Saturday, November 20, 2010

Living Reconciliation - Pt. 2 "The Hope - Redeemed-Restored Relationships"

The second element in our hope of reconciliation hinges on the first; forgiveness (see previous post for more). Redeemed and restored relationships are impossible apart from it. Through forgiveness the bitter root is snipped (Hebrews 12:15) and the healing power of the Holy Spirit is unleashed to effect change in our hearts and minds - ushering in redemption and restoration.
Jesus is the ultimate testament of this truth to us. Because of his obedient choice, to die on the cross for our sins -paying the profound price; death- and then being raised to life, we have a way to be reconciled to the Father . He declared, " I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me"(John 14:6). The scripture also says, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). He willing came then and he seeks us out now -wooing us to Himself... He is the example by which we should pattern our lives and our responses to others.

Isaiah 62:12 states,

"They will be called the Holy People,
the Redeemed of the LORD;
and you will be called
Sought After,
the City No Longer Deserted
." (italics mine)

"called 'Sought after, the City No Longer Deserted'"...he seeks us out! And not only that, He provides the means of restoration! We are redeemed through personal relationship with Jesus and in turn called to continue "the work" of reconciliation (Titus 2:14). In essence, we are covenant bearers -a testimony of God's character and his heart towards the world (Isaiah 49:8). Our ability to accomplish this mission flows out of our complete, active obedience to the Word and our deliberate willingness to lay down our "rights" for the benefit and blessing of another. When we operate in concert with the Father, ushering in redemption and restoration through our words and actions (albeit sacrificially at times), we demonstrate the purest form of His love and grace - dying so that life may come...
In doing so, the Holy Spirit's resurrection power (Ephesians 1 :18-20) is activated in its full measure and we "become the righteousness of God" -

"Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings." ~ Isaiah 58:12

"They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations." ~ Isaiah 61:4

This is who we are to be...LET YOUR LIFE SPEAK!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Living Reconciliation - Pt. 2 "The Hope - Forgiveness"

Three principle elements define the hope of reconciled living; forgiveness, redeemed-restored relationships and sanctified lives. All demand consideration and application. So, let's begin by examining Forgiveness- we'll unpack the other two in subsequent posts...


Forgiveness at its core is a "God task". It's not something we on a human level muster or sustain. The power to forgive and maintain a life of forgiveness is solely driven by the emboldening force of the Holy Spirit in the believer's heart and mind. We are called to a choice of the will- I must decide to draw upon the Holy Spirit's power and choose to forgive those who offend or sin against me. Divorcing oneself from the act of forgiveness only renders reconciliation impossible. To obtain the one, you must maintain the other.
Essentially, divine love propels forgiveness - the cog that turns the wheel or "will" as it were. The bible states very clearly that we have the ability to love because He [the Father] first loved us (1 John 4:19)...we forgive because we have first been forgiven (Col. 3:13) and as we forgive so we will be forgiven (Matt. 6:14-15; Mark 11 :25; Luke 6:37). Jesus died on the cross so that we might receive lasting forgiveness for our sins (Acts 10: 43; Acts 13:38; Eph. 1:7)and in doing so, be completely and eternally reconciled back to the Father. By accepting this free gift, we enter into fellowship with the living God and, in turn, possess the Spirit with which to extend the same forgiveness to others.
As believers, when we operate in forgiveness, we become a conduit of God's life-changing power to those we encounter. Out of our choice, flows Holy Spirit power to effect eternal change in those we influence as well as our own righteousness. Careful here -lest anyone think that our actions lead to righteousness - THEY DO NOT! Ephesians 2:8 and Titus 3:5 echo this truth saying, " ...he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy...". We are made right with God through Jesus alone but, we have the capacity, by our deeds, to squelch the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) and render His power ineffective in our lives and subsequently our circle of influence. The antithesis of reconciliation!
"Keeping short accounts" with Father God and man allows the reconciliation fountain to flow freely. Confess quickly and often (Matt. 5:23, Luke 17:4, 1 John 1:9) - do not harbor unforgiveness in your heart! To do so, would give the enemy a foothold and stir up a bitterroot(Acts 8:23, Eph. 4:27). Any hope of reconciliation hangs on this balance. Grace-filled lives, willing to forgive even the most grievous offense, demonstrate the Father's glory and empower the Spirit to accomplish His work in and through us. The goal is not that we would be justified or treated fairly but, that we would surrender our own reputations to the care of the Father and seek His kingdom above all else!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our Initiator

More will come on reconciliation -I promise....
But for today...

I have been reading one of Beth Moore's latest books; "So Long Insecurity"- It is a great read and I pray the Lord uses it powerfully in the lives of those who dive into it...

This is a quote that really struck me and I've been living with it for a few days...

"What God initiates, He equips us to handle." - Beth Moore

Because God is the initiator -it [whatever he has called you to] is in His
perfect will for you and He will accomplish it in and through you. He is
faithful and he will operate on your behalf -giving you all that you need for
life and godliness in order to accomplish the task he has set before you!
Be strong and of good courage -Your God is FOR you and with you -press in and
you will soar on eagles wings!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Living Reconciliation - Pt. 1 "The Command"

As believers, we are to walk out the ministry of reconciliation in real time. We are to be careful in all things to point those around us to Christ in our actions, reactions, attitudes and the way we resolve conflict. There are three components to this ministry that we are all called to; the command, the hope and the testimony. Clearly, we are reconciled to the Father through Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross. By receiving that free gift we are restored but, there is an element of maintaining reconciled lives-with Father God and with man- which requires something of us. We are to be active participants.

The scripture sets the stage in 1 Peter 3:8-16...

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
For, 'whoever would love his life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and is lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.'
Who is going to harm you if you do good? But, even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ' Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.' But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

The habit of our lives should be righteous living (take note that this is not perfection but, rather an "all-in" pure heart motivation to be and do right before the Father) -following the whole counsel of the Word of God and applying its precepts to our lives. We should always be truthful and truth-filled; passionate in our pursuit of the Father and dealing with our fellow man in light of that. We, as believers, are to be a peace-loving and seeking people. We are to walk humbly with compassion and sympathy always loving and ever-ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us; demonstrating the full measure of God's grace and kindness to those around us.
This is the foundation from which the ministry of reconciliation is birthed in our lives -the vehicle by which the Father demonstrates His great power to heal and affect change in us and in others.

The question is are we willing to pursue it?

More to come...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Deliverance...Even Through Pain

"O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me."~ Psalm 30:2

[He is the one who delivers us]

" ...who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles." ~ Psalm 103:3-5

[Even in the most painful of circumstances -when you can't tell which way is up...ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE FATHER'S CHARACTER...He can be no less than He is -He never changes.]

Core of God's Character (Psalm 103:8-14):

*slow to anger
*abounding in love
*does not always accuse (and when he does it is justly)
*will not harbor anger
*does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities

[He is faithful, generous, long suffering, merciful and kind...committed to never leave nor forsake His own (Ps. 37:25; Duet. 31:8)...He promises that ALL things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes(Romans 8:28) and that we WILL find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts(Jeremiah 29:13-14)]

"As a Father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him, for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. "

[We are called to set our faces on Him- to look to the eternal and not the temporal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) - to look at the circumstances surrounding through an eternal lense and to seek His glory, fame and renown in all things -even the hard place...trusting that He holds us. ]

"You turn my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy...that my heart may sing to you and not be silent." ~ Psalm 30:11-12

[DO NOT BE SILENT! Praise Him -even in pain - behold he comes for you...]

"I will make rivers flow on barren heights and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into springs. " ~Isaiah 41:18

Praise you, Jesus!