Monday, November 17, 2008

And everyone will know

 22 "Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. 23 I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord, then the nations will know that I am the Lord. 24 For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land.

 25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.[c] 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

 28 "And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. 30 I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. 31 Then you will remember your past sins and despise yourselves for all the detestable things you did. 32 But remember, says the Sovereign Lord, I am not doing this because you deserve it. O my people of Israel, you should be utterly ashamed of all you have done!

 33 "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I cleanse you from your sins, I will repopulate your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. 35 And when I bring you back, people will say, 'This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!' 36 Then the surrounding nations that survive will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I say.

 37 "This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am ready to hear Israel's prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock. 38 They will be as numerous as the sacred flocks that fill Jerusalem's streets at the time of her festivals. The ruined cities will be crowded with people once more, and everyone will know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 36:22-38)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

In our image, after our likeness

'And in what did this image of God consist? Not in the erect form or features of man, not in his intellect, for the devil and his angels are, in this respect, far superior; not in his immortality, for he has not, like God, past as well as a future eternity of being; but in the moral disposition of his soul, commonly called original righteousness (Ec 7:29). As the new creation is only a restoration of this image, the history of the one throws light on the other; and we are informed that it is renewed after the image of God in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness.' (JFB, Gen 1:26-27)

'...put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator' (Colossians 3:10)

'...put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.' (Ephesians 4:24)


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Righteous Revolution Pt. 10

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
(1 Peter 2:24)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Righteous Revolution Pt. 9

Do not fret because of evil men

or be envious of those who do wrong;

for like the grass they will soon wither,

like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the LORD and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Delight yourself in the LORD

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD;

trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

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.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For evil men will be cut off,

but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

A little while, and the wicked will be no more;

though you look for them, they will not be found.

But the meek will inherit the land

and enjoy great peace.

The wicked plot against the righteous

and gnash their teeth at them;

but the Lord laughs at the wicked,

for he knows their day is coming.

The wicked draw the sword

and bend the bow

to bring down the poor and needy,

to slay those whose ways are upright.

But their swords will pierce their own hearts,

and their bows will be broken.

Better the little that the righteous have

than the wealth of many wicked;

for the power of the wicked will be broken,

but the LORD upholds the righteous.

The days of the blameless are known to the LORD,

and their inheritance will endure forever.

In times of disaster they will not wither;

in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

But the wicked will perish:

The LORD's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields,

they will vanish—vanish like smoke.

The wicked borrow and do not repay,

but the righteous give generously;

those the LORD blesses will inherit the land,

but those he curses will be cut off.

If the LORD delights in a man's way,

he makes his steps firm;

though he stumble, he will not fall,

for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

I was young and now I am old,

yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken

or their children begging bread.

They are always generous and lend freely;

their children will be blessed.

Turn from evil and do good;

then you will dwell in the land forever.

For the LORD loves the just

and will not forsake his faithful ones.

They will be protected forever,

but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;

the righteous will inherit the land

and dwell in it forever.

The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom,

and his tongue speaks what is just.

The law of his God is in his heart;

his feet do not slip.

The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,

seeking their very lives;

but the LORD will not leave them in their power

or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

Wait for the LORD

and keep his way.

He will exalt you to inherit the land;

when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

I have seen a wicked and ruthless man

flourishing like a green tree in its native soil,

but he soon passed away and was no more;

though I looked for him, he could not be found.

Consider the blameless, observe the upright;

there is a future for the man of peace.

But all sinners will be destroyed;

the future of the wicked will be cut off.

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;

he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

The LORD helps them and delivers them;

he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,

because they take refuge in him.

(Psalm 37:1-40)

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Righteous Revolution Pt. 8

I've blogged on different portions of Isaiah 6 before - with different revelation each time but when I was running tonight, & praying about a righteous revolution, God spoke to me again, bringing together what had previously been two separate lines of thought.

(December 10, 2007)
Isaiah 6:1 says, '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.'
We know that in the times of the Old Testament when a King would send his men into war, after they defeated their enemy, the King would walk through the battle ground and take for his men the spoils. But the greatest recognition for the King that he had been victorious was signified when he would have a piece of the defeated King's robe cut off and then sewn onto the bottom or the end of his own. So for a King, in Old Testament times, the length of his robe would therefore be a sign or an indication of his greatness i.e. the longer his robe, the move victories he had won and the more powerful a King he was.
The temple of the OT was a place where the people would come to offer sacrifices because of their sin, because of their defeatedness. It was a place where they would bring their failure, their insecurity, and their inadequacy. Not much has changed over the years. For us, the new Israel, the temple of the church is still a place where we bring our brokenness. As we attend every week, our failure, our fear, our insecurity, and our sin all follow us through the door. But then came the revelation; 'the train of His robe filled the temple'. We worship a God of Victory, a King who has defeated the power of sin. And if that piece of cloth is sewn to the train of His robe, and if His robe fills the temple...our, then everything we bring is covered, everything we bring into the temple is defeated. We are covered by the robe of the King who has conquered death! The train of his Robe signifies Christs defeat over the enemy. His Blood seals our redemption and our righteousness (past, present & future) in His name.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Here's the second thought.
'In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" (Isaiah 6:1-3)

The first 5 words of verse 3 in my opinion is the revolution, the Righteous Revolution.
'And one called to another'
Our focus should rightfully be on the Holiness of God, but if we can get a revelation of the Righteousness of Christ in us (the train of His robe fills our temple), the next step is for 'one to call to another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" There's no revolution if we spend all of our time singing worship songs to Jesus yet watch the people around us go to hell at the same time. What greater worship can we offer God than to draw the people around us to see the Holiness of God, to call their attention to the Glory of the Lord of Hosts

'And the train of his robe filled the temple...And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!".

That's a Righteous Revolution.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Righteous Revolution Pt. 7

'God's love does not conflict with His holiness and righteousness. On the contrary, the nature of God's holiness and righteousness demands that He be a God of love. His holiness is the absolute uniqueness and infinite value of His glory. His righteousness is His unswerving commitment always to honor and display that glory. And His all-sufficient glory is honored and displayed most by His working for us rather than our working for Him. And this is love.'
(Piper, Brothers, we are not professionals)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Righteous Revolution Pt. 6

The actions and positive results of a sound relationship within a local community or between God and a person or His people. Translators have employed “righteousness” in rendering several biblical words into English: sedaqah, sedeq, in Hebrew; and dikaiosune and euthutes in Greek. “Righteousness” in the original languages denotes far more than in English usage; indeed, biblical righteousness is generally at odds with current English usage. We understand righteousness to mean “uprightness” in the sense of “adherence or conformity to an established norm.” In biblical usage righteousness is rooted in covenants and relationships. For biblical authors, righteousness is the fulfillment of the terms of a covenant between God and humanity or between humans in the full range of human relationships.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Righteous Revolution Pt. 5

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's 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.

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

(Psalm 23:1-6)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Righteous Revolution Pt. 4

Hear this word, O house of Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:

"Fallen is Virgin Israel,
never to rise again,
deserted in her own land,
with no one to lift her up."

This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"The city that marches out a thousand strong for Israel
will have only a hundred left;
the town that marches out a hundred strong
will have only ten left."

This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel:
"Seek me and live;

do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
and Bethel will be reduced to nothing. "

Seek the LORD and live,
or he will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour,
and Bethel will have no one to quench it.

You who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground

(he who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns blackness into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out over the face of the land—
the LORD is his name-

he flashes destruction on the stronghold
and brings the fortified city to ruin),

you hate the one who reproves in court
and despise him who tells the truth.

You trample on the poor
and force him to give you grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.

For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
You oppress the righteous and take bribes
and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts.

Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.

Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.

Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.

Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD God Almighty, says:
"There will be wailing in all the streets
and cries of anguish in every public square.
The farmers will be summoned to weep
and the mourners to wail.

There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass through your midst,"
says the LORD.

The Day of the LORD
Woe to you who long
for the day of the LORD!
Why do you long for the day of the LORD ?
That day will be darkness, not light.

It will be as though a man fled from a lion
only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
and rested his hand on the wall
only to have a snake bite him.

Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—
pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

"I hate, I despise your religious feasts;
I cannot stand your assemblies.

Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.

Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

"Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?

You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god —
which you made for yourselves.

Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,"
says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty.

(Amos 5:1-27)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Righteous Revolution Pt.3

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my sighing.

Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.

The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.

You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the LORD abhors.

But I, by your great mercy,
will come into your house;
in reverence will I bow down
toward your holy temple.

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make straight your way before me.

Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with destruction.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongue they speak deceit.

Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

(Psalm 5:1-12)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Righteous Revolution cont.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
'The renewed man acts upon new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company. The believer is created anew; his heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given him. He is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Though the same as a man, he is changed in his character and conduct. These words must and do mean more than an outward reformation. The man who formerly saw no beauty in the Saviour that he should desire him, now loves him above all things. The heart of the unregenerate is filled with enmity against God, and God is justly offended with him. Yet there may be reconciliation. Our offended God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. By the inspiration of God, the Scriptures were written, which are the word of reconciliation; showing that peace has been made by the cross, and how we may be interested therein. Though God cannot lose by the quarrel, nor gain by the peace, yet he beseeches sinners to lay aside their enmity, and accept the salvation he offers. Christ knew no sin. He was made Sin; not a sinner, but Sin, a Sin-offering, a Sacrifice for sin. The end and design of all this was, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, might be justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Can any lose, labour, or suffer too much for Him, who gave his beloved Son to be the Sacrifice for their sins, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him?' (Matthew Henry)

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Righteous Revolution

sedeq is the Hebrew noun for Righteousness, usually rendered "righteousness, justice, righteous." Mounce explains that 'God wants his people to pattern their life after him. Therefore, he wants them to live righteous lives, both religiously and morally (Ps. 4:5; 15:2). This applies to the king, whose job it is to promote the righteous laws of God (Ps. 72:1-2; Prov. 25:5).
Mounce goes on to say that 'sedeq especially refers to a need for social justice to be done to the poor, the needy, and the oppressed (Job 29:14; Isa. 1:21). Unfortunately, Israel's leaders often failed in this regard.' (p593:2006)
May the Church not continue to do the same.
Be a Righteous Revolution.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Let it rain

Arielle and I walked to the park this morning because 'park' is all she said for about 1 hour non stop! As we were getting closer and closer it started to rain. For about 2 minutes i seriously considered turning around as i was aware that as the rain was getting stronger and stronger, and we were getting further and further away from home and any kind of shelter. However we pressed on.
As we arrived at the oval we headed straight for the nearest tree. This was torture for Arielle because the playground was in full view - rain and a large oval were all that were between us. So i started to explain to her that it was raining and that we needed to wait until it had stopped before we could get there. "How inconvenient" i said. How annoying that the rain would get in the way of our desired destination. But then i began to explain that rain is good. Rain is necessary. We should appreciate the rain - even in its inconvenience. "Jesus sends the rain" i said. Rain causes things to grow. "Thank you Jesus for the rain". ...she didn't seem to agree at the time :-/
Spiritually speaking we know that rain is often attributed to an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And this is what we seek is it not? Would it be fair to say that many of us inconveniently make our way to church because we conveniently seek an outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Haven't we learn't to chase after a supernatural event - on Sunday? A self indulging, self gratifying, I need a touch from God encounter and at this point nothing will get in my way? I wonder how often we seek what we want and what we believe to be good yet whilst doing so we miss what God has for us and therefore what is far better at that moment in time. I wonder how often God desires to communicate with us yet because its not Sunday and because there's no worship team, all we see is an interruption?
I pray for rain. I pray for a rain that interrupts. I pray for rain that is inconvenient. I pray for rain that is unexpected, unplanned, unmanufactured, unsught and unrecognisable. I pray for rain that shifts my mind from my desired destination to Gods presence, and i pray for it on a Saturday before a Sunday.
From the inner most parts of my being will flow streams of living water Jesus said (John 7:38). Seek Jesus and your rain will come - hopefully at an unexpected, unplanned, unmanufactured and inconvenient time.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Zechariah Serves in the Temple

It doesn't take long when reading Luke 1 to realise that Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth carry - internally, a degree of disappointment. Verse 7 says, 'But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.' Sociologically speaking this would have been a concern for them, especially Elizabeth considering the role that women played within the culture of this time. But before we're told, 'but they had no children', we're told that, regardless...'Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly' (v6).

V8 goes on to say, 'Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside'.

This is big for Zechariah. In reality, he may have received this kind of opportunity at best, once a year. So i began to wonder - what would be the subject of his agenda?
If we only had the opportunity to personally meet with the creator of the universe once a year - if that - what would our priority list look like? What pressing issues would we want to bring before the Lord?

Well considering verse 7 you'd safely assume that Zechariah was well prepared to bring before the Lord their inability to conceive! And considering the fact that right at that moment an angel of the Lord turned up and mentioned what he did (v11), you'd think that his urgent prayer had just been answered wouldn't you?

Well this may be controversial but i want to suggest that this wasn't the subject of Zechariah's prayer. See the greater, more pressing issue for Israel was a savior and i believe that Zechariah knew this and placed this above all else. I want to suggest that his mindset was moved from 'what can i bring before the Lord, personally speaking', to operating out of a reverence for the Lord and the office he was currently holding. And perhaps it was that that influenced his divine visitation at that point. I don't want to suggest that Zechariah's right motive brought about God's idea to send Jesus, but perhaps it confirmed for him the time to communicate his plan?

Zechariah's answer to prayer came not out of a heart that was consumed by it, but out of a heart for others, a heart for his nation and the freedom that awaits.
This then brings new perspective not only to how we must approach the church, but also our miracle and our answered prayer. Too often our miracle is about us - and it overrides our service unto the Lord.
For Zechariah, his miracle was his miracle, but his miracle had a greater purpose - to prepare the way for the Lord, the Savior that Israel (and Zechariah) had been praying for. And perhaps that's why Zechariah's miracle was John the Baptist and not someone else? Becuase God knew he could release this prophet - with the lifetime agenda that he had - to a father that wouldn't be so self consumed that he'd hinder his ability to release his son to activate that calling.

'Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly' (v6)


Friday, May 9, 2008

2 Samuel 22

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;

my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent men you save me.

I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.

"The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the LORD;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.

"The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because he was angry.

Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.

He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.

He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.

Out of the brightness of his presence
bolts of lightning blazed forth.

The LORD thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.

He shot arrows and scattered the enemies ,
bolts of lightning and routed them.

The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the LORD,
at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.

They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.

He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

"The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.

For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not done evil by turning from my God.

All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.

I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.

The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in his sight.

"To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.

You save the humble,
but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.

You are my lamp, O LORD;
the LORD turns my darkness into light.

With your help I can advance against a troop ;
with my God I can scale a wall.

"As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.

For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?

It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.

He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You give me your shield of victory;
you stoop down to make me great.

You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn.

"I pursued my enemies and crushed them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.

I crushed them completely, and they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.

You armed me with strength for battle;
you made my adversaries bow at my feet.

You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.

They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the LORD, but he did not answer.

I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth;
I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.

"You have delivered me from the attacks of my people;
you have preserved me as the head of nations.
People I did not know are subject to me,

and foreigners come cringing to me;
as soon as they hear me, they obey me.

They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.

"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!

He is the God who avenges me,
who puts the nations under me,

who sets me free from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from violent men you rescued me.

Therefore I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations;
I will sing praises to your name.

He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
to David and his descendants forever."

Praise the Lord.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

From unbelief to amazement

I read again this morning the account of the resurrection in Luke 24.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened
Verse 11 tells us that at first hearing of the resurrection from Mary and others, 'they did not believe them'. But what was most interesting to read was not so much verse 12 itself but the footnote attached to it (NLT) that explains that some ancient authorities lack this verse - thank goodness our account doesn't. If the disciples had remained in the unbelief of verse 11 then why wouldn't we remain there also? But according to verse 12 the difference between unbelief and amazement is this; Peter 'got up' from his unbelief, and he 'ran to the tomb'. Perhaps when we experience doubt, or confusion, or unbelief, rather than remaining in that place, we need to 'get up and run [closer] to Jesus'. When he got there he stopped and looked 'in'. He looked past his unbelief and 'in' with faith to the possibilities of Jesus. Perhaps he was able to look 'in' only because he'd positioned himself where he knew Jesus to be rather than looking from the position of somebody elses' account - or from all that his mind could comprehend at that moment. Instead, 'he went home, amazed at what had happened' :-)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In the desert...

According to Mark 1:3 we know of John the Baptist as "a voice of one calling in the desert", and the messages he was speaking, "'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' "
So John is in the desert, speaking to those who are not.
But when you read Isaiah 40 it looks slightly different;
A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD ; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God."
So is John the 'voice calling in the desert'? or is John the voice calling... 'In the desert, in the wilderness... make straight a highway for their God?
Spiritually speaking we know that those who John was speaking to were in fact in a desert, and would remain there until they repented of their sin and accepted Christ as Lord.
Even as a Christian, Isaiah 40:3 provided fresh revelation for me. When you feel like you're in a dry season, when you're in the desert, when you're in the wilderness, 'make straight...a highway for the Lord'.

Monday, April 21, 2008

In the shadow of your wings

I've been studying Pslam 57 of late - way too much revelation to fit into this blog, but here's just one thought; David's in hiding because Saul and about 400 of his elite soldiers are after him. You'd excuse him for having a bad attitude not just because his life is under threat, but also due to the fact that he's been forced to sleep in a cave! But for David, his circumstance isn't a hole in the side of a hill, instead its the shadow of the wings of the almighty, and so he begins to Praise! That's kingdom perspective, and I think i want it :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lamp unto my feet

The Lord reminded me of Psalm 119:105 this morning whilst I was running 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path', (5:10am by the way…yes it was dark and yes the street lights did help :-) As I was running, I could see the path in front of me, but only as far as my next step. So I began to think...perhaps the lamp of God's word, sometimes, lights just enough for 1 step and not necessarily with too much more in view?
When your driving a car and your in thick fog, you're likely to slow right down & if its bad enough you'll even consider stopping and waiting till the fog clears. But as simple a revelation (reminder) as this is, God spoke to me again of the need for faith, for trust in God's word - but a trust that without works is dead… I don't think we're called to sit and wait for the fog to clear. If we do I suspect we'll still be waiting until Jesus comes back! But how much of the stepping is trial and error? I think we too often step and only look to the word when we've discovered we've stepped into the wrong how now do we get out...? The word only shines light on the pathway if it's alive in our life. Reminds me of a preacher firing up about people using the analogy of the bible being like a street directory...but don't we only ever pull that out when we're lost? or a cook book...but don't we only pull that out when someone comes over for dinner and we want to impress them...?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Abide with me

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am." (1 Samuel 3:1-2)

The moment I read this verse I thought of the hymn 'Abide with me' (Gold!).
What a sensational picture of Samuel as a little boy 'lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.' I can even imagine him singing as he lay there...'Abide with me; fast falls the eventide: The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide: When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, o abide with me.'
We know Eli to be a good man, a great priest, but we also know that he failed because he failed to lead his own family. And surely Eli's two sons would have been as much an influence as Eli, if not greater, on Samuel as a boy. Today we would say, 'it's not Samuel's fault, he just got caught up in the wrong crowd...the wrong place at the wrong time...' But Perhaps we're too quick to bow to the influences of this world? With an awareness of what was happening around him, maybe Samuel fought to move in the opposite direction? I wondered whether the wisdom of Samuel grew at such an early age because he spent his life in the presence of the Lord. Whether it was that that led him to a place where he could make decisions for himself that would seem to be beyond the level of maturity that his age would suggest? And just maybe there's not only a direct relationship between the silence of the Lord and the silence of Eli, but also between the voice of God and a boy that was hungry to live in his presence? Notice Samuel's response wasn't...'I'll be there in a moment', but rather 'here I am'. So if God called to you right now, and your response reflected the place where you currently rest, would you be saying ...'I'll be there in a moment', or 'here I am'.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I have become His priest

Judges 18:1-6 says,
In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking for itself a territory to live in; for until then no territory among the tribes of Israel had been allotted to them. 2 So the Danites sent five valiant men from the whole number of their clan, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it; and they said to them, “Go, explore the land.” When they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they stayed there. 3 While they were at Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they went over and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?” 4 He said to them, “Micah did such and such for me, and he hired me, and I have become his priest.” 5 Then they said to him, “Inquire of God that we may know whether the mission we are undertaking will succeed.” 6 The priest replied, “Go in peace. The mission you are on is under the eye of the Lord.”

I wonder whether this circumstance reflects the position of many people within society? I see a people that are leaderless. I see a people that have no place to rest. They know that something has been allotted to them...i.e. they know that life has more to offer than what they currently know, and they're actively searching for what they believe is rightfully theirs. The significant thing is the fact that they begin to find their answer in the voice of a boy, a 'young Levite' (v3).
And it's not that surprising that their initial reaction is one of shock,

“Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?”

His response,
"...I have become his priest.”

Imagine the church, full of a generation of young people that when asked what they're doing, their response is this; "...I have become a priest"! No that they've become a 'Pastor' as we know it or a 'Salvation Army Officer'...or a 'Bishop' etc. but simply the fact that their heart is one that is devoted to nothing other than hearing and responding to and speaking the word of God.

You'd almost forgive the older men for looking upon the boy and saying 'get back home, you should be waisting your time on xbox...'!
But they don't. Instead they say this,

“Inquire of God that we may know whether the mission we are undertaking will succeed.”

Suddenly 5 valiant men encounter Godly leadership...from a boy!

Lord I pray for a prophetic generation that will seek to hear and speak your word. I pray for the boldness to say 'We are priests of the Lord'. I pray for a society that will turn again to the church.
And may you speak so clearly through us, that your voice through us would have the power to effect change is this world. I pray that we as a generation would bring a message of peace (v6) to the world.

So perhaps the heart of Jesus is this; that the Church would rise up as a kingdom of priests, to be a light to the nations directing them to the only one that brings peace - Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word...In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. (John 1:1-7)

Lord, raise us up a John the Baptist Generation!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Luke 11:27-28 says, While he [Jesus] was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!”
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”

So to hear the word of God and obey it is to know Christ like a mother knows her child.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I found it interesting this morning to read what directly followed the teaching of the Lord's prayer in Luke 11. We know how we're supposed to pray, Jesus is clear in his instruction. So when it comes to the act of praying, there's always a cautious cyclic pattern of wanting to ask for something in prayer but not before honoring God above all. Once we get to our own needs, we're conscious again of getting our mind off our circumstance and back on to God. But i think Jesus teaching in
verses 5-13 is summed up in in the word 'boldness' (v8), essentially meaning 'shameless'. Interesting revelation. I would have thought that it's one thing to be bold but another to be shameless. My experience is that I'm often too ashamed to remain at the asking stage and need as quickly as possible to return to the 'hallowed be your name'. Thank you Lord for the reminder - we can come boldly before the throne of Grace. I know i would be devastated if Arielle felt too ashamed to ask me...for anything. Thank you Lord that you desire to give to your children, especially your Holy Spirit (v13).
Good to be back :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What about me...?

This parable suggests that even when you’re in the presence of Jesus, you still sometime fail too see him. In Matthew 26 we find the disciples caught up in the moral status of another. We find them distracted by an act of generosity. They were so consumed with emotions of anger and self righteousness that they missed the object of greatest value and priority...Jesus. Jesus said to them..."Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.' (Matthew 26:10-11) What about me!

It's easy to get caught up in the cycle of serving & speaking Jesus, but even the disciples failed to see him in different circumstances, and they were in the same room as him!
It's not all about what we do. It's all about Jesus, and if it's about Jesus, then what we do will naturally follow. Sure, the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor, but shift your focus to Jesus and Jesus will shift your heart, not your wallet, to the poor.
Jesus is worth more than any jar of perfume, and his worth will heal a poor man before your wallet will! Jesus needs to be at the center of your sight because Jesus is longing to redirect your seeing, hearing & doing with a heart that reflects only his heart. Go for the heart of Jesus over the natural ability to effect change - His heart is completely pure.

Interesting that Judas may just have been the one that was so focused on the value of the perfume that he went out and began to use the value of Jesus to generate and perhaps even make up some of the wealth that he just saw lost? Jesus became nothing more than a money making object. Why? Because the wrong focus consumed him. In the world of ecclesiology, this also can become a focus that dominates what we see, hear & do - allowing our association with Jesus to assist us in the generation of wealth! Perhaps then we become only one step away from betrayal? Or perhaps we're already there...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The role of a leader.

I'm reminded again of the essence of leadership spoken by the mentor of perhaps the greatest leader in history (and perhaps right there lies one of the greatest lessons a leader can ever learn...that even in greatness there is still much to be learnt!).

'Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.' (Exodus 18:19-20).

So the role of a leader is 3 fold; (1) To pray. 'You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to him'. We're called to intercede. (2) To teach, 'Teach them the decrees and laws'. We're called to feed. & (3) To live as an example. 'show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform'. We're called to lead!

So we Lead, we Feed and we Intercede.

Bless all our leaders Lord, may we hear your voice that comes via their intercession, may we eat of your word as they teach it to us and may we follow them, as they follow Christ.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The one who Blesses

I find it extraordinary that during a time when the people of all the world, including Jacob and his family of 70, were living in debt to the Pharaoh of Egypt because of a severe drought, that it's Jacob who, twice, blesses Pharaoh,
'Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked him, "How old are you?"And Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers." Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence' (Genesis 47:7-10).
In one sense, Pharaoh and all the people of Egypt were living in debt to Joseph because he was the one who fore-warned and then worked for 7 years to prepare for the severe and life threatening drought, so you'd think that the king of that land would be appreciative enough to bless that same mans father when he entered his presence!? But more than that, in the eyes of the people of Egypt, and particularly of Pharaoh himself - he was god! The people of Egypt worshiped many gods, but ultimately, Pharaoh was god on earth. So then why is it Jacob blessing Pharaoh and not pharaoh blessing Jacob?

If i picture myself in a parallel circumstance - i simply think of work. I go to work because i need to earn money. I need to earn money in order to provide for my family, otherwise we'll live in drought! So therefore my work is something that i need, that, in a sense I'm subject to, and in debt of. My employment is a blessing. It blesses me. But a change in perspective would say that I work primarily for the God that employs me and the God that I serve, the creator, sustainer and governor of all things, and according to Gen 12, he who blesses me will be blessed. Therefore I present myself there, not to be blessed but to be the one who blesses. It's not about either work or myself being greater than the other, but rather the God that i serve being King of kings and Lord of lords. I worship and serve the creator of the universe, the one who holds all life in his hands - including that of my employer. And so I bless them. Twice.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blessed pt. 7

A paraphrase by William Barclay on Matthew 5:9, 'O the bliss of those who produce right relationships one with another, for they are doing a Godlike work!' (p127, the new daily study bible, 2001)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blessed pt. 6

A paraphrase by William Barclay on Matthew 5:8, 'O the bliss of those whose motives are absolutely pure, for they will some day be able to see God!' (p124, the new daily study bible, 2001)

The Valley

Here's an interesting revelation; on which side of the valley of the shadow of death is the green pastures, still waters and the restoration of your soul....?
(see Psalm 23)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Blessed pt. 5

A paraphrase by William Barclay on Matthew 5:7, 'O the bliss of those who get right inside other people, until they can see with their eyes, think with their thoughts, feel with their feelings, for those who do that will find others do the same for them, and will know that that is what God in Jesus has done!' (p120 the new daily study bible, 2001)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Blessed pt. 4

A paraphrase by William Barclay on Matthew 5:6 'O the bliss of those who long for total righteousness as the starving long for food, and those perishing of thirst long for water, for they will be truly satisfied!' (p118, the new daily study bible, 2001)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Blessed pt. 3

'O the bliss of those who are always angry at the right time and never angry at the wrong time, who have every instinct, impulse and passion under control because they themselves are God-controlled, who have the humility to realise their own ignorance and their own weakness, for such people can indeed rule the world!' (Matthew 5:5, paraphrased),
(Barclay, p114, The new Daily Study bible, 2001)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Clay in the potter's hand

I often find myself asking the question, 'Does God have a plan b?'
Perhaps Jeremiah 18:1-6 clears it up;
'This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.'

According to the human eye, the clay is marred and perhaps will always be 'marred' i.e. blemished, flawed, stained, disfigured, spoiled. In the light of an earlier blog on the subject of 'hearing, believing and then seeing accordingly', we've already arrived at the final stage here, meaning that what we're seeing is already settled as something we believe, because...we see according to what we believe. But if we take the time to 'go down to the potters house' (v2) we may just 'see' something different. The revelation is a change in perspective.

The first thing I see is that the jar was marred 'in his hands' (v4). It never left. It may not have been His will that it was marred, but through the disruption and the dis figuration, it never left the sovereignty of his hand.

The second thing I see is that not only was the jar marred, but as the first step toward restoration, it was crushed! 'But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.' (v4 NLT) . Interesting that if you think about the life of the Israelites in the OT, something was crushed consistently in order for the people to be restored in the eyes of God. But then Jesus came and 'was crushed for our iniquities...' (Isaiah 53:5). He was crushed on our behalf, so that in him, we might be perfectly re formed. The perspective changes from being crushed in failure to being crushed in the name or redemption.

The third thing I see is this; 'the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.' (v4) He shaped it 'as seemed best to him.' I don't see the clay attempting to re-shape itself!

And the fourth thing I see is that he used the same clay to form the new pot. He didn't throw out the marred and crushed clay to then reach for fresh unformed clay, but he crushed it and started over with the same piece. 'But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.' (v4)

So does God have a plan b? or just a reformed plan a that's restored to a greater place than it ever reached before?

I'll go with the latter!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Blessed pt. 2

A paraphrase on Matthew 5:4 'O the bliss of those whose hearts are broken for the world's suffering and for their own sin, for out of their sorrow they will find the joy of God.' (Barclay, p110, The new Daily Study bible, 2001)

Thursday, January 3, 2008


A paraphrase by William Barclay on Matthew 5:3 'O the bliss of those who have realized their own utter helplessness, and who have put their whole trust in God, for thus alone can they render God that perfect obedience which will make them citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven' (p107 the new daily study bible, 2001)