Experiencing God’s Kingdom

taling-pic-of-castleExperiencing God’s Kingdom is your goal.  You’ve taken a good picture of what you believe it looks like.  However, there’s so much drab and rainy weather – not to mention the muddy roads between you and personally enjoying the King’s castle.

Stress Mud

Why can’t there just be a clear, dry, untwisting road between me and my destination?  With every step I take, it seems like I slip (and too often) fall down.  My hopes and commitments (once again) to keep myself clean from the mess around me is beginning to seem more impossible by the day.

There’s the King’s castle.  But how am I going to get there?  Will I ever be able to do anything more than take a picture?  Will I personally experience the atmosphere of it’s love, peace, and joy?

The Quiet Whisper Within

An almost imperceptible whisper penetrates through the chaotic din of noise that surrounds me.  It’s quiet and gentle but has an unearthly quality that pierces the darkness of doom like the first rays of the sun on an overcast day.

Here’s The Way

I am impressed and influenced by an intuition to look inside past the muddy road and allow myself to be guided by a heart beat that is not my own.  When I say those words out loud that sound confusing and illogical.  But, somehow my invisible self knows what they mean.

I’m being challenged to listen for a heart beat that is not my own like a mother listens for sound of her baby in the other room.  There’s another room inside of this body, and I have ears to perceive it.

heartbeat-clipart-clipart-best-amaeun-clipart

 

 

It sounds like love.  It feels like peace.  It seems to be wrapped in a cloak of joy that gives strength to its pulsing.

What I’m hearing is the echo of Jesus’ heart!

As I pay attention, the rhythm gets clearer.  It awakens a fresh desire in the core of my being.  I want to pay attention to You.  You give me life.  You give me wisdom.  You fill my heart beat with Your own.

There’s a reason why the Scriptures counsel us to look unto Jesus, rather than doctrines, and opinions of every sort.  It’s Jesus where the life of God’s Kingdom is found.

Not a Method – Instead a Man

I’m always looking for a “right method” to navigate the muddy paths of life.  But, those methods are natural wisdom.  Natural wisdom has its own legitimacy.  But, God’s Kingdom is spiritual in origin.  The path is traversed spiritually.  The distractions are spiritual in nature and motivation.  Therefore, guidance and victory on the path can only be achieved by follow a Spiritual Man not a natural opinion, doctrine, or method.

Be cautious.  Some will think that following the Man of Scripture is knowing and relying upon words about the Man.  It is not.  Truth about the Man and about His heartbeat may help focus our thoughts.  But, hearing and experiencing – in a personal, intimate way – the “sound” of His Heartbeat is the only sure way to navigate the muddy path to the castle without getting your shoes and cloths dirty.

Practice listening.  Practice feeling.  Practice sensing.  The Man is closer than your breath.  Ask Him for ears to hear and then practice quietly listening.  The result is your salvation.

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

When There’s Not Enough Money

one-dollar-bills-8875868Especially in the current world economy, for a high percentage of people, there doesn’t seem to be enough to go around.  Sometimes it’s the result of bad financial decisions.  Other times it’s a result of issues totally out of one’s control.

I don’t know about you, personally, but I deal with a short supply more often than I like.  The reasons are all of the above.  Previously poor credit decisions as well as things totally out of my control.

I’ve made an important discovery that is supporting my emotional welfare a great deal on the issues of “shortage.”

I Am Fully Convinced

The thing is…I am fully convinced that God’s word, character, and reputation are absolutely true.  Philippians 4:19 says, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

I don’t need to beg Him to do what He’s already promised is “in the bank.”  In fact, my custom is not to ask Him to supply my needs.  I make a habit, instead, of thanking Him for what is already a done deal.

Why, then, do so many people that believe the same thing struggle with their emotions on this?

A Solution For The Emotional Struggle

In my case, I changed my prayer.  I’m suggesting that the same thing will work for you.  Instead of putting all my “faith eggs” in one basket (“He’ll supply all my needs, He’ll supply all my needs, He’ll supply all my needs…”) my prayer is a Daily Bread Wisdom request.  It goes something like this…

“Heavenly Father, it is my foregone conclusion that all my needs are being supplied by You.  For that I am deeply and faithfully grateful.  My request now, Lord, is that you give me today’s grace of wisdom to wisely manage what I have at the moment.”

What I Discovered

My emotional struggle wasn’t with trust in His “end game” for me.  The stress was struggling with daily wisdom. 

As I’ve made daily wisdom my focus, the emotional stress is greatly reduced.  With the daily wisdom I have a more peaceful appreciation of, “this is what I can do…this is what takes care of today.”

Frankly…especially in Prosperity Oriented Western Society…we have the added internal pressure that “things are not supposed to be like this.”  We feel like the goal is the good life that doesn’t have to be concerned with where money will come from.  After all…isn’t that the sign of God’s greatest blessing and pleasure on your life??   –  Wrong-o…Buck-o.

Any time our lives are resting on God Sufficiency rather than Self Sufficiency, we are ahead of the game in being what God has called us to be as His ambassadors.   That doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to have “boooko bucks” in our earthly bank account.  But, it does mean that God can call on a withdrawl on that fullness at any time. 

In the end, we have what we have.  We don’t own what we have.  Relatively speaking, we should all be God’s paymasters.  With deep reserves comes deep responsibility (or ability to respond).

Believe God for the long haul.  Ask for wisdom for the daily bread that you have.

Gary

 

The Encouragement Of The Double Rainbow Over Washington D.C.

double-rainbow-over-dc-pano-july8_livingstonOn July 8, 2015 a serious natural storm was bearing down on Washington D.C.  As the weather folks stated, “Nothing much came of the storm, but the double rainbow that immediately replaced it became the star of the show.

Here’s what I believe.  The 777 Urgent Call to Prayer Initiative spearheaded by Ruth Graham Lots a week earlier was heard.

Multiplied Thousands Nationwide Responded

You may feel like this is just a coincidence, but as a Jesus Follower, I don’t worship a god named, Coincidence.  Multiplied thousands nationwide responded to the 7 day prayer and fasting initiative.  In concert with that call came the beginning of the “If 7:14” tour with the books author, Bob Vanderpladt and the musicians, The Newsboys. (Learn more here)

A Storm Was Moving In

A literal severe natural storm was moving in on the nations capitol.  I believe, in context, that was a natural metaphor for what has been happening in the invisible world of spirit.

The Storm Was Replaced

rainbow-washington-dc

For some time, calls have been going out about the dangers facing our nation spiritually and for the need for serious prayer.  I do not believe previous initiatives have been for naught.  I believe everything works together for good.  I believe that the first serious prayer for a reviving of God’s people began it’s work of being heard in Heaven.

Apparently, at least in my opinion, the most recent intercessions reached a tipping point.  And, God responded with a promise much like that to Noah.  The covenant rainbow.

The Lessons To Be Realized

There are probably several.  I would just like to point out a few that are the most obvious to me:

  1. God does respond to prayer.  Even when it seems He may not be responding, know that He is working in the invisible places and we need to keep persisting in our response to what He calls for.  Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle.
  2. The “prayer connection” is vital to the promises of God’s words being fulfilled.
  3. National governmental crisis has been averted.  I do not believe this necessarily means that everything is smooth sailing ahead.  But, I do believe that the main thing is the main thing and prayer is vital on a personal level and a national level.  I heard an Evangelist say one time that he was questioned about why a wonderful revival that had started had dissipated.  His response was gold.  He asked, “What were you doing when it began?”  The church responded, we were on our knees in fervent prayer.”  He added, “Then I would say you should have stayed there.”   It is classic in contemporary life and biblical times that once circumstances take a turn for the good and the pressure is off, that seeking God becomes more lax.  We must continue focusing on with a daily prayer initiative for our own lives and for government issues – both local and national.

What It Doesn’t Mean (IMHO)

I did a teaching on Sunday morning, July 7, that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a promise to America of governmental revival and healing.  But, instead, the only authentic way to apply this Hebrew land promise to us today is on a “personal land level.”  We must individually humble ourselves before God on a personal level, for ourselves first.

However, having said that, I do believe that the Lord loves the natural land of His people that live there (including any country you might name).  I do believe that His people on the most basic levels of leadership (or none officially) are potentially a wall of protection when they are submitted to God first.  Submitted (not in words only) but in observable action.  As someone said, “The man runs fastest who runs on his knees.”

I know really good, sincere people who believe the answer is getting the right people in political power.  Bob Vanderpladt said at the “If 7:14” gathering in Davenport, IA, “I do not believe the the person on Air Force One is what will bring revival.  I hope Air Force One is a part of it, but the right person on the plane is not what the promise is about.”

Righteousness exalts a nation.  I believe that.  Righteous men and women in office have the potential to do great things for their country.  I also don’t doubt that involvement in the political scene is what many men and women are called to.  But, I also believe the power source in getting them there and keeping them there (unscathed and pure) is much more of a spiritual initiative than a natural “best guy for the job in my opinion” natural political initiative.

We need to have righteous people in office to be a Godly influence and bring Godly wisdom.  However, the Washington Power Beast” has proven to corrupt many good men and women.  It’s not their “right politics” that keeps them there.  [Right politics in your opinion].

Regardless of what you, my reader, may think of Pat Robertson, (and I am not an advocate of everything he believes), he was quoted as saying something at the time he was running for office.  He said that he was actually glad that he didn’t make it through the primaries.  He said the forces in the political arena were far more powerful and destructive than he had imagined and that it may well have destroyed him.

It’s About The Concerted Personal And Corporate Prayer Initiative

I said it in the above words.  Nothing much to add to that.  So, I’m going to end with a prayer:

Heavenly Father…I believe you have set in the sky an encouragement and I so thank you for it.  Now, may you give us the revelation of heart of where our priorities, regardless of our gifts and callings, lay.  Motivate us by Your Spirit as we see the roots of how we can better respond to you.  In the fame of Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Please respond with your thoughts…

Gary

 

This May Be Killing Prayer For You

Krisenmanagement-lPrayer is something everyone knows is “the right thing”…”the righteous thing.”  However, there’s a lot of guilt surrounding that knowledge.  Guilty feelings about anything are never helpful.

So let’s look quickly and simply reveal the “elephant in the room.”  Let’s expose why so many people intuitively know the right thing about pray, but seldom or consistently put an “ing” on the end of the word, prayer.

What’s it all about Alfie?

Okay, that dates me.  That’s the title song of a movie that’s nearly 50 years old.  So, let’s ask a more audience inclusive question.

Why Don’t I Seem To be Able to Put an “ing” On the End of Prayer?

Perhaps it’s because you are trying to use your fork as a soup spoon.   (Whuhhh??)
Yes, maybe you keep attempting to utilize prayer in a way that it wasn’t designed to function.

If you are using PRAYER primarily for CRISIS MANAGEMENT, then it’s a prescription for failure.

Crisis Management Praying is Normally “the Norm” for Most People

A good ratio for prayer as “crisis management” is no more than ten percent.  Here are the some of the reasons:

  1. More than 10% C.M. keeps us consciously need focused.
    Frankly, a mind that is constantly need focused isn’t a peaceful mind.  And most people try to avoid a “conflicted” atmosphere.  Can you see how that would position praying as something we might actually be avoiding?
  2. More than 10% C.M. distracts us from God’s primary prayer purpose.
    The primary purpose for prayer can be summed up with these two ideas:
  • Developing Friendship with God
  • Developing Partnership with God

Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, I call you friends.”  A friend (in the biblical description of the word) includes both the ideas of intimate relationship, and common goals.

We talk to our close friends about needs in our lives, and even things that each can help each other with.  But, if our relationship with our close friends is constantly consumed with “bailing each other out,” then that relationship begins to feel “needy.”  It eventually separates rather than further bonds.

Magic Suggestion: 

  • Talk to the Lord every day for the next 7 days for a minimum of 2 minutes.
  • Do not talk to Him about your needs.  None of them!
  • Tell Him the things you are the most thankful for
  • Brag on Him.  Be as specific as possible
  • Do it again for another week
  • When a pressing need arises, simply thank Him, in a few words that you are grateful that He supplies all of our needs, and then move on.

This is a “money back” guarantee.  It will begin having a positive affect on your overall peace, joy, love, etc.   The curious thing to me is that solutions to issues you didn’t even talk to Him about begin “popping up.”

Jesus is cool that way!  Btw…it will take some work and dedication to change your approach because we are soooo used to prayer and praying being primarily a Crisis Management Tool,
and that is never what God had in mind.

Final Thought:

When trying to deepen your relationship with the Lord, know this.  The things you most need to learn, you already know.  What things do you already know about developing a great natural friendship?

We’d love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment and we will all benefit. 

Gary

 

 

 

 

Sandy Hook Elementary And Me

The nation is in a time of mourning. We are praying for the tragic events in CT. It is right and just that we should do so. However, the emotion will wear off for most of us, other than those most deeply affected. Much like 911. This deep tragedy will be replaced in the news cycle within the next few weeks. I BELIEVE THERE ARE PRACTICAL RESPONSE (RATHER THAN REACTION) decisions that can be made by you and I right now that will keep us going in a direction that we have the individual power to go. One suggestion is that each of us “prayer adopt” the school closest to our homes. If you wish you may want to download this image, choose your school, write it on the card, and place it on your refrigerator or some other obvious reminder space. Let’s do more than react. Let’s respond with one of the most powerful weapons we possess. Effectual fervent prayer.

How To Experience Blessings

There’s a very common prayer.  It goes something like this, “God we pray that you bless…”  I’ve prayed it.  I will likely pray those words again. I’m not suggesting it’s “bad” prayer.   However, I’m becoming more and more firmly convinced it falls short  of being a “best” most effective, accurate prayer.

Here’s why:

The overwhelming truth of Ephesians 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

The catch in many sincere minds is the “in heavenly places” part.  After all, we live in the nasty now and now.  Not the sweet by and by.  We need to be blessed where we live now….right?

Well, of course right.  The issue is the location of “heavenly places.” 

<Quick aside if you’ll permit me.  I’m not talking about putting on a positive spiritual front and parroting a few obvious things we should be thankful for.  I’m talking about things we begin to recognize, receive, embrace, and enjoy with all our hearts.  The “peace bringer” kind of blessings>

So…heavenly places.  Where is that?  That’s a two sided coin:

  1. The heavenly region.  The abode of God and the angels.
  2. Of heavenly origin or nature.

In “time before time” the passion of God’s heart was to bless mankind.  Upon the sinful act of man, the remedy had to be done according to the law of the universe.  Jesus would fit the bill with perfection.  Therefore, it was decided.  In and through Jesus blessings were to be, once again, lavished upon mankind.  Only one thing flips that switch.  Believing what He says.

Now this is where a sincere person will often retort, “if you’re not walking in sin.”  Well, that’s sorta true…except many good Christians I know don’t know what that means.  It’s not a matter of God seeing someone sin, and withdrawing His hand of blessing.  (No need to go, but, but, but, here.)

You see, when you or I commit sins, it means we “reposition” our faith onto what we can accomplish by our own efforts and abilities.  That’s really what sin is.  Unplugging from the True Source to get the satisfaction we feel we deserve and that God is withholding…or taking His far too sweet time about.

So, since we have now unplugged from the Superior Source and placed our faith in the inferior (sin), the result is about the same as one would get trying to suck caramel through a straw.  He didn’t withhold blessing.  We unplugged our faith from Jesus and reconnected our faith to ourselves.

One’s born again spirit is also the resident of heavenly places in Christ.  The blessing resides with us; Even if dormant through ignorance or unbelief.

Therefore, I would suggest that a better prayer would be, “Father, I thank You that You have blessed me/whoever.”  “I also ask that You give me clearer eyes to see the multitude of blessings that are mine.  Especially those that are all around me that I’ve been blindly tripping over.” 

There is nothing you can do… to get God to do… what He’s already done… through Jesus.  You can’t be good enough.  He already was.  You can’t be holy enough.  He already is.  Face tomorrow knowing that it’s already been blessed by God.  Trust.  May the Holy Spirit give us eyes to see and hearts to embrace what we already own.

What do you think?  I’d look forward to discussing this with you.

Gary

P.S.  Sometimes we have the word “blessing” personally locked into too small of a box.  We look for our specific definitions of what we think “blessing” will look like when we receive them.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you enlarge what a blessing looks, feels, and acts like.