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Archive for May, 2008

The Wisest Person in the World

Humanly speaking, if you were able to meet with the wisest person in the world, there are two questions that come to mind:

1) Would you do more talking or more listening?

2) How much time would you put aside for the meeting?

I think the answers are pretty obvious. You would listen more than you would speak and you would put aside as much time as you could. Perhaps you would even make time in your day that you never thought you had!

OK, now heavenly speaking. In prayer, we are able to meet with our Heavenly Father who is infinitely wise, who infinitely loves us, who is infinitely creative and made you and me and who has a Heavenly plan for each one of our lives. So, considering the above, when we pray, should we do more talking or more listening? Again, considering the above, how much time should we put aside for the meeting?

Are you getting my point? How much time do we pull away from this world to spend time communing and listening to our Heavenly Father? Now, don’t give me the answer, “I am in constant communication with my Heavenly Father 24-7”. Jesus was in constant communication with His Heavenly Father 24-7 and He still very, very often pulled away, to a quite place, and prayed with His Heavenly Father. It was His source of strength!

To Know Him

I have another question. What would be the point of spending eternity with someone we don’t know? This verse has come up before, Jesus prayed for us…
John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life : that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. NIV
This is a really important verse. It defines what ‘eternal life’ is. It is pretty clear. It’s not ambiguous or complicated. Eternal life is knowing the Father and Jesus Christ His Son (and they are revealed through His Holy Spirit).

So what is our aim in our Christian life? To live a ‘good’ life. Trying our best to be a nice Christian or is our aim to know Him intimately (and to do what He is telling us to do)?

For Him to Know Us

Here are a couple of scary verses (notice the word MANY):

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord , Lord , did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ NIV

Looking at these verses, we can even be ‘doing the stuff’ that we think Jesus wants us to do but still have no relationship with Him. Hear what these verses are saying, “Lord, didn’t we do ‘this stuff’ (in your name)”. And Jesus still has honoured His Name through them in spite of their lack of relationship with Him!

You know, we even have arm bands that remind us “What would Jesus do?” But is that really what it is all about? Isn’t it rather “What is Jesus telling me to do?” and then our response is we go and do it. The former is a (knowledgeable) guess and the latter is …… FAITH! (Ah! faith, that’s another blog)

Spend time with Him today! I mean more than 5 minutes of babbling on. Wait on Him and enjoy Him, in Jesus Name, AMEN

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White Noise

In electronics, there is an instrument called a ‘White Noise Generator‘. It’s function is to put out a whole lot of different frequencies at once for the testing of audio equipment. It puts out sound just like you get on a TV when you are not tuned in to any station correctly – kind of a SSSHHHH sound.

When we pray, we can have a kind of ‘White Noise‘ going on in our heads. I don’t mean a whole lot of different frequencies but I mean a whole lot of different voices going on at once. Voices from our past, voices of our mother and father, voices from our work, voices from our friends, voices from people who have hurt us, voices from last week, voices from yesterday, voices from TV, radio and advertisements, voices of the evil one. I guess you would call these voices, ‘voices of influence‘. They have shaped who we are. Not all of them are helpful. Some shape us positively, some negatively.

In prayer, there is only one voice that we need to hear, and that is the voice of the Lord. I guess, what I am trying to say is, are these voices or is this ‘white noise’ drowning out the voice of the Lord?

The Word of the Lord brings life!

John 6:63
63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. NIV

John 6:68-69
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” NIV

Indeed, who else has the Words of Eternal Life!

In prayer, we need to come to a place of stillness in Him. A time when all the other voices are silent and we begin to commune with Him and we begin to hear the Word of the Lord and He begins to ‘restore our souls‘ (Psalm 23).

Psalms 46:10
10 “Be still , and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
NIV

Psalms 37:1-7
1 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 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. NIV

Psalms 23:1-4
23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want,
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake
.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me
.
NIV

Father, still those voices inside me. I want to hear your voice and your voice only. You are the only one that can give me Words of Life. You are the only one who can restore my soul. Help me to be still and know you are God, in Jesus Name, AMEN

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There is an interesting story in 1 Samuel 11 where God’s people, the Israelites of Jabesh Gilead, are being besieged by the Ammonites. If you read my blog about ‘Lot and His Family’ you may remember where the Ammonites came from – Genesis 19:38 The younger daughter(ie: Lot’s daughter) also had a son (from incest with her father Lot), and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today. NIV Anyways, they are being besieged, and all the men of Jabesh Gilead want to make a treaty with the enemy…

1 Samuel 11:1-2
11:1 Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh Gilead. And all the men of Jabesh said to him, “Make a treaty with us, and we will be subject to you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “I will make a treaty with you only on the condition that I gouge out the right eye of every one of you and so bring disgrace on all Israel.” NIV

It’s obvious that the enemy here is wanting to disgrace and disfigure God’s people. It is also obvious that the enemy is wanting everyone who looks upon or knows the men of Jabesh Gilead (ie: God’s people) to see that they have the ‘mark of the enemy‘ and have been overpowered and defeated by them.

What is not so obvious to us, is the importance of the right eye for battle during those times. With a shield in a warriors left hand, the left eye was (at times) partially or totally obscured behind the shield. This left the right eye to be used to sight the enemy so that he could wield sword or spear or bow against the enemy and defeat the them.

Wow! Let’s apply this scripture to our own lives. Have I been disfigured by the enemy? In my life, have a made some sort of agreement or compromise with the enemy and my spiritual sight has been impaired? Am I waving about the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ and completely missing the enemy because I am spiritually impaired or blind?

Lord, speak to my heart. In my heart is there some sort of compromise or agreement with the enemy? Am I fighting a useless battle because of my spiritual blindness? Lord, show me where compromise has crept in. Help me to have true, heart felt repentance for my compromise so that I can wield the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ effectively for ‘your Kingdom come, your will be done‘, in Jesus name, AMEN

(Thanks Gary)

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Intimacy with Our Heavenly Father!

One of the most amazing gifts that a true, born again Christian has is prayer! Prayer is the lifeblood of the Christian life! Prayer is the air that we breathe to sustain and grow our Christian walk. Without prayer, without developing our relationship with our Heavenly Father (or rather, God developing us) through prayer we literally ‘die‘, we literally ‘crash and burn‘.

Now why did I call it a gift? It is a gift from God because He desires it. He initiated it, He instigated it, He designed it for His intimacy with us and for His purposes and plans for His Kingdom through us. And in our arrogance we believe we are initiating things, that we are reaching out to Him, that we are finding God (such is the proud way that we think!). No, God first reaches out to us! God has His ear pressed so hard against the Heavenlies waiting for you and me to pray to Him! He even tells us what to pray, by His Spirit. Have you thought about that? Even prayer is all about Him! He transforms our lives and our hearts so that we are praying ‘God prayers‘.

Adam and Eve and the Fall of man(and woman) – this is important

Read Genesis 2:16 to the end of chapter 3. Basically, sin(disobedience to God) enters the world through Adam and Eve. In summary, they ‘bought’ a lie that God was ‘holding out’ on them. That He didn’t have their best interests in mind. Satan slandered God’s character and they believed it! (By the way, this is the same lie and deception that Satan tries to feed us today) Anyways, sin enters the world and we inherit ‘this sinful nature’ from Adam and there is a barrier of sin between us and God for true relationship with Him.

Romans 5:12-19 says:
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man , and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man , how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man , Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man , death reigned through that one man , how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man , Jesus Christ. 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. NIV

OK, that was a little meaty and there was a bit of religious jargon but the truth of these verses needs to be understood. Sin came through one man – Adam. Salvation came through one man – Jesus Christ. Therefore through Jesus Christ we are righteous again before God. In other words, God restores our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and our relationship is just like Adam and Eves before the fall! There is no longer any barrier between us and God! If you are not a Christian and you are reading this, do you realise what you are missing out on?

Anyways, why I brought this up, is for all of us to see, that relationship and communication through prayer has been restored through Jesus and we can have true intimacy with Him through prayer.

Jesus prayed for us…
John 17:3
3 Now this is eternal life : that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. NIV

Know Jesus today! Invite Him into your heart! Know the Father through the Son revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Blessings

Steve

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The Transforming Power of Prayer!

I believe there is GREAT MISUNDERSTANDING about prayer. I believe this GREAT MISUNDERSTANDING stems from the influences of this evil, self centred world that we live in and also from our sinful, self centred natures. I believe the GREAT MISUNDERSTANDING is this, that ‘God is there to meet our needs’. That is, God’s soul purpose is to meet our needs. This is absolute bunkum! Hear me out on this one. If there was only one area we need to get right in our Christian walk it is in the area of our prayer life! Let’s look at the scriptures…

Jesus said…
Mattthew 6:9-13
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
NIV

Do we realise that we have a Heavenly Father whose will and desire is to establish His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven?

Genuine prayer transforms our will into His will. Genuine prayer takes God’s heart and plants it into our heart. Genuine prayer is not all about us, it’s all about Him. Genuine prayer doesn’t build our kingdom, it builds(or establishing) God’s Kingdom(on earth as it is in Heaven).

This is the transforming power of prayer. This struggle with our humanity we need to face daily through prayer with our Heavenly Father…

Even Jesus, faced with the sure knowledge of His crucifixion, in prayer ‘wrestled’ with His humanity to the point where He was completely submitted and surrendered to the Father’s will. Matthew 26:39b “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” NIV

Through prayer, completely surrender to the Father’s will for your life, and through that, you will find that all of your needs will be met!

To Be Continued… Intimacy with the Father

Blessings

Steve

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When Love Comes to Town

Part of a U2 song…

I was there when they crucified my Lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword
I threw the dice when they pierced his side
But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide

When love comes to town I’m gonna catch that train
When love comes to town I’m gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town

A verse from Romans…
Romans 5:8
‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’. NIV

There is no doubt that Jesus came to save sinners like you and me. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost .” Luke 19:10 NIV. There are ‘stories of salvation’ and ‘parables of the lost’ throughout the Gospels. It is also true that before we truly meet Christ, ‘before love comes to town’, our lives reflect our brokenness, our sinfulness and our hopelessness. Ah!, but when love comes to town, when Jesus comes, our lives are never the same.

But, are they?

Are our lives never the same?

Do our lives reflect His glory or do they still reflect the brokenness and sinfulness and hopelessness of this fallen world?

Have we truly met Jesus or are we trying to do things in our own strength?

Now I’m not saying we are perfect but if we have truly met Jesus our lives should never be this same! Paul says in Galatians 2:18 ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me‘. NIV Does Christ live in us and do our lives reflect His glory?

Here’s my humble opinion… I believe there are many of us who have met Jesus but there are only a few who walk with Him. And so what happens, over time, is that His life within us gets squeezed out by our selfish nature and pleasures of this world! You see, I believe we can have this wonderful experience in God at some point in our lives and miss the whole point of that experience. It’s not all about us, it’s all about Him. God doesn’t reveal Himself to us to make us feel good. He reveals himself to us to show us who He is! His glorious splendor, His majesty, His great and perfect love poured out for us!

What is our response to the cross? Have our hearts grown hard? There are two passages the Lord has been speaking to me about firstly…

Romans 12:1-2
12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. NIV

and here…

1 John 2:14-17

14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. NIV

Here’s where I reckon we ‘followers of Christ’ fall over. We don’t follow Christ! We have an encounter with the living God and, well, nothing changes. We walk the same, talk the same, and live the same. We don’t live in the Word of God. We don’t allow His Word to transform us and therefore we don’t learn to overcome the evil one in our lives. We don’t cultivate and grow and mature our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Sometimes we can have a greater relationship with our TV sets or our computers or our dogs!

We don’t live as if we are dead!

Yes dead! We don’t live as if we are dead! I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me‘. Galations 2:18 NIV. You are not your own; you were bought at a price .1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV We have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus.

Psalms 16:11
11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. NIV

Heavenly Father, I have neglected spending time with You. Please forgive me, I’ll never do that again. Heavenly Father, I have neglected reading Your Word. Please forgive me, I’ll never do that again. Father, I want Your Word to transform me. Come daily, by Your Spirit and completely transform me into the person You are calling me to be. Lord, I can’t face these giants on my own! Help me to be an overcomer. Help me to truly die to myself so that I can truly glory you! Lord, it is not about me, Lord it’s all about you. I see that now, show me Your good and pleasing and perfect will for my life, in Jesus Name, AMEN.

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WHO I’M NOT

THE WORLD, the RESTLESSNESS OF OUR SOULS and the PRIDE OF LIFE would have us searching for, from time to time, trying to define ‘WHO AM I?’ And we go on this pointless and meaningless quest to define ‘WHO AM I?’ Sometimes, we come to this place where we end up defining ourselves by what we do, or (perhaps) we have this revelation about our our sexuality, or (maybe) we define ourselves by our beliefs or the causes that we support etc, etc. This may end up giving us some temporary solace but, I want to tell you, from a Biblical viewpoint, the question isn’t ‘WHO AM I?’ but rather the question is ‘WHO I’M NOT?’. Or, let me put that another way, it’s not until we have a true and genuine revelation experience of WHO GOD IS and WHO WE ARE NOT will we ever come to a place of peace and joy and rest for our souls.

In the passage that we looked at in Part 1 it says:

Job 42:2-6
2 “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.

4 You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
5 I admit I once lived by rumours of you;
now I have it all firsthand — from my own eyes and ears!
6 I’m sorry — forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
I’ll never again live on crust of hearsay, crumbs of rumour.”
THE MESSAGE

Job has an encounter with the LIVING GOD. Not only does he experience WHO GOD IS but he has this revelation of WHO HE IS NOT in the light of WHO GOD IS! In the FACE OF GOD he turns from (repents) from his arrogant position to one of humility, submission and surrender.

In Isaiah 6:5, Isaiah sees the Lord sitting on His throne in all His splendor and he says:
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” NIV

You see, in the presence of the Lord we experience WHO GOD IS but equally we experience WHO WE ARE NOT in the light of WHO HE IS. Our uncleanness is exposed, our sin is exposed, our pride is exposed. This is understating things. That vileness and stench of our sin is plainly seen in the gruesome and violent death of Jesus on the cross.

Oh Father, to be in your awesome presence is both a fearful and wonderful thing. Thank you for your Son Jesus who bore my sin on that cross so that I could come into your awesome presence and experience fullness of joy in You. In Jesus Name, AMEN

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