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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is This The Time?

Listening to Sovereign (Deluxe Edition) by Michael W. Smith https://itun.es/us/IxEWZ

Second Kings chapter five has a very peculiar story about the healing of a commander army general named Naaman. A man who was greatly admired by his king. A man who had been used by The Lord to achieve great victories for his nation. 

[See 2 Kings 5:1-27 NLT]

Through a series of occurrences this great army commander finds himself healed & on his way back to his country. After a simple act of obedience by the word of the prophet. Elisha, one of Israel's true prophets had sent forth instructions for Naaman to receive his healing; & after some hesitation, took heed of it. And this is where I want to bring some light into our story. 

Naaman was filled with joy & wanted to bless the prophet with many gifts but Elisha would not have it. Gehazi, Elisha's servant however felt differently. And figured that 'this time', his master had missed it. His master should have at least taken a small gift or something of that sort. Gehazi therefore demonstrates his greed after his conclusion of his master's "mistake." 

He says, to himself, "My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts. As surely as The Lord lives, I will chase after him and get something from him." Then he takes off in a chase after this man's chariot to insinuate & say to the commanding officer that the prophet, his master had other prophets visiting & will be needing 75 lbs of silver & two sets of clothing. Not only is this servant being deceitful, but also he is making his master look bad. As if the prophet had genuinely changed his mind. 

Let's pick up In the last two verses...

v26 "But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants? Because you have done this, you and your descendants will suffer from Naaman’s leprosy forever.” When Gehazi left the room, he was covered with leprosy; his skin was white as snow. (2 Kings 5:26, 27 NLT) [Italics used for emphasis]

I love how Elisha is so precise in his conversation with his servant & shows us a timely lesson here. A great reminder to us that for everything there is a time in heaven & on earth. There is not anything inherently wrong with receiving. Jesus does teach us, that it is better to give than to receive. Yes, certainly greater joy comes from giving. True. But also, when someone is giving; on the other end- somebody else is receiving. So again, the error here was not in the receiving of something. It became a heart issue, due to its timing. Timing in its essence represents wisdom. And displays the condition of the heart. 

So when the fullness of time has come- "it" - "he or she" will come. It says in the psalms that if we commit everything we do to The Lord & trust Him, then He will help us. [see Ps. 37:5 NLT]

His help is should mean more than anything else. Since His help is a representation of His presence; His empowerment to live how He wants us to live. By His Holy Spirit to do, to say, & to embrace what He wants us to. Ultimately, Him being the end result as our reward. Jesus. And everything He wants to give to us, but all in His time. 

Prayer/Commitment:

Father, today. We commit everything, & that means everything to you. And we trust you believing that you will help us causing your favor to be poured out daily in our lives. Allow this lesson about timing to sink deep into our hearts & help us to walk wisely & humbly before you - through Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name. Amen. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Visit, From The King


Listening to: Bethel (spontaneous song) 


"...and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day." (Gen.32:22-31)

As I listened to this man I spoke with this morning. A man of God, a pastor friend of mine - we spoke and shared life a bit. He talked with me about the man that I am. And he said, "You are like a man that walks with a limp, & you need to rejoice in that."

Funny thing is, in conversation with the LORD earlier this week, I mentioned to Him, "God I feel like Jacob. Like I am a man that walks with a limp." There is a reason, why I feel like this is important to share. That reason is simply because there is something special that happens to all of us when we get wounded out of prevailing. I will explain this point further in the next few sections. 

What I believe that happened to Jacob was simply a metaphor for all of us that says, 

Yes at some points you will be alone, but please realize that you are not alone. I am here with you. And we are engaged in a match of life. I have called you with a purpose. I lead, you follow. I direct, you obey. I love, you respond. I am here to take you on a journey & even if I have to slay you/wound you. It is only a necessary thing that needs to happen. I made you. I know you. I have a plan that is good & not evil for you...

Seeing God face to face means. Being stripped away of the things that are attached to us; to our hearts so closely, & yet do not need to be there. A death of self.

The encounter that our father Jacob had with the angel & prevailed depicts an attitude that says, I will not let go. I will not let up until I have received all the promises of God. He did not let the odds or chances of winning deter his focus on the promise Giver. He went after God with all His heart & held on to Him for dear life. I wonder, truly - I do wonder; if we had as much resolve & determination as Jacob did... where would we be? Maybe in a land, called "Greater Works." This would be a place where Jesus said we'd be at. Doing greater works than He did.

Ah yes. Speaking of land. I also spoke with my Dad this morning & shared with him that lately I've been thinking of how important it is to consider what it is to own some land. Basically what I am meaning is with double expression to both physical & spiritual application. Furthermore, land can have precious minerals, valuables, & can be cultivated. To me, owning land means a type of richness. Now spiritually speaking - how much land do you own? Where have you set your feet upon? Doesn't God say that where ever you set your feet upon, it shall be yours? Where have you become an owner of? Is it Peniel - a place where you have met God?

Right where you are. Wherever life may have brought you to. Or perhaps there may even be circumstances that you are in because of some poor choices you have made in the past. Can I say something as you have already graciously allowed me to do so - stop focusing on what has happened in the past. And start centering your focus on the Center of the universe, Christ Himself. Know that you have prevailed in your surrender, as little of a thing that it may seem to you. The point is that surrender has begun, & believe you me. He will touch your hip, to remind you who you have met. This, all this - yes, this type of encounter with God is meant for your freedom. For freedom's sake once & for all! (See Gal. 5:1)

As a loving Father, that God is to us His children. He loves & disciplines us when we don't even really know we are getting out of line. He loves us. 

God is love. And we are wholly His. No devil can say or do anything to counter that we belong to God. Children of the Light. In a crazy wrestling match for Truth, the Blessing of God most High. And our eager display of response to His crazy & amazing love that keeps on coming is all a part of His plan. A love story indeed. A visit from the King will change us. It will change everything, including the 'way we walk' & even how we see life with the vision that's been given us, even up to daybreak!

Prayer:

Father God, continue to show up in our lives like You already do. Devastate us as you must, so that we can be ruined for anything else other than You. Woo us. Pursue us. And fill us again with a fresh touch & a new infilling of Your Holy Spirit. That we may be empowered believers & walk out the rest of our days differently, like You've called us to do so. In Jesus' mighty name. Amen.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hear the Call...Like The Woman At The Well Did


Listening to iBethel.tv as I write this...

Ring, ring, ring -- ring, ring, ring -- common' -- is someone gonna get that!?? Yep. We've all been there.

Busy. Please leave a message at the beep!

Overworked. I don't have time for that right now...fill in the (blank).

Yes, if we all had more time. If we only had more hours in the day, then we could do so much more!!!

Well, does any of this sound familiar? It may. Or it may not, but my guess is - that yes to some degree or another we have all felt slightly over booked. And maybe not as energized as we should. But what I want to do is be able to -- if you allow me -- to take you on a journey of worship. On a journey that allows you to take flight to a place, where maybe it's not visited by as many as it should. Not because its for a special person per say or a select few, but simply because we may sometimes not really know the way. Let's take a closer look at a familiar story that is found in John 4. Where Jesus, meets a woman. And the woman hears the call.

So the story unfolds a bit like this. Jesus & his disciples had been traveling & ministering. They were busy doing God's work, but there in the midst of life & their ministry. There is a divine appointment. A call that needs to take place. Here in this passage a phrase sticks out at me...

It's found in verse 4, where it says, He had to go through Samaria on the way.

Why did Jesus, the Son of God have to go out of His way - stop what He was doing - go and visit a place that was not so convenient? Location wise, because it was out of the way, and also because it was a place where Jews considered it a socially misfit thing to engage with its inhabitants - the Samaritans. To me this sentence sticks out simply emphasizing the will of the Father. It was God's will that Jesus would stop by Samaria & allow the woman to know Him, to have an opportunity to answer the Savior's Call with conviction. So much so, that instantly she becomes a fired up evangelist. Let's take a look at the account: (Jn. 4:4-24 NLT)

He had to go through Samaria on the way.  Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.  Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her,  “Please give me a drink.”    He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.  She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied,  “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?  And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” Jesus replied,  “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.    But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” “Go and get your husband,”  Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said,  “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet.  So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,  where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied,  “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.    You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews.    But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.    For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (NLT from www.Bible.com)

Bottom line. The woman hears the call. Answers, the Savior of the world after she hears him calling her. Calling her our of darkness, out of mediocrity, out of a place of religion. Out from under there & into a real relationship with Himself. Into the way of worship, not the place of worship. But simply Jesus teaches the woman about the posture of the heart & how it needs to be when approaching God. Thirsty, in need of Him. Knowing that He satisfies. And it must be done with protocol - in Spirit & in Truth. So as she hears the call - to repent of her sins & trust in Him, the Son of God...the Messiah who saves. She also realizes that He is worthy. Worthy to be praise & worshiped. So she begins to worship Him out of an obedient heart after Jesus asks her to "Go and get your husband." She goes on, and brings an entire city, because she wants them to encounter what & whom she has encountered there at the well. She hears the call.

I guess the question would be? Where are you? Yeah, physically, yes emotionally, & spiritually. Where is the Savior finding you at right now? Do you hear...can you hear His call? I know you can. His voice is loud & clear. We who are His people, His children are able to hear Him calling because we are His. (see John 10:9-10) Being His, gives us a place of belonging. You & me now belong to the family of God. When we believed in Christ as our Redeemer. Yes, everything changed. And at His word, everything can continue to change -- again & again. And again, once we hear His call. Once we hear Him calling out to us & we answer it with a fullness of heart & a complete surrender to His voice. Hear The Lord calling? Then its time to answer.

He is mighty to save. He is ready & willing to deliver us from sin. From the heavy load we've been carrying. Whether for the first time, or for the one thousandth time...He wants to reach out to us. Let's dare to believe in a God who is good. In a God, who is interested in His creation - those made in His image. Yes, friends - God loves us!! And He is always calling us to Himself. 

Prayer:

Father, let us Lord, hear your call. Open our ears, our hearts, our minds, & let us ever turn to you in such a way. That every negative thing is yours. And every glorious promise is ours. Let us walk in the light of Your countenance. And let us hear the call of our beloved. Jesus. That we give you all the glory & all the honor, in Jesus' name. Amen.