Archive for March, 2013

When Standing For Right Seems Wrong

Posted by on March 28, 2013  |  No Comments

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,..” 1 Peter 3:14

 God’s Word to us tells us that times will come where good is called evil and evil good. His truth has always been and will remain forever. What changes…are feelings.  Our feelings are under attack from our first breath until our last.

 Depending on what we surround ourselves with, those feelings can be influenced by God or by the enemy of God. This is the enemy’s territory and God is seeking continually to bring us out of darkness.

 Infiltrating even places of Godly worship is the agenda of the enemy. Unsubstantiated claims are being made that seek to sever us from God and His laws of love. Many have the idea that if life is tough, then we accommodate ourselves to the world and try and change theology so that it is more in keeping with earth trends rather than heavenly declarations.

God’s perfect plan for man is being thrown out in order to please the desires of the flesh that are not in physiological agreement. (same-gendered relationships/marriage)  Some say… “It’s not hurting anyone, let it be.”  But isn’t anything that is not in agreement with God hurting and damaging us?  One compromise gives way to another and before we recognize it we are estranged from God and His will.

 Sympathy and pain are the most effective tools of manipulating God’s truth, weaving deceit into God’s Holy plan.  The gift of intimacy is now seen by many as a right. Instead of praying for and waiting for God to reveal His plan, we sometimes take it out of His hands and declare our decision to act based upon our self centered desires.

 I have made many mistakes in my life acting out on my desires and needs without surrendering them and seeking God’s guidance.  I have found there are consequences. It took many years…and I still get frequent reminders of how much I need Jesus and must abide in Him to truly have assurance, peace and fully experience His love.

The world is constantly redefining “love” and fashioning it according to our desires which are under continual attack from Satan.

 When I witness this constant redefinition, the question that returns time and again is … “Why do we need a redeemer?”  Pure love and its reflection will draw us to His cross and the reason He chose to come and die for our sins.  It will stimulate my need of God and my need to repent.  His law is perfect.  His law is love. His law protects us from the enemy when we abide Him. But when we step outside of His plan, He calls us. He will honor our decisions. He does not force us.

 Simply based upon a difference of opinion and thinking he knew better, Lucifer continued to isolate and alienate himself from God his creator. An ugliness grew and before long there was no longer honor and glory being shown for God, but a conceit, arrogance and love of self that would separate this beautiful being from God forever. How God’s heart must have ached.

 Today my prayer is that rather than debating our desires and rights, we would humbly come before our glorious King and Creator and surrender. Often what we cannot see in the struggle, we praise God for having endured in faith and trust in Him.

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The Painful Road of Rejection

Posted by on March 26, 2013  |  No Comments

The life of Christ is placed before us as an example of a call to purity, relationship and honor.

 He endured ridicule, skepticism and even loneliness. It is important to recognize that He experienced temptation. Onlookers always sought proof of all He taught and stood for. Yet much of His life teachings and those who would become His disciples, plainly required a faith experience.

 Skeptics and onlookers jeered and ridiculed. In the midst of His ministry they went so far as to spit on him for His uncompromising beliefs and teachings. His life journey was a always a “feel good” experience.

 Humility, suffering and self-denial are part of the Christian experience. James 1: 2-4 says to count it all joy. However it is likely that much of the time we seem to experience despair, deep pain and discomfort. The deceit of the world is the promise of pleasure. Especially in American society. We are continually feeding self-satisfying comforts.

 The Word of God calls for the surrender of self.  Look around.  Everywhere you turn you see people demanding and protecting their rights. When we look to the cross there we see He who paid for the freedom from deceit.

 Our natural inclination is to satisfy our desires. There are many life circumstances as a result of sin that would have us insist that we have a right to certain permissions that don’t align with the teachings of God’s plan for us. Sin has left an ugly mark on this earth.

 Jesus showed love and compassion for those who hated Him.  Often life hurts.  We didn’t ask to be here. But He tells us we are chosen. He chose us because in each of us He has given us the spirit of truth and to live according to it if we choose.

 Life is full of pain. He says cast all your care upon me.  Psalm 55:22 ”Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

 Each day and in every moment we have been given the choice on how we will respond to our circumstances. As Painful and confusing as life’s challenges can be… He offers us His grace, His compassion, His empowerment, His wisdom and clarity.

 I invite you to make decisions in this life based upon the truth of the one who loved you enough to die and shed His blood for you.

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

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PASSION

Posted by on March 21, 2013  |  No Comments

Have you considered the many meanings? 

I’m often told about my passion. So I decided to explore this. Webster’s provides an array of meanings from emotion, love and devotion.

“Intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.”  “a strong liking or desire…”an object of desire or deep interest.”

“ardent affection, love.”

The word contains such the essence of life.  Passion… a drive or force.  This can result in some complications when it has been present in it’s multiple forms during our journey through life.  The meanings can get tangled and interwoven while whether we are moving forward or standing still.

Old passions and desires can surface even when we have chosen new pathways and driving life forces. Passion can materialize from both good and evil derivatives. Because of this, we must be cautious with our applications.

At times in my life I have been driven by desire. Desires that were not congruent with God’s plan for me.  At birth and experiencing instant rejection… desire for acceptance and a thirst for love developed. But they developed out of brokenness and the stain of a fallen nature. Such desires and strong emotion can make some pretty heavy indentations on a life.

For me… passion ignited from day one. Turning, twisting, anguish, discomfort and a thrive to survive. Demanding satisfaction! Demanding love!  Passions … They can stir out of a variety of a life scenarios. Certainly not all good.

Humility, submission and trust can reposition us for new desires, passions and even an entirely new belief structure. This is the beginning of the beauty of a faith relationship with Jesus. One that stems from any point in our life when we are willing to submit ourselves to Him for regeneration and reconciliation.

In this we are reborn into a life with Christ that stirs right passions and desires. Here I get to experience an “intense conviction” and “deep interest” that is in alignment with God’s perfect plan for His son. Under this conviction “I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit.” John 15:16

What is often painful and confusing at this juncture is the resurgence of old passions and desires trying to regain control. I’m scarred by my past decisions. The fight against the flesh begins. I am only safe in abiding in Christ. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

And so I am faced with decision. Each and every day…every moment… I am faced with decision to choose Jesus over my flesh. This is where the Christian experience truly lives.

And so I want to say to you today…. That you matter!  You belong!  You are His! …and He is yours!  Surrender.  Let Him break your heart over and over again and find refuge and safety in Him.  Fall in love with Him and cling to the rock. He will never leave or forsake you. He purchased you with His blood. Cover yourself with the blood and live in accordance with His will instead of what your body cries out for.

”…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

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A Question of Identity

Posted by on March 9, 2013  |  No Comments

 

For many who missed out of this in depth interview from September 2012;

Here is the link.

A Question of Identity

 

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Pure Love Reflections

Posted by on March 6, 2013  |  No Comments

From birth we are constantly learning. Raised in a Christian home where we read God’s Word and going to Christian school, I learned what was right and wrong and we lived life accordingly.

 I didn’t know how to cultivate a relationship with God. I just followed the rules. Like everyone else, my feelings were also trying to dictate truth and my actions.

 I remember when I was twelve or thirteen; I read texts about homosexual behaviors. I was shocked that I was feeling desires for the same sex, but I hadn’t chosen these feelings. How could this be possible? Was God angry with me?  Was He going to disown me? What could I do?

 Years of church and church school would pass and these same-sex feelings would only deepen. The harassment, alienation and rejection due to my recognizable struggle would intensify.

 But I was only one in a sea of people struggling with different kinds of feelings. I wonder how many others felt lonely and insignificant in God’s family of believers. The focus everyone seemed to have was on “right doing,” not on reflecting a genuine reflection of God’s love.  Why was that? 

 I’m sure it is pretty easy to determine today that we have been so judgmental. In fact it has become second nature for many of us … not recognizing the programming that was going on in us.  We looked at exteriors and most often failed to see the heart that was aching and suffering because the arms of Jesus seemed to be tied behind our backs.

 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8   Wow!  If God can extend and show His love to us while we are sinning, why can’t we show this same tireless, non judgmental love to those who have not yet experienced intimacy with Him?

 How many times has book knowledge been our mainstay instead of a practical application of that knowledge?  How many times have we heard about who Jesus loved and ministered to from the church pulpit and yet never mirrored Jesus by ministering to those in pain in this world…including many sitting in the church pews next to us?

 It was because of the absence of experiential love that I left God and His family in the church for nearly forty years.  Ahh… but God NEVER gives up and through Him; through His divine intervention, He returned me unto Himself. And in that experience, all my past knowledge about right and wrong returned. But this time, I see that it isn’t God nailing me for what I do or don’t do.  He is demonstrating that AMAZING love to me that does not condemn, but invites me to delve into a relationship with Him that incomparable with anything in the world.  He keeps picking me up and carrying me when it all seems so tough and confusing because of those lying feelings we all encounter.

Because of this experience with Him, He is asking me to reflect this very same nonjudgmental love to those I encounter.  Share my experience, tell about what God has revealed to me, point to where I gained my experience, point to Jesus, but not assuming a ruler or judging position. Let the Holy Spirit work in the lives of the listeners and observers.  God can reach them just as He reached me.  It is not for me to mandate, simply reflect the source of such enduring and pure unadulterated love.

  “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

 I am finding that I truly need to come to Jesus as a child who comes to his or her parent, with a child like faith and thirst for all that He teaches.  We are each so very loved and unique designs of His. Priceless in His sight.  Let’s be precious and priceless to each other. That’s where the healing can begin.

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I Matter … You Matter

Posted by on March 2, 2013  |  No Comments

You are the pride in God’s eyes! You are His special one of a kind, unique creation. Never will there be another such as you! This is not a realization when you are groomed, dressed in your very best , smelling as fresh as the morning air. He looks past your exterior and sees your heart. The potential of who He can be in you. He doesn’t distance Himself and wait for you to recognize that you need to clean up your act! He comes close and tries to acquaint you with His soft, tender and compassionate love.  In humility… the pureness and joy of Him is realized.

Every day He walked this earth, Jesus walked among earth’s less than desirables seeking to make a difference in their lives. If they could catch just a glimpse or glimmer of how much He loved them, a huge difference could begin to take hold.  His gentle voice and loving touch changed lives that the enemy had so long claimed as his own.

Demon possessed, adulterers, handicapped, lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, pharisees, all kinds of messed up people. He reached out to each one of  them with life changing love.  It was this very same love that exuded from His disciples who were sent forth to share His gospel.

Pretty much every day we think about what we can gain, what will satisfy and pleasure ourselves. From a simple desire to satisfy our thirst with something to drink… to obtaining an item of desire or a level of wealth.  We often look within instead of reaching out to make a difference in this sin forsaken world.

Then… once a week we head to the organized church to routinely follow our spiritual regiment. Sit in the same pew, go to the same Sabbath or Sunday School class, acknowledge the people we know, avoid others, and put on a plastic face for others. Right there under appropriately designed structures souls are aching for the touch of Jesus. Often we even claim to be reaching out to them by our mere pomp and circumstance before God. But in reality, souls are aching and suffering by the hands of “God’s family.”

Do we … as representatives of Jesus leave the impression that He hates us? Do we believe we are appropriately representing God’s anger toward a sinner? Do we check people for spots before they enter His “safe and save” haven?  What are we doing with the priceless talents God has given us?

“…Jesus … saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:27-32

Often when speaking to congregations around the world, I stare out at the perplexed faces of God’s beloved. It is so difficult for us to mirror a love we have not yet experienced.  What He is trying to show us is that we all matter! We have inestimable value!  We are all precious in His sight!  And He wants us to see that value in one another.  We are each other’s neighbors for the kingdom.

The homosexual, the glutton, the pedophile, the arrogant, the murderer, the prideful Christian, the adulterer, the gossip, any one of us.

“…He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

After the years of absence from God, I am learning more about the intimacy with Jesus.  It’s a strange and perplexing lesson at times.  We have all been programmed with the natural stain of sin. We arrive seeking to satisfy ourselves.  Only He can teach us about reaching out and making a difference in this sin scarred world.  You can make a difference. Surrender!  Let Him use you as a tool for His glory!

You matter!  You make a difference!  I invite you to let Him make a difference through you.  You are here to fulfill a purpose that He has designed to make through you. 

“Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” John 14:23

Make difference by letting Him reflect His love through you and all that you do that will draw others to Him.    You will be blessed!!

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