You Can Exalt Your Nation

The Righteous OnesYep, the Supreme Court of the United States of America did it alright.  From the social media reactions of many concerned Christians, it might be assumed that “The Sky Is Falling!!!”

Same Sex Marriage Is Now The Law Of The Land

My point is not to add another cup of gasoline to the the social media fire storm. That would be pointless.   And, this post is certainly not about “setting up camp” with either side of the righteous indignation debate. 

I simply want to insert a few talking points that could challenge us to think more clearly rather than re-actively.

What Do I Appreciate?

  1. I appreciate the freedoms I have enjoyed as an earthly citizen of the USA.  Even with changes, and having lived and ministered in other countries, I love best my nation.  I remember coming across the border at various times and crying when I saw the “Red, White, and Blue” waving gracefully in the wind.
  2. I appreciate all of the men and women who have given their lives in service for the country.  I do not take them lightly.
  3. I appreciate many of the men and women who have strong political drives and focus.  I don’t doubt, whatsoever, that what stirs in them is a flaming ember that is a special gift and calling from God.
  4. I appreciate the fact that sincere Godly people have sincerely different views on the political climate.  And, I believe – by in large – each has something profitable to contribute to the discussion.

Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation…”

The word “righteousness” is a many faceted gem of colors and brightness.  It cannot be contained in a simple definition.  As a matter of fact, I believe that it is often easier to understand God’s heart in the Scriptures with a description rather than a definition.  Definitions tend to cause divisions among “the brethren” because each is convinced they know the correct Scriptural/Biblical meaning or definition.

In simple terms, righteousness encompasses the ideas and multiple hues of being truthful, intentionally aiding the poor, and walking upright and at peace with God.

May I Suggest?

Most people probably think about Proverbs 14:34 in terms of “righteous acts”  However, I’d like to add another layer that I believe is applicable to the topic of this post.  “The Righteous Ones Exalt Their Nation.”

(Note:  Exalts in this proverbs is in the verb form that means the act of nurturing, or raising up children.  Ie:  Aiding the process of maturity)

As I’ve already stated, I believe that many with strong motivations for governmental righteousness have those stirrings by God’s initiative within their spiritual dna.  (Governmental and Political are not necessarily the same thing…if ever)

Prophets Among Us

The prophetic voices in the Scriptures address their messages from God to His people.  They are anointed and insightful words of wisdom and encouragement from the heart of God with the purpose of directing their attention back to Him.

They are anointed and insightful words of wisdom and encouragement from the heart of God with the purpose of directing the attention of THE RIGHTEOUS ONES back to Him.

The Righteous Ones Need Prophet Voices With Prophetic Strategies!

Please…please…hear from God and speak to us His heart, purpose, and spiritual strategies instead of simply voicing displeasure over the political climate. 

The prophets sounded the alarm but they also gave hope to His people if THEY would repent from their own wickedness.

Let’s Also Consider:

  • Why would we expect the unrighteous to legislate righteousness?  After all, the righteous only act righteously out of a new nature.  And, any that think they do righteousness without revelation are not living in reality.
  • The righteous have already been winking at unrighteous acts (sexual and otherwise) for several decades, at least.  Why is the sky just now falling?
  • The message of Jesus was counter-cultural.  Why do counter cultural decisions by the unrighteous surprise and enrage us?  And, why do those decisions, too often, foment “the sky is falling” proclamations without words of hope for those that return to God? (Btw…you can’t “return to Him, if you were never with Him to begin with.
  • How does our public rage over the decisions of the unrighteous give us a platform to speak to the hearts of those caught in sins traps?  Unless, of course, you don’t care if you ever have their ear.
  • When did Jesus or Paul look to Cesar for wisdom and “the good life?”
  • What “Kingdom/Government” does our Father call us to invest our energies into?

The Righteous Ones are in a better position than ever to be who they were destined by their Father to be.  Let’s be that.

Invest time in allowing the Spirit of God to show you how to respond in an ever shifting earthly culture.

Remember…to help someone from sinking in the quick sand, we have to be standing on solid ground.  And Jesus already said that solid ground is the product of a revelation from God’s spirit…..not Fox, CNN, or CNBC.

PERHAPS IT’S TIME (AND LONG PAST) FOR THE CHURCH TO GET IT’S ACT TOGETHER AND REPENT FOR HER OWN SIN.

Gary

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban Legend Christianity

Breakthrough“Higher Levels, Higher Devils”

In my opinion my opening sentence is one of Christianity’s “Urban Legends.”

But, I do believe the statement on the meme…”Greater Breakthroughs = Greater Blessings.”

<Sputtering…>  But, but, but, don’t you believe in the devils??

It depends on what you mean.  Do I believe in the devil (like) put my confidence in him?  No. 

However…do I believe in him (as in) do I believe he exists and loves to cause trouble?   Yep, I do.

Why Did I Call “Higher Levels, Higher Devils” and Urban Legend?

An urban legend is something that is build on stories told by people that are based in their own interpretation of circumstantial evidence that is not consistently supported by Scripture.

I have yet to be able to make a case from the Word of God that instructs us in a belief system for daily life that makes the point, “higher levels, higher devils.”

Does the Bible teach a hierarchy of what is called powers and principalities?  Yes, it does.  Therefore, I believe that it’s true that there is a “power ranking” in the demonic order.

Do I believe that “the higher” I go in spiritual responsibility and ministry that it means I am coming face to face with higher ranking of evil spirits?  No so much.

“Going Higher”

What does that mean, in spiritual reality, anyway?  At least in Western Society, we place great value in “climbing the ranks.”  But, as a Kingdom of God principle, I believe the idea is left wanting.

Faith Works…Period

If your heart and mind have faith confidence in what God says, it will come to pass.  The thing is, it also works “in reverse.”

I believe that we can believe with great confidence that the more breakthrough (breaking off of old hindering chains) we have, the greater blessings we will experience.  Not so much because God was waiting for us to “do it or believe it right” but because our old patterns of thinking and believing was hindering us from experiencing what is already our privilege and provision through Jesus Christ.

Too many sincere Christians live by too many “Urban Legends.”  I encourage you to ask the Lord where you may be being affected by this one, or something else.

Then read and research the Scriptures to decide what they actually say, and not what Western Style Logic and “Wisdom” interprets them to mean.

Remember:  Religion and Christian Urban Legends Create Atheism

Gary

 

Jesus My Servant

washing-feetJesus MY Servant??!!

Scandalous!  Absurd!  Blasphemous!

Jesus is not MY Servant!  I am HIS Servant!! 

Would you like to learn more of Him?

Then you must let Jesus wash your feet.

The practice of washing the feet of a visitor to one’s home was a practical courtesy and was typically the job of the servant of the house.  It cleansed and refreshed one’s feet after a long, dusty journey.

John 13 tells us the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.  It was during the Passover meal, and it was meant, by Jesus, to teach an important lesson to the disciples.  And – at first – Peter wasn’t having it. Before you are too harsh with ol’ Pete…consider how you would have reacted to Jesus.

I was celebrating my normal morning devotions as the music was helping me stir the embers of my soul.  The gentle breeze of these words brought the warmth of tears to my eyes:

              “Lord teach me to let You wash my feet.”

Peter was a good, sincere, follower of Jesus.  He recognized Him as his Master.  Understandably, it was Peter’s intent and desire to serve Jesus.  Not the other way around.  (Perhaps like you feel?)

But Jesus basically told Peter that he wouldn’t understand a relationship with Him unless he (Peter) allowed Jesus to be his servant.

There is something really important for us to learn here.  Honestly, it takes the help of the Holy Spirit to “get it.”  It has to be taught to us.  All He is waiting for is that you ask Him.

         “Jesus, teach me to let You wash my feet.”

We won’t truly be blessed in the way that the Lord wants to bless us unless we submit to Him washing our feet (serving us).

It seems scandalous.  Blasphemous.  Absurd.  However, to do so kills our pride and self reliant ambition.  And, it causes our love for Him to burn brighter than it ever has before.

Gary

 

No Longer Rejected

Sun-rays-in-forestOne of the messages from Isaiah 62 that we embrace through Jesus Christ: “I am no longer Forsaken and neither is my place in this world called Desolate. For now, Lord, You call me Your Delight. I am owned, in covenant with, and protected by You, Lord. I thank and praise You that You now know me by my new name, “Sought Out!” Add to that Prov. 4:18, “Through Jesus Christ, I am on the path of righteousness that grows brighter day by day.” I don’t believe in saying scriptures like attempts to “work magic.” However, I do believe that praying God’s Word from the faith intention of the heart has the effect of re-educating our minds and transforming the way we look at life.

Because I have embraced Jesus, I have a great hope.  I am no longer call myself desolate.  I not long think of myself as forsaken.  I am His Delight because He says I am.  I am not rejected, but I am “Sought Out!”

Soak your mouth and your mind in that reality.  Breath it daily.

Gary

What Moves God’s Hand?

hand_ofgod2We realize areas of lack in our lives.  Insufficiency is part of the human frame.   We need the “Hand of God” to be moving for us.

But, what moves God’s Hand?  I desperately need Him to move on my behalf.

God’s Heart Moves God’s Hand

It’s easy to get into theoretical religious discussions on the subject.  Truth be told, most of the considerations – whether serious debates, or simple viewpoints – have some of the essences of truth.  As I like to say, “That’s not inaccurate.  It’s just incomplete.”  However, too many become confusingly and legalistically rigid.

“Faith Moves God’s Hand”

Of course, we are instructed in the Scriptures to conduct the affairs of our lives (walk) by faith.  But, faith in what?

It is appropriate – even vital – to be in agreement with the principles of God’s Heart.  That is without question.

However, the question is what moves God’s hand?

“Love Moves God’s Hand”

As with any human child and parent relationship, the parent desires to hear the agreement of his or her child.  But, the motivation of love is what moves the hand of the parent on the child’s behalf.

As with the parent, God loves to hear the sound of His child’s voice.  His heart is moved, and through His wisdom, His Hand is moved on our behalf.

God’s heart is stirred by His love for us.  As we engage with Him – as we intentionally call upon Him – His hand will move on our behalf regardless because of His stirrings of love.

His wisdom filled love will “move” in different ways depending on His knowledge of our need.

Is There Value In “Faith Confessions”

Yes.  But, not for the purpose of “moving the Hand of God.”  The value of repeating Bible verses is for self instruction (IMHO).   We need to assist the training of our minds with learning what the Scriptures say about issues of life as they relate to the Kingdom of God.

But training our minds to be in agreement with the realities of God’s Kingdom is simple part of good discipleship.  And, in that self training, diligence needs to be given to humble accuracy regarding what those verses are saying.

(Side note:  Head effort alone will not get anyone to the Heart of God’s Word.  We must rely on our conscious partnership with the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears.)

So, back to the original question.  What moves the Hand of God?

His Love For Us

His hand will not be moved to do everything we say in the way our “wisdom” (or panic) is asking for…..regardless of how many times we repeat the same verses over and over and over….

His love always contains His wisdom.  They cannot be separated. 

Therefore, “love filled wisdom” will prevail.  But, love is the initiator.  Rest in the fact that HIS LOVE FOR YOU MOVES HIS HEART, NOT NECESSARILY THE PRECISE ACCURACY OF YOUR WORDS.

Gary

P.S.  Train yourself to be humbly accurate with the Scriptures.  It is always pleasing to the Lord for His children to be in agreement with Him.  But, it’s not the key.  Love is, and His methodology of response with be wisdom.

 

 

 

How Simple Faith Works Best

yesExercising faith is not always easy, but it should always be simple.

Complicated faith is the product of a “works” mindset.  It’s always about making sure “I do it right.”

Today, I want to share a simple story of how simple it is to “turn on” faith that receives God’s promises.

I was recently taking a member of my church home after our Sunday family gathering.  When I arrived at the entrance to her building, I saw a young lady who had visited us at The Sanctuary, Davenport a couple of times.  When I greeter her, she asked me the following question:

Do you think God wants to heal me?  I’m bi-polar and am diabetic.”

I talked with her for a few minutes and reminded her of some of the healing and miracle promises in the Bible.

(Side note:  I did not take a hyper faith attitude with her.  I simply quoted some of the scriptures for her to remember.  Otherwise, I believe she would have felt “scolded.”)

I then asked her if I could say “a little prayer” for her.  She said, yes, and I took her hands.  I then prayed a simple prayer – in a conversational tone – acknowledging the truth and surety of God’s grace for her life.   As I was saying amen, the following thought crossed my mind:

“I say Yes to my healing!”

I then gave the young lady this instruction based on what I sensed.  I said, “According to what God has said in the Bible, healing is part of what God desires for us….and you.  Therefore, every day it will be a simple matter of receiving His words as truth.”

I then went on to tell her she didn’t need to worry about saying the right things in prayer or “confession” of healing verses.  I said, it’s just like receiving Jesus into your heart and life.  Just say, Yes!  Every day (and whenever you think about it during the day) simply say to God, “I say yes to my bi-polar miracle.  I say yes to recovering from diabetes.”

I then asked her if she thought she could remember to do that.  With a big smile she said, “Yes.  I definitely can do that!”

The longer I help mentor people in the life that Jesus has already bought and payed for, the more I am convinced that we tend to make all of his life-giving principles into defeat-dealing rules of conduct.  What we too often call faith and grace is a new mask on fear and works.

We need, more than anything, to approach our relationship with the Lord and His life with a K.I.S.S.  (Keep It Simple Stup…err…Silly)

What have you discovered along the way?  Join the conversation in the comments.

Gary

 

 

Take A Deep Breath

yes-breathingWe are now taking a change of topics from Skepticism to issues of Spirit driven life.  Today, let’s “tease” a truth that comes from the commonly known phrase, “Take a deep breath.”

You hear it, say it, and experience it for a variety of reasons that attempt to “settle stress.”   Taking a deep breath is, in fact, the beginning, middle, and end of a peace wrapped life.  Unless, of course, you prefer stress, worry, and anxiety, to joy, peace, and confidence. :)  If you do, then…there’s a problem, wouldn’t you say? :)

Actually, there are people that, without realizing it, do prefer stress and conflict.  It’s the only place that feels “normal.”  One type of person that is often afflicted with this are children of alcoholics.   That is an important area that needs attention.  But, it is not the direct design of this post.

I’m going to let you “unpack” further personal insights of taking your own deep breath, because to be meaningful…you MUST do your own “work” on it.  That’s called pondering/meditation in and on the Word of the Lord.

But let me simply help you launch your own search with these simple thoughts:

  1. The NAME of God in the Old Testament is Yahweh.  Names in Hebrew culture are about meaning.  A root meaning of Yahweh is BREATH.  In fact to get an idea of how it sounds, you can say it breathing in as you voice YAH and voicing WEH as you exhale.
  2. In Genesis 2:7 Yahweh “breathed Himself” into Adam.  Not just what we think of as physical breath, but His very life.
  3. In John 10:10 you discover of promise of Jesus.  He said that He came that we might have life.  There are three words for life.  One is Bios, which is physical life.  Another is Psuche, which includes the soul process of decision making, emotions, and intellectual process to navigate in this earth.  Frankly, that is what most Christians think Jesus is promising…better earthly experiences.  Now…THAT is a fruit of it, but not the promise.  Because the promise is the very “engine.”  The third word is Zoe, the life of God, Himself.
  4. Some interpret that as an invitation to accept a limited (albeit wonderful) understanding of Salvation which means only being saved from hell so that one day upon death the “saved” will go to heaven.  I do believe in heaven and hell that the Scriptures teach, but I’m attempting to expand what Jesus was actually promising.

He said that you might have life.

  1. HAVE in the Greek is in the tense of owning or possessing (not passively, but actively).  It also is in the present tense meaning RIGHT NOW FOR PRESENT USE.
  2. MIGHT is a conditional statement.  Actively possessing the benefit of God’s very life is conditional.  What are the conditions?  Basically to put yourself in position for the Holy Spirit to act upon your spirit, soul, and body.

KEYS FOR YOU TO DEVELOP THAT ANSWER THE “HOW” OF POSITIONING:

  1. Personal Worship.  The kind where you are not asking for anything but to be “refashioned” after His likeness.  Asking for personal life stuff has it’s place, but not in “taking a deep breath”
  2. Personal Ponder of His Word.

Now it’s your turn to learn the journey of “deep breathing.”

Gary

Jesus Transformation Stories #1

Eye witness testimony is a powerful form of evidence in any courtroom.  It’s part of the legal system whereby guilt and innocence is found.

The New Atheist demands evidence with statements like, “The burden of proof is on you.”  However, by evidence, he/she means “scientific method” evidence.  They will not accept anecdote or personal testimony.

Without realizing it, they shoot themselves in the foot (and head) because they’ve used an argument that comes from a court of law; Not a scientific laboratory.

New Atheism claims that Jesus is just a myth, and was never a real person.  The eye witness testimony of four people in today’s video presentation gives powerful accounts of the active power of Jesus in the lives of people today.

Included:

1.  A Muslim woman is encountered by Jesus in her dreams.
2.  A man attempts to take his own life with his assault rifle.3.  A rodeo cowboy dies in the saddle and sees heaven.
4.  A woman’s life is threatened in a home invasion at midday.

These personal stories of evidence are just examples of what the power of Jesus can do in your life as well.   Watch the video and be encouraged:

 

Jesus Is And Never Was A Myth

In the latest edition of Everyday Faith, there is much evidence that contradicts the New Atheism claim that Jesus was never more than a myth concocted by the writers of a “mythical bible.”

The fact is that Jesus, the historical figure, and the Son of God that now lives within the heart of the Believer is very dangerous to the whole ideology of Naturalism that atheists follow.

If Jesus were not any more real that a sky ferry, or flying spaghetti monster, as atheists claim, what difference would it make.  He wouldn’t make a difference any anyone’s actual lives.  But, He makes a dramatic difference.

You can watch the video here:

 

I Don’t Base My Faith On The Bible

JESUS OVER BIBLENow that’s a very provocative way to begin my post, isn’t it?  Especially for a Christian pastor, eh?  (Maybe I’m loosing my way?)

Truth be told, I didn’t find my way by basing my life on the Bible.

[Keep reading.  Maybe you’ll discover why your faith doesn’t work the way you think it should.  Of course, I’m going to assume, here, that you are an honest person, okay?]  :)

I Do Believe The Bible

<murmering in the background>…”okay, Mabel, I’m confused.  Didn’t he just say he doesn’t base his life on the bible???”

You heard me correctly.  I don’t base how I live my life on the Bible.  And, truthfully speaking, I bet you don’t either.

I Base My Life On Jesus

I’m not just playing fast and loose with words, here.  There is actually quite a bit of difference between the two approaches.

Skeptic’s Accusation, “Why would any sane person base their lives on a brutal, contradictory book of fairy tales?”

A sane person wouldn’t base his or her life on a brutal, contradictory book of fairy tales.  And since I am a sane person with a touch of seasoning :), I don’t for two reasons:

  1.  That’s not what the Bible is
  2.  As already stated, I base my life on the example of Jesus

What Is The Bible?

The Bible is a library of literary genius made up of 66 different collections of literal historic accounts, poems, proverbs, eye witness testimony, and narratives.  Although it has extremely relevant application for today, it was not written by men like us to men and women like us.  It’s absolute truth must be understood by more than “couch potato diligence” to it’s contextual heartbeat.  [Yes.  ‘couch potato diligence’ is an oxymoron]

Why Do I Trust The Bible?

I trust the Scriptures because Jesus trusted the Scriptures.  Not the other way round.  In other words, I don’t trust in Jesus because I trust the Scriptures.  I trust the Scriptures because Jesus understood and trusted them.

“Jesus Is The Final Authority and Example For My Life”

I can’t answer for nor judge every man and woman who declares themselves to be Christian.  I know some precious Christian believers who are “historically Christian” by order and organization.  However, often times, Christianity is very little more than a variety of organized dogmas.  Let me clarify.  I’m not bashing organized Christianity.  I am simply saying that faith based on organized sets of dogma [even what’s known as Word Faith prescriptions] is a poor substitute for the gritty, gutsy, dirt under one’s fingernails, boots on the ground kind of faith that comes from “watching Jesus.”

The Bible is actually a very sophisticated genius collection of messages that tell God’s story and purpose for mankind.  A person wouldn’t realize that without giving it the kind of due it deserves.  But, it all points toward Jesus.  Faith arises from the story and example of Jesus.  The Scriptures give that story context.

As the Gospel chorus says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.  In the light of His glory and grace.”

One last thought:

It was Jesus who declared that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord God with all of the heart, soul, and MIND.

True faith isn’t for dummies, nor lazy minds.  Rest in a daily relationship with Jesus as the cornerstone for your life.  Intently investigate the Scriptures to exercise the ageless context of His Story.   Watch real faith grow!

Gary