Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Daily Battle

As I mentioned some weeks back, we are having the incredible privilege to have Bible Institute classes at our church.  Each session is absolutely packed with Biblical insight and wisdom.  A couple weeks back, we talked about the Presence of God and it has stayed on my mind.  Perhaps that is because it has been a time in my life when I so needed the presence of God.  Sometimes it feels like life has lots of battles and sometimes it is downright war.   Lately it has definitely been more of a war. Which is odd, since it has also been such an incredible time of learning and leaning on the Lord.  But that lesson based on the Israelite's journey in the wilderness teaches this truth.  God never said that we would not have difficulties, be hungry, have health issues, or even fight against a much more powerful enemy.  Let's face it, even the most basic of relationships are difficult in this fallen world.  However, what He did promise is that if we follow the Holy Spirits leading in our life . . . WE WILL WIN THE BATTLE!!! Woo Hoo!

In some ways, I envy the Israelites.  Can you imagine being able to follow a visible sign from God? They went where the cloud went.  The cloud moved they moved and if the cloud stopped they stopped.  To me in my limited thinking, that seems simple.  Oh how I long for simple.  But truth is that we make it much harder than it need be.  God gave us something much greater than a cloud.  He gave us Himself!Order-of-March

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Galatians 5:16

Ephesians 5:17-18 goes so far as to tell us to be intoxicated with the Spirit.  As Christians, this should be something that we understand. Yet, I fear based on some of my own history that is often not the case.  Matthew 12: 31-32, truly convicts on this:

"Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."

But there is more! When the Israelite marched, they did so in a certain formation.  You might think that they did so to protect certain people or things.  Perhaps especially the Ark of the Covenant.  But guess what? The Arc of the Covenant was in front!  The war was not a physical war but rather a spiritual war.  With God first. . . they could not loose!  Any battle they lost was because they failed to put God first and trust in Him. Sound familiar? It is the same with us.  If God is first, then we cannot loose!!!  That sounds really comforting.


Numbers 10:35-36 says "And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, "Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you." And when it rested, he said, "Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel."

I don't want to be like the first generation who lost the Holy War but rather I want to watch the walls come tumbling down. How about you? We don't need the Arc of Covenant because God sent a helper to us. His precious Holy Spirit lives within every Christian.  So many of us fail to hear because we have quenched the Spirit. But it is there if you are a Christian.  My prayer is that I will never again miss the leading of the Spirit but be finely tuned in.  For when He goes first, every battle is already WON!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

What if?

Ever have one of those God moments? One of those moments, when God whispers into your heart something that you thought you would never think.  As the truth settles there, you  stop wrestling with it. . . well because God doesn't get anything wrong.  You know the thought is from Him because it is not something you would dream up. Perhaps it is one of the things on your never list (I will never______________ ).  Perhaps it is something that you have already given all you can give to (but haven't counted on God to help you do more).  Perhaps the timing is completely out of whack. Or all of the above!

Then God quietly but forcefully whispers what He has for you.  What you must do. Shock and denial role through your mind as you consider the bazaar.   Then realization sets in. . . if God says it then I must obey and it is best.  Then turmoil gives way to joy.  Sweet joy always comes with surrender to God's will for your life.  Wow!

It seems that three of the things that God gives this little shove to are full-time ministry, mission work, and adoption. Yep, I believe that God puts adoption way up there.  His own Word says he places the lonely in families.

"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."

Psalm 68:5-6

It also says that pure and genuine religion in the sight of God is caring for the orphans.

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:27

I am sure you have seen or heard of some family that has a large number adopted children.  Their Christmas picture is like a beautiful multicolored puzzle of love. As an adoptive family ourselves, we have come in contact with a number of such families.  We also know first hand that sometimes it is really hard to raise children especially those who had a hard start.  So we have looked upon those families thinking how amazing they are, how gifted they are, and sometimes how crazy they must be.  But what if they are not? What if they truly get it? What if it is not about adopting our token child or two? What if, as Christians, we are called to adopt until there are no more children left to adopt?

I have been thinking about this lots lately.  It is not an easy thought. It requires us to be incredibly selfless. . .giving up our lives.  Fully surrendering to the authority and plan of God. Just like His Beloved Son. . .Jesus Christ.  What if. . .that is the very way to transform most into the image of Christ? What if, we miss that opportunity?

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