Your Will Be Done

Excuse me for failing to blog for several months.  I need to publicly repent for my attitude towards God lately.

The thing that bothers me about cultural Christianity these days, is that people want to live their own life and turn to God when it’s not going so well.  One time, a girl I knew (who has declared that she doesn’t really believe in God) was going through a hard time and told me to keep her in her prayers.  It is cool to say “I’ll keep you in my prayers” or ask that of others, but it’s not cool to live a life wholly surrendered to God and His ways.  Some even find it reasonable to believe that they can live their life any kind of way and then simply believe that “everything happens for a reason.”   Or even try to attribute it to “God’s plan.”

Hate to be brutally honest, but sometimes things happen because we made bad choices.  Other times things happen because other people made bad choices.  Even when we are innocent of those bad choices, we live in a fallen world which affects us.  This is the state we are in, from the fall of Adam.  Regardless of that, God is still sovereign.  And even when things aren’t going our way, we are to come into His perfect ways.  Alignment with Him, even in the not so pretty glimpses of life, is our calling.

One of the minor prophets that continues to reveal God’s heart toward His people is Hosea.  I can never feel lukewarm about my faith after really plowing into this book.  Much earlier in this blog, I wrote about Hosea 11, but in this post, I want to look at Hosea 2.

The verse that gets me every time is, “She will chase after other lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them …” (Hosea 2:7)

I know that I often resort to means outside of God to cope with my own brokenness.  But when I reach the end of my own means, I find myself even more broken than before.  So I reach the point where the bride says, “…I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now” (2:7).

So we have to remember that it was HE who gave us the grain, the new wine and oil, lavished on us the very treasure that we waste on our idols.

I don’t know coherently I’ve gathered this post.  This is just an outpouring of my heart.  God I repent for wanting my ways, no matter the cost.  I choose Your way along with the cost.  Because the cost was paid by Jesus’ death on the cross.

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3 Things I Learned From An Atheist

Recently, a talk show I’ve subscribed to interviewed an atheist intellectual.  I was only halfway listening as I was multitasking when a statement from the interviewed captured my attention:

“If you want to be religious and go to church on a Sunday or whatever and go to picnics and stuff, that’s fine, but there’s absolutely no reason to think you have to take it seriously and think there’s really some guy up on a cloud looking down on you.  You don’t have to go that far down the road.  You could be a cultural Jew, a cultural Christian, or a cultural Muslim, you know.  You can just enjoy the social aspects of it without actually sacrificing your reason and your doubt.  There’s like more than a billion people in the world who are just non believers.”

This revolts me.  Not because his downplay of religion offended me, but because it forced me to look at three uncomfortable truths.

We’re not fooling anyone

Even atheists can see that a lot of us are just “playing church.”  And as insulting as that guy saying we can just be “cultural Christians” and enjoy the social aspects, that’s what so many of us are actually doing.

If we’re not fooling other people, then we’re certainly not fooling God.  Seriously, God does not owe us for going to church or doing good works.  Our good deeds are as FILTHY RAGS to Him (Isaiah 64:6).  So we need to cut the act and get real.

Looks like a Christian?

There’s the saying “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, . . .” etc, then it’s probably a duck.  But just because someone calls himself a Christian, attends church, knows the bible, it doesn’t mean he’s a Christian.

We cannot take things at face value.  That will lead us to being easily deceived.  Look around you and ask God to reveal to you what’s really going on beneath the surface.

Stand for nothing, fall for anything

I listen to this show to remind myself how the identity of God is constantly being attacked by human reasoning.  Daily, our generation is exchanging the truth of who God is for lies and this is DANGEROUS TERRITORY (see ROMANS 1:18-32).

To my surprise, the show’s guest concluded with this:

I have to be convinced that one or more of these gods are real if I’m going to worship  them. . . The way I approach religion or any extraordinary claim is I’m willing to be convinced. Show me the mountain of evidence and I’ll be with you.  But I don’t see the same from believers.

We have to stop getting in non believers faces, trying to convince them of anything until we are convinced.  Are you truly convinced?  Do you believe in God because of something your pastor said?  Are you a Christian because of some feel-good experience you had years ago?  Beloved, we need to GET CONVINCED.

There is a real war going on.  Not against flesh and blood but powers and principalities (Eph 6:12).  So the point of this is not to go out starting debates with people who disagree with Christian truth.  It’s about recognizing the battle going on and our own unpreparedness.  We need to have His Word inscribed on the tablet of our heart, so that we cannot be shaken.


Go Deeper

When I was talking to a friend from church, I received two words from God:

GO DEEPER

I began to contemplate what that meant for my life.  Two years ago, the word I got for 2010 was “Everything changes.”  And my life changed drastically.  I believe last year was about a healing work which He did in me personally.  Maybe “Go deeper” isn’t a word for the entire year, but I do know something is truly different about this year.  Of course, that’s said every year as the entire country maps out resolutions, most of which are already broken by today, February 1.  But seriously, I feel an anointing over this year to be released into promises we’ve held for years.

How Deep?

Contemplating this message brought me to the passage in Ezekiel 47 where he is led out to the water.  Then he notices, he is ankle-deep.  As he continues, he finds he is knee-deep.  Later, he is waist-deep.  Suddenly, he finds himself overwhelmed by how far it goes out and how deep it truly is.  He calls it a “river I could not cross.”

I remember taking swimming lessons when I was a kid.  When you begin to walk into the pool, the first step covers your feet up to your ankles.  And with each step you take, the water seems to get progressively higher when the truth is, you are just going progressively deeper.  Learning how to swim in four or five feet was one thing, but at the end of swim class, we were all required to take a jump off the diving board.  I remember being terrified.  By diving in, I was giving the water permission to consume me.  And I didn’t know if I trusted myself or the lifeguard to bring me back to the surface.

God is an Everlasting Father who has so much for you.  And He is worthy of trust.  How deep have you let Him take you?  Are you willing to let Him take you all the way?  What does it mean for you to “Go deeper” with the Lord?

Is He calling you to Go Deeper in Relationship?  The book of Acts describes the early church as giving themselves over to fellowship.  Is that what your relationships in the Body look like?

Maybe He’s calling you to Go Deeper in Intimacy.  In Psalm 27, God says, “Seek my face” and David says, “Your face I will seek.”  He is open and available for you.  Draw near to Him.  Make time for Him.

Some are being called to Go Deeper in Faith.  Romans says those who put their trust in the Lord will not be put to shame.  Do not be afraid to trust God for big things beyond your comprehension.  Don’t settle for “making it by” in this life.

I know that this year, I’ve been called to do all three.  How is God calling you to “Go deeper?”

Recommended Article: Living a Life of Worship


Broken and Poured Out

I’ve been contemplating what it means to be broken and poured out.  Broken and poured out like the Imagealabaster jar used to anoint Jesus at Bethany (Mt. 26).  What an intimate image: broken AND poured out.  It is an eternally significant one, for Jesus himself said that wherever the gospel is preached, it will be told in memory of it.

When I was praying for revelation about what that really means, I found myself saying, “God, I pour myself out because I have faith that you will fill me up.”  I had to pause and really think about that.  The disciples complained that the expensive perfume the woman poured out was wasted.  But what Jesus fills us with is so much more valuable than anything we can pour out.

We’re getting the better end of the deal.

Another story from the bible that I’ve been meditating on is the widow’s oil (2 Kings 4).  There is such a prophetic message about God pouring out oil into all of those empty jars.  The jars had to be empty first.  If I were that woman, I would be looking around my house for jars with stuff in them and start dumping it out.  So that what He had to pour out would continue to increase with the vessels I brought.  The result was enough for them to pay off their debts and live off for the rest of their lives.

Jesus was broken and poured out for us.  He broke His body.  Poured out His blood.  He is more than worthy of us to be broken and poured out before Him.  He takes it all; the good, the ugly.  He just wants us.  What does that mean for you today?

Make the exchange.

Be broken and poured out before Him.  You’ll be amazed at how willing He is to fill you.


7 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Vision

So obviously, “New Year’s Resolutions” aren’t in the bible. But the concept of vision for a new way of life is not foreign to God’s ways. In fact, it’s the opposite. God loves to declare “Behold, I will do a new thing!” (Isa 43:29). So rather or not you ascribe to having new year’s resolutions, if you have a vision about where you wish to be, here are some biblical principles to help you maintain it.

7. Make Room for the New!

In Luke 5, Jesus speaks about not pouring new wine into old wineskins. If you want God to pour the new into your life, you have to give Him a new vessel to pour into. Some of the new things we desire for our life are not conducive with our habits. Just like if you want a life without smoking, it’s probably not a good idea to still hang out with other smokers during your usual cigarette breaks. So consider what may need changing to give room for your vision.

6. Declare It!

One of my favorite principles of faith in the bible is in Romans 4:17. It is about calling things that are not as though they are. If you declare it, you are pushing forward in faith. If you can see it, you will believe it. And if you can believe it, it will come. We all know the memorable line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come.” So consider, “If you declare it, it will come.”

5. Get help!

Know what you want, but don’t know exactly how to get it? Don’t let that stop you! First of all, God encourages us to seek him for wisdom because he’ll give it generously without looking down on us for it (James 1:5). Look at King Solomon and all his success! The one thing he asked for was wisdom. Some of that wisdom included seeking counsel from other advisers (Prov. 15:22). So I also encourage you, find someone who’s already in the place you want to be and learn from him.

4. Start Over . . . and Over Again!

I guarantee you, the death of most New Year’s resolutions begins with failure. You fail to go to the gym a couple of weeks, and you decide it’s over. Maybe next year. But His mercies are new every day (Lam 3:22-23)! We have to get out of the mentality that we have to wait 365 days to get another beginning. So if you fall short of expectation, forgive yourself and start over. No matter how many times you fall. The righteous man falls 7 times and gets back up again (Prov. 24:16). Every time.

3. Chew on It!

Meditating on your desire motivates you to keep going. When the shepherds spoke of marvelous promises about the baby Jesus, Mary stored those things in her heart and thought about it often (Lk 2:19). What will it take for you to think about it often? Sometimes it takes taping a reminder to your mirror where you’ll see it every day. Others may prefer to journal their vision and revisit it when necessary. Whatever it means for you, find a way to keep it in your mind and chew on it until you see the fruit of your vision.

2. Think High!

If you only look at your circumstances, it’s easy to get discouraged. That’s why you have to think above them. Colossians 3 instructs us to set our mind on things above. You cannot rise above your position until you can think higher than it. The greatest inventions were born out of the capacity to think outside of the current way of life. Some of those inventors were ridiculed for thinking they could come up with such things. We are seated with Christ who is at the right hand of God. Our possibilities are endless. Think in heavenly places, not on earth.

1. FAST

This principle may surprise you. Fasting is not a very popular practice, but it is a way that God’s people have responded to Him when they were desperate to see change. My favorite examples are Daniel and Esther. After Daniel completes a fast in chapter 10, God says, “From the first day you set your heart to understand, you were heard and I have come because of it.” Fasting gives you a single-mindedness and focus. Don’t do it attempt to earn favor from God. Do it to set your heart to understand Him. His character, nature, and will for your life. That is how your vision will become reality.


New Year’s Exhortation

I was spending time with the Lord last night and He spoke to my heart which really encouraged me. As important it is to spend time in prayer speaking to Him, it is also crucial to make time to listen. Here is what I received for anyone else who needs to hear:

I am so proud of you.You have persevered. I trusted you with the little and now is the time I will trust you with the much more.

Now, I give you permission to let go of 2011. All your shortcomings. The unfortunate circumstances. Anything that did not go the way you would have wanted. It is over. I’ve erased it from record, so I exhort you to do the same. When I look at you this year, I will not see 2011. I will see the potential I designed in you and all the miraculous things I have in store for you.

I encourage you to allow Him to speak to you today about this past year or the upcoming one. Whatever you need from Him rather it be closure, hope, or vision, I guarantee He has it.


Liebster Blog Award Nominations

I have decided that Thursdays will be my regular update, but of course, I am taking this week and next week off to enjoy the holidays with my family.  However, I decided to take the time to thank Lions Lead for nominating me for a Liebster Blog Award. I do not know how you came across my page, but I am glad that you found it inspiring. I find your blog also inspiring (especially in the concept of lions leading; SO POWERFUL!), so I am including you in my top 5 nominations as well.

The “Liebster Blog” Award is given to blogs that have less than 200 followers and deserve more recognition and encouragement (sometimes it’s hard to tell so my apologies if those listed below are larger.) There are some guidelines while giving or receiving this award which are as follows:

1. Thank the blogger who gave you the award and link back to them.

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Copy and paste the award to your own blog.

I gratefully accept this nomination and wish to pass this award along by nominating the following 5 blogs in no particular order:

Brianna Shea

Ron “Big Black” Garrett

Hey Preacher Boy

By His Grace

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