Friday, November 28, 2008

A Believer's Responsibility...

Psalm 34 talks about Father God's deliverance,redemption and provision but, it also covers a few things that are up to us as believers...

The scripture says, " I sought the Lord,and he answered me..."(34:4); "Fear Him and He delivers..."(34:7); "Taste and See that the Lord is good...[take refuge in Him and be blessed]"(34:8); " the Lord lack no good thing" (34:10)My responsibility followed by Father God's response to me doing what His word tells me to do...
"Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it" (34:13-14). "[He]...saves those who are crushed in spirit"(34:18). "The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him" (34:22).

Believer's Responsibility:

-Seek Him; pursue relationship -make time for getting to know Him on a deeper level than you know Him now.
-Look to Him; learn from His word how you should order your life.
-Fear him (reverence/respect) give Him the honor and glory He's due in every area of your life.
-Take refuge in him - come to him when your hurting or have a need.
-Be an active participant with Him; observe what he's doing and get in on it.
-Keep your tongue in check; speak only what is truth(the grapevine is definitely out on this one).
-Live righteously; pattern your behavior and the choices you make on the absolute standard of His Word. [NOTE: this is not perfection but, it is a life surrendered to Him; seeking to honor Him in every way.]
-Seek peace...pursue it (when others around you are "stirring the pot"; you be the one to diffuse the situation)

God's Response in Our Obedience:

-He answers our prayers.
-He delivers us from trouble and fear.
-He releases us from guilt and shame (no condemnation).
-He encamps around us(protection).
-He blesses; makes every provision (we lack no good thing)[NOTE: not necessarily everything we want but, definitely everything we need -BIG DIFFERENCE].
-He saves and redeems us (the bible say he is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life and the only WAY to relationship with Father God - John 14:6)[no other option]

He is faithful! By virtue of His character and very nature; he can be and do nothing less.
Our faithfulness is proved by our pursuit of Him and our obedience to follow His way. He delights in responding to us and His way is always perfect and perfectly timed!

Be encouraged, my friend! Your God is passionate for you so, be passionate for Him! 


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Which Will You Choose...

I plan on posting a lengthier thought later but, here's a little something for now...

Fear the Lord, you his saints, there is no want for those who fear him... Psalm 34:9

Fear Him -reverence, respect- put Him in first place...order your life around His word; His way of doing things and you will have everything you need - no matter what the circumstances surrounding you...
So really the question is who & what are you going to trust in?
...that which is temporal; which will be consumed- that cannot produce any lasting fruit in your life, not to mention peace in a crazy time; nor provision on the level really needed  - 

OR that which is eternal- life giving, peace assuring, security and full provision - lasting beyond this earthly existence? 

The choice is yours to make...weigh it, mull it over, consider it... but, MAKE IT! 

Don't be lukewarm you can not have it both ways...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Timely Word...

Psalm 37

" Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. TRUST IN THE LORD AND DO GOOD; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. DELIGHT YOURSELF IN THE LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. COMMIT YOUR WAY TO THE LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
BE STILL BEFORE THE LORD AND WAIT PATIENTLY FOR HIM; DO NOT FRET when men succeed in their ways; when they carry out their wicked schemes. 
REFRAIN FROM ANGER AND TURN FROM WRATH; do not fret - it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright, But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 
Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. 
But the wicked will perish: The Lord's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish - vanish like smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off. If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. 
I was young and now I am old, yet I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE RIGHTEOUS FORSAKEN OR THEIR CHILDREN BEGGING BREAD. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.
They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. 
The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip. 
The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the Lord will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial. 
WAIT FOR THE LORD AND KEEP HIS WAY. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it. I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I look for him, he could not be found.
Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in times of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them because they take refuge in him." 

A word, I believe, the Lord is bringing to the forefront for those who are truly his - may your heart be encouraged,your spirit vigilant and your eyes wide open in the days to come!
His grace and His Peace to you!

Friday, November 7, 2008

One More Former Thought...

Psalm 34:4-5

The Psalmist said “... he delivered me from all my fears”; implying that God himself is the deliverer and not just of some but, of ALL fears (Psalm 103:2-5). He is still in the business of delivering us today (Hebrews 13:8).
Webster defines fear as “ to be afraid of: expect with alarm...apprehensive”. Another expands on that definition, defining it as “ a feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.”
FEAR...the stuff in our lives, whether real or perceived, that stirs up alarm, anxiety, agitation or apprehension. Those things that have the potential to render us completely paralyzed and ineffective; if left unchecked. God tells us in His Word to cast all of our cares upon Him because he cares for us. Fear is a very real emotion. Everyone experiences it at one point or another. The question is what do you do when fear comes knocking’? Do you sit, soak and allow it to consume you or do you do what the Psalmist did in chapter 34:4-

“ I sought the Lord, and He answered me. He delivered me from all my fears.” 

It says he “sought the Lord”- he didn’t entertain the fear - he cried out to God. He knew his only hope of not being overwhelmed by fear was to release it to the only one who could cast it out!
It is the same for us. If we cry out to God and allow him to, he will cast out all of our fears. Not only will he cast them out, he will replace them with His peace. The Bible says that “ perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18). God is that perfect love. It is the essence of who He is. He can be nothing else - it is against His very nature. Psalm 103 tells us that He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. All we have to do is cry out and He steps in! The scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything but, in everything through prayer and petition - with thanksgiving - present your request to God and the peace of God which transcends understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
The Father has a compassionate love for us. He understands how we work. Because we are His creation, He is intimately connected to us. He wired us to be emotional beings; to experience the full gamut of those emotions. He is on the level...

“ As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear [reverence] him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103: 13-14).

He does not stand in accusation or condemnation...

He simply says through His Word: 

Cast your cares [fears] on me (Psalm 55:22) for I care for you...take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11: 29-30)... and I WILL supply all of your needs according to My glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

Let your mind dwell on His rich promises. There is no room for fear to abide when your heart is set on His goodness - trusting - He IS eternally faithful! He WILL make every provision for those whose hearts and minds are His through Christ Jesus! Are you His? If so, start operating like it. 

“ Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
 -Psalm 34:5

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thoughts born out of where I have been...

If you will indulge me, the first few posts are going to be thoughts of which a few have already read... sent through various emails over the past couple of weeks. I find myself in a new season- having more energy and passion for the Word and an overwhelming desire to share what God is speaking to me through it... may He get every ounce of glory for it... may we see His miraculous hand in the land of the living and may we come fully repentant for our own "form of godliness but, denying its power"...

On Pilgrimage...

“ Blessed are those whose strength is on you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make it a place of Springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5-7

God’s blessing; his provision, protection, power, and presence are made manifest in those of us who name the Name of Jesus and find our strength, hope and trust in Him. A response of complete and full surrender - setting our heart, mind, soul - the very essence of who we are to one goal...Christ and becoming like Him in every way - [setting our hearts on pilgrimage]. So, what’s a pilgrimage?

Pilgrimage is a passionate pursuit; no distraction - “face like flint” focus - single-minded intent on accomplishing the task before you. The Goal: moving toward intimate relationship with God Himself; the wisdom of the counsel of the Holy Spirit and the transformation of a life fully changed into the image of Christ and in turn, affecting change in others because of it. The bible is telling us that when we set our hearts and minds in this way - we are blessed! God shows up! It is his power and presence that give us the ability to walk.

Now that doesn’t eliminate struggles and trials in our lives. The bible tells us we will face trouble of many kinds. There will be at least one “valley of Baca” on your pilgrimage. The joy comes because as believers, we don’t have to face those places in our own strength. Because of this confidence(the we don’t have to go it alone part), as we encounter struggles, pain, trials and places of deep sorrow we can rise up and choose to make that hard place a place of life - finding the “WHAT” in what Father God is intending to accomplish in and through us in the midst of the circumstance - shifting our focus from victim of something to overcoming and moving through. At the same time that we’re choosing to rise up - “making it a place of springs” - Father God meets us in that place and pours out his strength, peace, comfort, joy, healing... “the autumn rains” are His manifest presence with us in the valley. Isaiah tells us that God is faithful to make “ a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. “  Jeremiah 31:25 says “ I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” If we are on pilgrimage with Him then this is his response to us in those “Baca” places. Joel (2:23) tells us that he gives us those “autumn rains in righteousness”. 

“ Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness...”

He pours his righteousness out upon us in the times of our greatest need! So then we can persevere in His righteousness and not our own. The bible says that our righteousness is as “filthy rags”  but that the righteousness of Christ is mighty to save! When He shows up - salvation/deliverance comes. As believers, we don’t operate in our own righteousness. The scripture says that we “live, move and have our being” in Christ and the righteousness he secured for us through the cross. Which is a free gift to anyone who asks and believes that Jesus is who He says He is - the Divine Son of God - God Himself - “the way, the truth, and the life” - the fulfillment of the Father’s plan to restore mankind to Himself! Because of that, right understanding from Him- holy set apart positions can be born out of our Baca. God allows us to go through valleys in order to refine and prune us - to spur us to a deeper abiding faith and dependency on His strength and the power at work within us through his Holy Spirit.
When we operate from this absolute truth, utilizing the power and strength available to us through the Holy Spirit, we move from “strength to strength”

“ They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.” (vs.7)

The key to this “strength to strength” is commitment & faithfulness - digging in our heels with the Lord and each other - passionately pursuing Father God’s heart both personally and collectively. Lifting each other up and holding each other accountable to stay the course. This is not for the faint of heart and it will require more than, at times, you feel you can give. But, you must press in and through. Rise to the challenge, make the commitment and do it, period! The reward is in the seeing it through!

Practical ways this fleshes itself out:

-Personal Time with God on a daily basis
-Be faithful to your family
-Be a person of your word
-Commit to a local church in time, talent and money - there is a place for you - contrary to what you’re enemy would have you believe - you are needed!
-Practice good stewardship with the resources God’s given you - live within your means
-Pursue friendships/mentorships with like-minded believers
-Build relationships with the lost, hurting and next generation - be ready to “pass that baton” - reference from "Warrior Chicks" by Holly Wagner(fabulous read)
-When you come into a “valley” look for what God is intending to do here instead of  whining and complaining that you’re there - no “whys” just “whats”... Rise Up, precious people your God is with you!