Wednesday, September 26, 2007
He led me to 1 Samuel 18 and the relationship between King Saul and David.
I read an interesting observation by Neil. T Anderson from his book 'The Daily Discipler', it reads; 'People who are secure in Christ are less prone to anger, because their identity and sense of self worth are found in Christ, not in the success or failure of others, not in the positive or negative circumstances of life'. (p244)
I wonder whether our anger at times - is birthed out of a need to defend who we are. Whereas if we know and are secure in who we are in Christ, we're free from the weight of negative and ill directed emotion and free to address the facts.
Just a thought.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Especially in the morning, you can’t help but think that you just lazy! That sleep must hold a greater priority than communicating with the creator of the universe.
It reminded me of Eutycus who fell into a deep sleep when Paul preached all night (Acts 20:7-12). Falling asleep whilst talking with God must be bad…because he fell from the 3rd floor and died!
No not really, he survived. the question is was it Paul who brought him back to life or was it the word of God that was living within him?
The Lord did take me to a couple of scriptures;
But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
Monday, September 24, 2007
In John 4:13 & 14 Jesus says this; "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Perhaps Jesus first priority was to allow her to become aware of the true source of life (as apposed to her sinfulness, which he doesn’t avoid, but addresses later on)
In verse 15, The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
Immediately her desire changed, because she sensed something greater.
And her initial response was one of sacrifice; you sense within her a desire to sacrifice whatever she needs to in order to get to what Jesus is proposing, that she wants it more than what she finds herself doing everyday. And what was she doing? She was laboring every day to gather the most precious source of life – so that life would be sustained in her and in her village. But she was drawing a natural substance to sustain a sinful life which Jesus subtly points out in his next instruction;
He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back." (v16)
It’s at this point (and I think important to say – not until this point) that Jesus allows her to become aware of her sin. Perhaps the application for us, when seeking to save the world would be this; we must always desire to introduce Jesus before we seek to point out someone’s sinfulness. Even Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17-18). If we look to the pattern of Isaiah 6, when anyone finds themselves in the presence of God, an awareness of their own sinfulness will take care of itself. Perhaps as the church we subconsciously feel better about ourselves when someone else’s sin is revealed – because it somehow increases our holiness. We develop a ‘separated’ mentality. Yes a separateness from sin is good, but not a separateness from the sinner (or the Samaritan). You can’t separate the holiness of God from his act of salvation. He didn’t incarnate to engage in our sinfulness, but he came to reveal himself. The conviction of the Holy Spirit in us takes care of the rest.
Verse 19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.
I found it interesting to note that the Samaritans response to Jesus pointing to her sin (at this point) was not bad. She didn’t say, ‘how dare you point that out’, ‘who do you think you are bringing up my sinful past…’ But she said this, ‘I can see that you are a prophet.’
I don’t think she was doubting her sinfulness…just her focus was more on Jesus and even her original purpose – for she’s the one who brings up the subject of worship! Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." (v20)
Jesus next response opens the door for the greatest of revelations – his desire for relationship. ‘we worship what we do know’ (v22)
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (v21-24)
Perhaps when we’re introduced to our sin before we’re introduced to Jesus, the nature of our relationship with God continues to follow that pattern. We expect that God’s next move is to point out our next floor. But I think that’s backwards. I think God’s only desire is to reveal himself. Here I am.
When God said to Adam and Eve ‘where are you’ (Gen 3:9), perhaps he was really saying…Here I am. In your sinfulness…I’m still here. Perhaps you’ve left me but I haven’t left you. What's the response he's looking for?
Here I am.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
It's a humbling thought to know that when we worship, the elders who surround the throne 'fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever'. (v10)
The way we live our lives; as a Lion, an Ox, a human and an Eagle (see yesterday's blog) - when we worship from every angle of our lives - the ripple effect extends to the most inner circle of God's throne.
Isaiah 6:1-5 is possibly one of the most well know theophanies; In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "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."
What struck me when i read this passage was verse 3; And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
In particular the first 7 words 'And they were calling to one another:...'
The ripple effect of every part of our lives should be one that calls those that surround us to look to the King and fall before him in worship. (Is it safe for me to assume that if anything that has breath were to be found looking upon the King their natural yet almost involuntary response would be one of worship?).
So what do you call? What worship song resonates from the way you live your life?
Does your Lion face call others to worship? Not just the elders in heaven, but the person you sit next to at work? Because the effect of our worship is one that causes others to see & therefore worship the King.
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. (Revelation 4:9)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I began to think about the Lion, the Ox, the Human and the Eagle and the fact that the living creatures had eyes all around, and that, Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."
For us the Lion represents the protector, the provider. The Ox the worker, The human...well the human and the Eagle the worshiper.
Perhaps the difference is that we operate with only 1 set of eyes. Therefore when we're working, all we see is work. Trouble is what we're not seeing is more important than what we are seeing. When we're providing and protecting, all we see is our self provided provision and our own self provided protection. Trouble is what we're not seeing is more important than what we are seeing. In our Humanity, all we see in our humanity. And because we're not looking to the throne at the same time, (because we're only operating out of 1 set of eyes) we see the 'fallen' humanity as apposed to the 'created in the image of God' humanity. We certainly worship, we all look to the throne, we all seek to soar as close the heaven as possible...but these eyes are in operation usually on a Sunday when we're in a church building.
Perhaps for 3/4 our time we cease to intentionally worship.
So the key is to open your eyes when your Lion face is on - and see the throne. open your eyes when your Ox face is on - and see the throne. Open your eyes when your Human face is on - and see the throne. And open your eyes when your Eagle face is on - and see the throne!
Some more revelation around v9-11 to come (tomorrow).
In Luke 10, Jesus has commissioned 72 disciples, appointed and sent them - ahead of himself, to the homes of those they encounter.
Knowing that Jesus sent the disciples 'ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go' (Luke 10:1), my next question to myself was this; Has he come yet?
Perhaps we rely too much on the miraculous. We think that the Holy Spirit hasn't arrived yet because the day doesn't feel like a sequel to Acts 2! We (I) need to recognise that he has come already - through us. Recognise Jesus -in you - in that place - already.
v8 eat what is set before you.
Sometimes being appointed can seem a lot like your mum not allowing you to leave the table until you've eaten all the lumpy custard (which is now cold by the way).
If we can get past eating what is set before us, then we get to do what it is that we were sent to do, v9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.
Interesting that the preach comes after a demonstration of the power of God, and the demonstration of God's power comes after you've sat with them in their home and ate with them.
v10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
I found myself considering the tone of voice in which one would deliver this message. My mind went to one of rebuke, but the Lord said this to me; Don't do it with a spirit of condemnation but with a broken heart for a people that are lost - knowing full well that you will not be well received. Rebuke (correct & encourage) with a broken heart - in faith filled anticipation for the response of a heart that begins to break (or soften).
Then move on into their house - eat with them - become a channel for the power of God to move through...then give them the good news of the Kingdom.
v16, "He who listens to you listens to me;
It's not about you, but the one who sent you. Easy to get caught up in yourself.
v17, The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."
Rejoyce when the kingdom of heaven is advanced, but don't get stuck on rejoicing in the spectacular. See past what everyone else sees, see into the Kingdom. Rejoyce because a new name is written in Heaven. Rejoyce not because of what you have done, but because of what Christ has done - through you. Therefore, don't put faith in what your about to do, have faith in the one who is about to close the deal through you. He holds then pen, (blood not ink by they way) he writes the new name in Heaven.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. (Luke 10:1-7)
v1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two.
It’s good to be reminded that we are appointed. To be appointed means to be directed to a specific situation, place or circumstance. The one who appoints you points to the place where you are appointed to. So for you, where I God pointing to?
v1 and sent them.
So God not only points, but sends us to that place. God’s not into guided tours. God’s not about window shopping. We’re sent directly to what we see.
v1 ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
Let’s assume for a moment that we are all in the place where we have been appointed to. Or let’s believe that were we are about to go today is the place where God is pointing to right now. After all we do serve the omnipotent “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev 19:16). So according to Luke 10:1 God is about to arrive at the place where you are right now. Jesus sent the disciples to the ‘place where he was about to go’
v1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
Interesting revelation when I find myself thinking everyday, I wish I wasn't here…!
v4 & 5 say, Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.'
Perhaps we too often approach the appointment with a ‘preach’ mentality. After all, preaching is rather glamorous these days! But Jesus said, ‘do not greet anyone on the road’. Perhaps because he knew our approach would be to preach at them. Instead he says, “When you enter a house” When you enter a house, first say, “Peace be with you”. It’s not about our preach, it’s about he who is lost & a peace that he doesn't yet have.
Verse 7, Stay in that house,
Perhaps we souldn't be too quick to move on, after all Jesus is about to come to where you are right now!
hmm, this one will have to be continued…
Monday, September 17, 2007
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I found myself considering my portion. According to Leviticus 2:2, what do i have that i can give back to the Lord; what is my sacrifice? what is my offering?
My cup - What is it that i drink of? What is my cross to bear?
My lot - Where is it that my boundary lines have fallen? What is my inheritance? Can i be pleased? Am i satisfied?
Then came the revelation,
Although I can find good answers, (great answers) for all of the above - (if i put my New Covenant lenses on), what brings me peace is not my portion, my cup nor my lot, but a trust in the one whom assigns it. Verse 2 says, I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." The beginning of verse 5 says, LORD, you have assigned me my portion... My portion, my cup and my lot have been assigned; secured, written, documented and stamped!
My cup is one of salvation; salvation from my cup! I drink of the Lord because he drank the cup of my sin on my behalf. Therefore my calling and my commission is of the Lord and of His cup and not my own.
My lot should have been handed down according to the name of my ancestors, but then i received a new name. My lot, my inheritance comes from the Lord. Not just my eternal inheritance but my earthly inheritance. Life abundantly now!
With New Covenant lenses, my perspective changes. Take God out of the picture and it's easy to find fault in your portion, it's easy to find disaster in your cup, it's easy to see lack in your inheritance. But with Jesus in the story, what I see, what I have and what I receive is pleasant. My Inheritance is delightful.
Two more thoughts .
(1) My portion, my cup and my inheritance still take their place with me in the world.
However, 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. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23:4-6)
(2) Although my inheritance is now, my inheritance in all it's fullness is yet to come.
Ps Steve Kelly delivered a great preach Sunday morning. Genesis 1:5 says, And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. For us the day begins with light and ends with Darkness. For the Lord, the day begins in darkness and ends in light.
The end of the day, the end of the season, the end of the valley is better than the beginning.
The best is yet to come.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
What makes this verse even more incredible is it's context. The Lord is about to release the people of Israel from exile. Restoration.
Psalm 103:1-5 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The good things; 'treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.'
God wasn't restoring their past, he was unveiling and releasing them into a future that they could not even begin to comprehend.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
This passage of scripture speaks two things to me, (1) The Grace of God. Despite all the sin and the controversy of the Israelites; the arrogance, the rebellion and the disobedience, God's compassion remained. (2) Even though humanness led the process to take many a wrong turn, the promise never changed, or more importantly, ceased. God didn't just express compassion for them, but he continued to provide, a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, 'to shine the way they were to take' (v19). By the grace of God, they still had a way to take! God's plan lived on. God's purpose and God's promise, through them, remained.
The Lord spoke to me out of Matthew chapter 1:1-17, usually a passage that you'd skip right over, and even question at times why on earth it ever made the cut!
But these 5 words spoke of a promise wrapped in compassion and grace; 'After the exile to Babylon: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel...(Matthew 1:12) The Israelites found themselves in exile due to their arrogance, their rebellion and their disobedience. All was lost! Well, almost all; God's compassion and his promise lived on.
Abraham received a promise. The process took a few wrong turns, but the promise (wrapped in compassion and grace) remained.
The continuation of that same promise made its way to Mary, and this was her response, “His mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50)
"Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen. (Nehemiah 9:19-21)
Friday, September 7, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God." At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter."He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
The key words in this verse would have to be, 'O God!' right...?
How easy is it to live by this passage - but minus those two most important words? We'll not easy at all come to think of it! (otherwise known as living in a state of constant anxiety). So much of how we live is determined by what other people think.
I understand the first part of this next verse well,
but it's the second part that requires my undivided attention.
Proverbs 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
So im interested in what God thinks, nothing more, nothing less.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
He knows that when it comes to being a Hebrew, he is a 'Hebrew of Hebrews' (v6). No one was more zealous for God than Paul. Paul's righteousness (from a Pharisaical, legalistic perspective) was faultless. According to the Law, Paul had good reason to feel good about what he had achieved in his life time.
But in verses 7-10, Paul counts everything that he has achieved as 'rubbish' (v8), I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (v8)
Paul was saying...i don't want to know my old self any longer, i don't want to even talk about myself any more, but what I want to know is Christ; nothing can surpass the greatness of knowing Christ.
When Paul uses the word 'knowing' in the above verse, he's using the word 'gnosis', basically a head knowledge; general intelligence, understanding. So he's effectively saying, I want my mind to be no longer focused on myself, but on Christ, I want to know...about Christ.
But he goes on to say, ...I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him (v9). To be 'found' in Christ (heurisko) means to be in pursuit of more than simply general intelligence and understanding. Paul desires to meet with Christ himself.
In verse 10 Paul takes things 1 step further, he says, 'I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead'
When Paul says, I want to 'know Chirst' in verse 10, he uses a slightly different word, this time its 'ginosko' and in the Jewish context of the time it refers to a level of 'knowing' found only in a sexually intimate relationship between husband and wife.
So the journey looks a bit like this,
Forget about yourself, concentrate on him, worship him (is that a song...?), give yourself to him, pursue more than a knowledge of him; seek his face, and when you give yourself to him...give everything!
...And the things of earth will grow strangely dim...
I want to know you Lord.