daily needs daily. He will give you what you need when it is needed.
Unleash a worry army. Share your feelings with a few loved ones. Ask them to pray with and for you.
Let God be enough. "Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." (Matt. 6:32-33 NLT).
Eight steps. Pray, first. Easy, now. Act on it. Compile a worry list.Evaluate your worry categories. Focus on today. Unleash a worry army. Let God be enough.
© (Thomas Nelson, 2009),