Friday, March 25, 2011
Today was an afternoon spent sipping Roasterie coffee, writing letters, reflecting on the Lord's work in my life, and letting my heart rest. Sometimes you just need days to slow down and have a little Jesus and coffee in your life. Notice the coffee drip mark coming down the cup, sometimes I miss my mouth a little.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
"He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name sake. 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." Psalm 23:3-4
How faithful our Lord is that even through the busiest, craziest, most misunderstood seasons of our lives He is, "restoring our soul...leading us in those paths of righteousness..." This journey of the christian faith is by no means a cake walk, it has it's challenges on a daily basis. How in even the shadows of death do we take comfort and joy in the Lord? When everything around us is condemning us and speaking death and not life, how do we reach out take ahold of the promises of the Lord?
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trails of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4
"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
"And have you forgotten the exhortation that address you as sons? 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.' It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:5-7, 11
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is DIFFICULT that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14
Even Jesus addresses us at the end of His message of the Sermon on the Mount, 'DIFFICULT is the way that leads to life and few are those who find it.' Why has our culture and society created this notion that our 70 to 90 years in this life are supposed to be pleasurable living and with minimal trial? This is not what our Lord says! We are strangers in this life, we are pilgrims looking for a city who's builder and maker is God! Psalm 84 has been one of my favorite pictures of this reality.
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Host! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!"
Our journey, our hardship, our sanctification process can all be explained for one reason, FOR HIS NAME SAKE! This is the glorious joy of our years here on earth, to exalt the name, worth, and glory of the man Jesus. Truly this journey has very little to do with us, but everything to do with Jesus receiving the praise that He is due.
There is no history, this is no Bible, there is no redemption without the man Jesus, so why have we ignored Him? In the midst of our wrestles, we are so quick to shift introspective and make everything about 'us.' If we would only lift our eyes to the one that suffered the most, our hope is found in glorifying HIS name in our momentary light affliction.
I have not tasted hardship yet, I have not even caught a glimpse of persecution. In my very small beginnings I want Jesus' name to be glorified in my every life circumstance! May this pathway be filled with experiencing and gaining perseverance, long suffering, endurance, patience, and may it cause my heart to fall deeper in love with the only one worthy. Jesus.
Grace and Peace,
Today I was in the Prayer Room and realized once again how much I appreciate what the House of Prayer is doing! I get to come every morning to a room of about 300 other people and agree together in the place of prayer asking the Lord to break in throughout the earth that His name would be glorified! I'm not just walking into a room full of people, but because we are partnering with the Lords heart, this is a earthly governmental room of His plans to go forth throughout the nations! Here's a link to join what's going on in the Prayer Room live, or follow the link on the webpage to the archives.
Prayer Room Live
Prayer Room Live
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The past couple of weeks has been a flurry, so much that the Lord has brought to the forefront of my heart, yet I feel like I have had so little time to actually process these heart movements.
A couple of weeks ago our community at the House of Prayer was challenged by a word that John Mulinde shared with us concerning living rightly before a Holy God who sees and knows every thought and intent of our heart.
After hearing John's message, my heart was troubled with areas of my life that I had left untouched. I was uneasy about areas of my life that I had simply become ok with letting them be stagnant. Our God is a jealous God, He desires all of my heart and affections. The encouraging side of John's message was that I felt as though in the last year of my life I have been in the process of aligning my heart and mind in such a way that all my thoughts and intents would come into alignment with His. Easier said then done, but I want to be made completely His. As John touched on, this is a way of living, not a one time encounter or repentance session.
In my own heart the Lord brought to the surface areas of seeking the approval of men and building up my own name. Facebook is stealing the identity of this generation. I was building a name for myself, and virtually creating my own kingdom on facebook. Though I wouldn't spend long periods of time on there, it was always something in the back of my mind, looking to post that next thing that would bring more attention or approval to myself. It was becoming an idol before the Lord, so, it had to go. Nothing should stand between me and my relationship with the Lord. If anything starts consuming my heart or mind more than the amount of time I spend thinking about Jesus, the one I love, then it has taken the place of God in my life.
So, I'm now venturing out into life facebookless. It's been about a week and a half since I deleted it, and I feel more and more free with each day, SERIOUSLY! Love you people.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
This year has brought so much growth to my heart just in the few short months that we have already rushed through. Though most of the growth has been a direct result of what I have been doing over the past year, I feel like this year things that I have been wrestling and toiling over for quite some time are finally starting to make their way into the way I live my life.
I have been on a journey for quite some time now uncovering and engaging my heart with the Sermon the Mount principles in Matthew 5, 6 and 7. Is this just another sermon, pretty words, or is there weight to the first words of Jesus public ministry? As I have spent quite a bit of time digging through resources, praying through scripture, and actually taking a class on the Sermon on the Mount last semester, I keep coming to the conclusion in my heart that these words are like Gold. Jesus is speaking directly to the heart that is longing, to the heart that is aching for more in life, to the one that is not finding satisfaction in anything he is puts his hand to, there is an invitation. Will you love me well? This is the pathway to eternal life, this is the pathway to blessedness true satisfaction, embracing the aches and pains of the heart.
Jesus completely destroys the concept of living a life that is righteous to inherit the kingdom. He shows us that if we are living to check off the list of good behavior, we will not be with Him for eternity. The only thing that matters is the posture of the heart, not the track record of how many times we have failed, or so we thought, got it right. He is examining and looking into the human heart saying, "Do you love me? Then obey my commands."
There has been so much pain in this process, peering into the wretchedness of my own heart. My sinful actions are only a manifestation of the thoughts and intents that are taking place in my heart. Even if I can manage to keep things 'together' on the outward appearance, have I dealt with the root of the issue? Jesus redefines the outlook on sin when He gives the six 'You have heard it said' statements in Matthew 5:21-48 He tells us, it is not enough to simply control those outward actions, you must engage with the sinful thought patterns and start pulling them out by the root. If there is lust in your heart, it is adultery. If there is hatred in your heart, it is murder. The only reason it doesn't immediately come forth manifesting itself as murder or adultery is because we fear to much the consequences that we would face. But in the secret of our heart, if no one was watching, and we let those thoughts come in to reality, what would come out? Essential, just because we haven't committed the act of murder or adultery doesn't mean we wouldn't do it were we placed in a situation of power to carry it out! Scary! I want to pull these inward, self seeking, self glorifying thoughts out by the root. At the core of my being, I am unbearably wicked.
This is the journey we must all take. This is the process that we will be surrendered to for the remainder of our days here on the earth until our Lord returns. I want to be given to the marathon pace of surrender.