Posts Tagged ‘Lord’

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Katie says, “Sometimes it hits me like a brick to the head. my life has been kinda insane.” That’s the way i feel when i come to the end of a year and begin to take one of these inventories of my life. As a kid i lived in 19 different places by the time i was 18. As an adult i’ve had 23 different addresses over 42 years. i’ve started a dozen or so different businesses. i have traveled frequently to beautiful places. i have done most of the things i have dreamed. i have more than the necessities of life. i have been and continue to live a very exciting and blessed life.

Katie goes on, “To me there is nothing spectacular about this everyday craziness, it is just the result of following Jesus into the impossible, doing the little i can and trusting Him to do the rest.” As i look back at all the moves, new businesses, serving in full-time ministry, and all the travel, much of it was following God into the impossible. The rest of the much of it… was due to pursuing position, titles, finances… all the things i felt i missed out on while growing up. All the things that i thought would make me different.

It is only in the past few years that i have realized that i can do nothing incredible, but i can follow God into impossible situations and He can do incredible things through me.

Without giving away to much of the book by sharing all the background for these next words there came a very important realization for me. The book says, “Before long her reluctance turned into anxious enthusiasm and she became excited to be the person who would share this dream with me.” Katie is speaking about her mother agreeing to go with her on her first trip to Uganda.

images-2These words caused me to remember the people, whom became excited to share my dreams with me. Ann Marie my wife, best friend and love has been my rock. She has shared every dream with me, supporting me all along the way. While it would be understandable if she wasn’t always excited about sharing my dreams she has never shown it. If she has ever been reluctant it has been hidden by her encouragement for me to pursue the life i dreamed.

Listening to chapter 1 again assured me that it was God’s plan for me to read this book as Katie shares, “I saw strength and depth of character in people’s eyes.” i immediately recalled my focus prayer for this year, “Lord teach my eyes to hear before they see.” You can learn a lot about a person and their life by looking into their eyes and just listening.

Chapter one is filled with many thoughts but one that stands out for me is where Katie shares about bed time with her children. It would last about an hour as the children would sing with all their hearts, laugh, cry and pray. She describes it as simply being with Jesus and that she could feel the presence of God there more strongly than ever before. This reminded her that she had one purpose in Uganda and in life, and that was to love. Her words reinforce in me the very same thoughts, although i am not in Uganda, but where ever i am, i have one purpose and that is to love. Love God with all my heart, mind soul and strength. To love others as myself and i sense that this is where God is working in me through this book. i feel like Peter when i say, “You know i love you Lord.” And i do in spite of falling short many times. But learning to love to myself so that i can share it with others… well there has been the rub.

Luke 12:48 says “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” i have been given much.

Chapter 1 of this story about “Relentless Love and Redemption leaves me with this.

images-1God is making it clear that this is the place… here in Florida, for an unknown amount of time, is where i am supposed to follow Jesus, obey Him , and make my best effort, with His gracious help, to treat people with dignity and care for them unconditionally.

 

 

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The title for yesterday’s post was “When Will my Time Come?” Mistake! That word “my” is a problem… for me. It’s not that it’s a bad word but i’m trying to remove it from my vocabulary, specifically if it refers to a possession, like the word time. Time is not mine in an ownership way.  i can’t create it, i can’t sell it. i am assigned the task of managing it for the one who owns it.

When will my time come as though the time i am in right now is slop? What happens to today if i am focused on the idea that there is something better ahead of me? Today is important, it counts for just as much as “when my time comes.” So what’s needed is an attitude adjustment regarding my waiting.

Many times, i don’t wait. And i certainly don’t wait in silence. Much of the time, i hurry and i push. i split time into tenths of seconds. i have been known to express anxiety when a traffic light turns red and holds me up for a bit.

There is a word in Spanish, which is the verb esperar and it means both “to hope” and “to wait.” There is a plant called esperanza. It grows and blooms in the driest conditions, offering blossoms in gold or orange. When the blooms come, they can remind those watching of waiting in silence. Waiting in silence, creates space for faith to grow within me.

I will wait on the LORD…and I will hope in Him…Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!…Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD. (Isaiah 8:17; Psalm 27:14; and 31:24)

Waiting on the Lord is the same spiritual reality as hoping in the Lord. “I will wait on the LORD…and I will hope in Him.” Waiting is allowing time to pass. Waiting on the Lord is not about waiting, it is about placing my hope and expectations in the Lord as time is passing. Living by grace is looking to the Lord to work on my behalf and within my heart.

Truly, “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him” (Lamentations 3:25). Therefore, let us “hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption” (Psalm 130:7). Yes, let us “hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 131:3).

The proper question is not when will my time come. In fact there is no question to ask when i am waiting, hoping and trusting in Him. It’s a privilege to seek, to dwell in the house of the Lord, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. That’s what i’m doing while i’m waiting.

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

i’ve been serving at the Onething Prayer Center almost seven years now.  It still seems strange and just doesn’t fit completely. i was told at the start it would take time to get used to a life of prayer and the slower routine. my mind is so used to thinking about things to do for others, to plan, to prepare, to…….. It hasn’t all fallen into place like i hoped or thought it would.  i question why. It is by far the hardest thing i have attempted to do.
My word for today is Psalm 37:23, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm;” I don’t know if these are the words i needed to hear today. Is God delighting in my way? It seems that my steps are firm but, it’s in-between the steps that i’m a little wobbely.
Last night i watched an old movie called Paint Your Wagon that i have enjoyed for years. i can’t really tell you why other than the theme song of the movie resonates with me on some level. Below are just a few words to the song. Here goes….

Gotta dream boy? Gotta song? Paint your wagon and come along.

Where am I goin’? I don’t know. Where am I headin’? I ain’t certain.
All I know is I am on my way.

When will I be there? I don’t know. When will I get there? I ain’t certain.
All that I know is I am on my way.

I came across this prayer from Thomas Merton:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
i’m listening for God’s voice and direction in the quiet.  Most of my life, i’ve lived in the noise and clutter of the world. It’s again now time for the silence.
“All I know is i’m on my way.” i pray that God is delighting in the way that He has chosen for me….that He will make my steps firm. David asked “what am I doing in the meantime?” His answer was “Hoping.”

Gideon questions, “If the Lord is with us,” What? May i just ask, “What about the evil done in the sight of the Lord?” Then he asks why? Seriously, WHY? The clear answer… because of evil done in the sight of the Lord.  Situations, circumstances, trials, tribulations that surround and overtake me are a result of my inner spiritual strength not being able to sustain me. Gideon tries to pass himself and his people off as victims. No sign of repentance or accepting responsibility for previous behavior. Simply “If.”

But for the patience of God!!! “The Lord turned to him and said, Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”

After 70 years under the thumb of the Midianites Gideon’s seems to have lost hope or at least touch with reality and he asks, “Oh Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my clan is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”

Boo hoo, poor me, i am a victim here God. God does not let him slide, “Have I not sent you? Gideon, did you not hear what I said?” “Go in this YOUR might and YOU shall save Israel.” There are times when i listen but do not actually hear what is said. Ann Marie will attest to that. This must be Gideon’s problem. God asks “did you not hear what i said?”

“The Lord then says to him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man.” i think i would have paid a little more attention to those two little words, like as what do you mean “as one man?” Gideon let’s that slide right on by and says, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You Who talks with me.” Oh my goodness, nothing but fear and doubt! God is being so patient, again with “IF?” “If now,” It should read, since now i have found favor in your sight, because i have repented, from doing evil in the sight of the Lord.

Gideon needs a sign to be sure it’s God’s voice and that he understood His directions. He says, “Do not leave here, I pray You, until I return to You and bring my offering and set it before You. And He said, I will wait until you return (PATIENCE). Then Gideon went in and prepared a kid and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them to Him under the oak and presented them. And the Angel of God said to him, Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock and pour the broth over them. And he did so. Then the Angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes, and there flared up fire from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes.

Now that’s a sign, right? “Then the Angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.”

Servants…

Posted: May 29, 2013 in Colossians 3
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Colossians 3:22 Servants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not only when their eyes are on you as pleasers of men, but in simplicity of purpose [with all your heart] because of your reverence for the Lord and as a sincere expression of your devotion to Him.

That is, in all things relating to the body, and bodily service, not to the conscience, and worship, in things worldly, and not spiritual, in all things that are within a master’s power, and it is lawful for him to command, and in all things that are fitting and proper that a servant should do, and even in such things as may be difficult, troublesome, and disagreeable to the flesh.

Luke 17:7-9 Will any man of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at the table? Will he not instead tell him, Get my supper ready and gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you yourself shall eat and drink? Is he grateful and does he praise the servant because he did what he was ordered to do?

The question is, do i give my best, regardless of the cost? Am i like the laborer in Jesus’ parable who expected immediate reward and compensation for his day’s work?  How unfair for the master to compel him to give more than what was expected!  How often do i love to assert my rights: “i will give only what is required and no more!”

Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that i can never put God in my debt or make the claim that God owes me anything. i must regard myself as God’s servant, just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve.” Service of God and of neighbor is both voluntary a free act and a sacred duty.  i can volunteer for public service or be compelled to do service for my country.  Likewise, God expects me to give him the worship and praise which is his due.  And he gladly accepts the  free-will offering of my life to Him and His service.

What makes my offering pleasing to God is the love i express in the gift of self-giving.  True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless. How can i love others selflessly and unconditionally?  God himself is Love (1 John 4:16) and He fills my heart with the boundless love that gives what is good for the sake of others. If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).  God honors the faithful servant who loves generously. He is ever ready to work through and in me for His glory. His love compels me to give Him my best!  And when i have done my best, i have simply done my duty.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah).

It is almost like verse 17 is the end of the chapter, but it’s not. i get a sense that this verse is critical to my well-being and with everything i have considered thus far. It’s not so much in the words that i read but as in my spirit. There are no bolded words, no exclamation points or anything like that, no underlining but a stirring within.

Colossians 3:17 “ed, whatever you do [no matter what it is],” this applies… pay special attention to EVERYTHING, no matter what it is! Does this apply to just spiritual things? “NO MATTER WHAT IT IS!” Everything is spiritual so of course.

No matter what, says to me, in any event, without regard to what happens, whatever the conditions are or are not, do whatever with complete abandonment to anything else.

in word or deed, – in whatever i speak, in whatever i do. NO MATTER who i’m speaking to, NO MATTER for whom i’m doing. Not one single word, not one single syllable is to escape from your mouth. Not one single step or action is to be done apart from this.

“ed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”

everything, NO MATTER…,ed. It is to be spoken (every word) and done (every action) in THE name of the Lord Jesus. There’s another one of those special “THE”. THE meaning “name of the Lord Jesus.”

It’s as though, when i go to speak, i must preface it with “In THE name of the Lord Jesus.” Example and this may be considered extreme but how do i get away from the NO Matter what it is, if i ignore it in even in one instance? How about this? i answer my cell phone and prior to anything i say, “In the name of the Lord Jesus this is ed?” People are always asking me how i’m doing and my usual response is “i am…” Many say that’s great while others just slip right by it. What if i were to say, “in the name of the Lord Jesus, i am? i am pretty sure that it would influence any words that were to follow, specifically by me. This might be something i experiment with to see just how uncomfortable it will make me but honestly i am not prepared today to say that from now on i am committed to do this NO Matter. What i don’t want to do is get radical for a week and then slip back into my current routine. i suppose i could try doing it by not speaking it out loud, but there is some question as to if it will have the same impact as if i commit and speak it out as a sign of my committment to the words or actions that are going to come forth from me.

BY THE WAY: As i am sitting here and typing this post i am listening to worship from IHOP Kansas City prayer room. They are singing over and over, “Your love is all that matters, Lord i keep coming back, your love is all that matters. Right here right now so simple, your eyes on me.” What are the odds that this is not God confirming the words of verse 17?

Colossians 3:17 MSG. – “Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus,”

“SO ACT LIKE IT” are the closing words of verse 1 in the message. Act like it’s your last opportunity, like it will pass by and never return. Act (the process of doing) like “it. One final word about if from 1 Samuel 16:14 and i recommend reading the chapter, but verse 14 illustrates to me the danger of rejecting the “If.” But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented and troubled him.

Before i have any time to think on what it looks like to “act on it” verse two gets right in my face.

Colossians 3:2, “ed, set your mind and keep it set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

The instructions are easy enough to read, but they are not just for reading, “act like it” is for me to do, thus the difficulty. Being in this world and not of it is where the constant rub comes into play and the one that will win is the one i feed the most. my words, my actions expose the huge influence the world has on me.
As if Colossians is not enough 2 Timothy 2:15 says, ed study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. ED! avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness.
“Correctly analyzing and accurately dividing” UNDERSTAND THE TIMES!
Question? “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.” Question? How does ed eat this chapter? One word at a time. A journey not a destination.
Set: to put (something or someone) in a particular place, to place in a particular position or posture, to put or apply.
Your is self-explanatory.
Mind: the element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges, etc..
It is for me to… that is… “If” i’m serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, to set to put in a particular place, position, or  posture, my process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, and perceives.  This is saying that i am to have the mind of Christ. AND… it does not stop there.
Keep: to hold or retain in one’s possession, to maintain (some action), especially in accordance with specific requirements.
It’s not enough to just set my mind. i must keep, maintain (some action), especially in accordance with specific requirements . The (some action) is to “Set my mind and keep, hold, retain in my possession.”
There is power in the process to the promise. The process begins with “If.”  If i am serious. Serious about what? About “living this new resurrection life with Christ.” The process gets broken down into bite size pieces as i am to keep, maintain (some action), especially in accordance with specific requirements.
“ed set your mind and keep, hold, retain in your possession.” Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
“ed put into a specific place, into your mind, will and emotions and hang on to this place as though your life depends on it, because it does.
 So i am pretty sure i know plenty about the things of the earth but i don’t want to spend a lot of time on the negatives. i do want to spend sufficient time on the positives which are the higher things.