To Dance with the Lord

All of life is a dance and my partner is Jesus. I must learn to be sensitive to His guidance, to be aware of His moving. If I remember during our time together each morning to lean in close, to inhale deeply the fragrance of His love and Mercy, then His fragrance will linger on me. It will refresh the souls of those around me as they catch the scent. Like a familiar cologne they may not fully recognize for what it is, it should be reminiscent of a home they have not yet known.

Through out the day my mind goes back to our moments shared in the morning and my heart is refreshed as I whisper to myself a reminder that he is closer than the air I breathe, that His throne room is in my heart. Like one of those automated air fresheners, he restores my soul again. Something that I often need, and often before i even realize I need it, as the cares of this world begin to over shadow my ability to see with His eyes and to recognize the opportunities to reach out and be water to the thirsty souls of another.

My dim human eyes often miss the hurting soul next to me, but my Saviour sees. He opens my eyes to all the opportunity to be His hands and feet. If I am not paying close attention throughout my day to my partner I may miss a step. I need Him every hour, no every minute… There are so many hurting hearts! I don’t want to miss even one chance to do His work, to love the lost.

Church, we need to wake up from our slumber!! Some of us are guilty of allowing our legalism, our religiosity, our rule following to blind us to the truth of the gospel. That we were all lost and blind and that is by the grace of God alone that we were saved and not the work of our own hands. We allow ourselves to become judgemental and press our rules onto others. No one is ever going to care about how much we know, until we are willing to show them how much we care first. Bringing them into accordance with God’s will is NOT our job. Our job is to pray for them, love them, and when God leads teach them the Word of God.

Others are so caught up in their own relationship with God, with their own reading and studying that they are no real earthly good the to world around them. We must remove our stained glass eyewear and see the hurting the world around us. Leave our comfort zone and go to the people who are hurting. We are blessed, so that we can be a blessing!

This thanksgiving season, let us reach out to those who are in need and just love on them.

Government Shut down

First and foremost, I feel the need to state the obvious. No matter who is in charge of our government, or what they do, Jesus is king. That being said, did you know that our government follows a distinct pattern that was standout in the midst of monarchys. The predominate style of government was a monarchy, but the Jews only king was God and then Moses had a system of judges who incrementally oversaw increasingly large numbers. These judges according to Exodus 18, were to men that were seen as wise and Godly men, they were not only responsible for upholding the law, but they were held to a higher and stricter standard. Rightly so, those who are to make and enforce the laws must also be subject to them. If they are not, they are setting up a ruling class of people who are above the law. God viewed His people as created equals with Him as their ruler. We are a Republic with Democratic tendencies, because all men are created equal.

More and more this seems to be what is going on in this country, that we are two classes. A ruling class of wealthy men who have their own agendas. Agendas that likely have nothing to do with what is best for our nation. Now, I am sure that it will not take much guessing for any of you to figure out where I stand on Affordable Healthcare Act, but that said if it is going to be the law, it needs to apply accross the board to everyone.

The problems that this nation is facing are so much bigger than just this act. We seem to have almost forgotten about the need to raise our debt ceiling again. This is also a huge problem. We have failed to cut costs and if we continue to fund, um everything, we will default. Funding Obamacare is just the tip of the iceburg. We need a huge scale back of our government. We are headed for disaster and I just don’t see how we get back.

Last year, when I got sick I was unable to work. I had to incur debt to pay for healthcare and related things. Shortly after, I was forced out of my full time job. During the last few months, I have had to cut my spending. Getting rid of things that were good and beneficial. What I need now is to increase my income. I could for a breif period of time use more debt to get through this, but that can’t continue. I can already feel the weight of lower income and higher debt. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if this pattern of borrowing to pay debt had been going on for years! Yet, that is how our government operates. It’s scary.

Now, I am not sure if shutting down the government is the best way to address these issues. I think that even the powers that be have forgotten what the fight is about, they just want to win. Meanwhile, the people suffer while the ruling class fight like petulant children.

We need to be on our knees praying for our leadership, clearly, they are in need of wisdom. Imagine if every Christian got on their knees and prayed for wisdom for our leaders. What if each one of us prayed for the revival of this land and begged God to forgive our national iniquities? Before we can have national holiness, we must first have personal holiness. We must work on having our own lives in accordance with God’s will and pray for personal revival and then let that fire spread through out our home towns, permeate our nation, so that we can have corporate holiness that the world will see, that will be so compelling that they can’t help, but to be part of it.

Providence

The story of Moses is such an incredible picture of God’s providence. In the days of Israel (Jacob), God revealed that His people would be oppressed for 400 years, and that after that they would be led to the promised land. There was never a time that God did not know what was happening in the lives of His people. When Moses says to God, “who am I that I should tell Pharaoh to let the people go? I am not a good speaker” God responds that Aaron his brother is on his way to meet him. This made me ask why. Why is Aaron on his way? There is no mention that they were close during the forty years that Moses had been hiding in Midian. I have to come to the conclusion that God knew what the argument of Moses would be and that he had already placed it in the heart of Aaron to go to his brother. Countless times, the word says, and God hardened Pharoahs heart. As the story progresses and the plagues are getting worse, the first one that will really bring harm come first with a warning. “at this time tomorrow” (exodus 9:13 – 26) – those who would were given the opportunity to heed that warning and take cover from the hail. We are also told countless times that “the heavens declare the glory of God (psalm 19:1) and that nature itself has made God known to us, if we will listen with our heart (Romans 1). God is an all knowing God. He has a plan and He knows exactly what it will take to make it happen. Surrender to His plan. He will make us more like Him, He will shine through us. Only when there is tribulation can we persevere. Have hope! Our promised land awaits.

Christian Politics

There are few topics that stir hot emotions like the topic of politics. This is probably why it is a topic where we need to find our common ground and be sure that our conversations are respectful, the world is watching. As Christians, I think that many of us agree on the basic ideas, where we differ is in how to accomplish our goals.

For example, all of us would agree that Christ would want us to do our part to make sure that the poor, the fatherless, the widowed etc. do not go with out a roof and food. Where some of us part ways is how this gets accomplished. I am personally of the opinion that charity is not the place of our government. There should be fewer government programs and more private ones. Many of the ones the currently exist are run by religious organizations, but I do not in any way think that charity should be limited to religion.

Here is my reasoning for this line of thinking – the government needs to have funds to handle the things that the government is specifically supposed to be in charge of. Things like roads, military, police, and education. These should be the primary focus of government. right now, so much money is being spent on public welfare that the primary concerns of government are being neglected.

The second reason for this line of thinking is that if we become overly indebted to our government for our basic necessities how will we dissent we our government is too big? We will become a society afraid to bite the hand that feeds. Look around, this is happening. There is no free lunch. Everything has it’s price and the price is too high, because the price will be our freedom.

Third, as Christians we know that we are blessed by God for our generosity. Is it possible that individuals miss out on the blessing of God because we are allowing the government to do our job? I do believe that God blesses our generosity and that we can be generous even out of a little, but if the average citizen kept more of their income they would be better able to be charitable, I think they would be too.

The problem is that while I believe that we were a nation that was founded on Christian principles, we are not a Christian nation. We are democratic-republic. This means that all of the people have a say, Christians and atheists alike ( and all the others too) have the right to equal protection under the law. Charity shouldn’t be legislated, but morality can’t be either. I can’t say enough that we can not hold people who do not claim to be Christians to our standard. This is where the issues can be easy convoluted. Biblical standards are true. They are correct. I believe this with every fiber of my being, but I also believe in the right to believe as you choose.

Not all truth claims are created equally, but this does not mean that people don’t have the right to believe false truth claims.There are many who feel that we need to legislate morality. This includes laws like DOMA, as one example, I understand where that line of thinking is coming from, because I agree that the disintegration of the American family has a lot to do with the collapse of our culture. It is our job as Christians to be the light and the salt. It is our job to pray for those around us, to pray for our government – at every level, and to pray for our pastors, leaders, and churches. It is our job to make a difference within our circle of influence. True change, lasting change, only comes from within. We can’t legislate that. We can pray for it.

Train them up

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

One of the greatest blessings that we can have is the gift of children. When it comes to the idea of reflecting Him, one of the greatest ways we can do that is to leave a legacy of believing children. With great privilege comes great responsibility. This phrase, first voiced by Voltaire has a lot of truth to it. Each of my children is an amazing gift from God, but each of them also needs to be raised up in the ways of the Lord. This is something I must take active participation in, the television and society around us is certainly not going to do it.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

While I do believe that this verse refers to teaching our children about the Lord their God, I think that it also means that God has given them gifts and it is my job to help them discover those gifts and use them to glorify the Lord. Doing this means knowing your children, being available to them, and often it means prayerful anguish. We must pray for wisdom and guidance from God, because while we are raising them, He is raising us.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We are all called to teach our children to love the Lord with all our hearts, to make his word part of our everyday lives. Simply having them at church on Sunday isn’t enough. If you haven’t been doing this that is ok, we can’t change the past, but every minute offers us the opportunity to start over. We can ask forgiveness for our failures and begin to do as the Lord commanded. We are all fallible people who make mistakes, sometimes, mistakes that are huge. It is so wonderful to know that we are not just fallen, but also redeemed and although, in some cases we may have made a mess, God says he can take it and redeem it.

If you are not a parent, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a part of shaping the next generation. There are so many hurting children in this world, I would bet that you know one right within your circle of influence. Reflect His light with every opportunity and most of all pray. Pray for our children, they face so many hardships, pray the children in your extended family, pray for the children in your church.

And it was Good

Key word here would be was. At the time that God created everything, He declared that it was good. Webster’s dictionary has several definitions of the word good, but I like the one that says conforming to a standard. God’s standard is clearly set forth through out the Bible as being Holy, set apart, perfect. We all know that the world is a fallen place. That each one of us is a sinner by nature and by choice. God is a holy and perfect God, but He is also a God of mercy. Adam and Eve enjoyed an amazing opportunity to commune with the Lord. After the fall, this was no longer an option.

During the old testament times the average person was not allowed into the Holy area of the temple, nor were they allowed to eat holy food of priests, or even to touch certain implements. The sacrifices that were made to God were enough to keep the wrath of God at bay, this is such a beautiful foreshadow of the restoration that we can now know. These offerings were offered by those who has sinned unknowingly. This is a clear statement that having good intentions is insufficient, that being sinful did not require willfully disobeying God. Simply put, we are sinners by nature and just trying to be good is not enough.

Under the new covenant, because Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice we have become the temple of God.
He can make our hearts good, if he will let Him. He can give us the mind of God, but we must first be willing to lay down our lives and be sanctified. We must be holy as he holy. There certain things the as Christians we simply ought not be doing.

1 Corinthians 2:14-17 14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

As I again read through the old testament one thing is increasingly clear – God does not play games with individuals and nations who know what is right and rebel against Him. God is in control of everything and he has destroyed nations whose hearts were against him. Reading the scripture below, the question of whether or not America has reached this point? The Attitudes of America toward God is very disheartening. We were once a nation of people who put our trust in Him and we have become a nation where His name can barely be mentioned. WE must pray. Pray for our leaders. Pray for our people. Pray for our churches. Then we must serve, each person that calls themselves a child of God needs to commit to living fully for Him. As Israel wandered away and returned begging forgiveness we can as well. We have by spiritual adoption become the descendants of Abraham.

Leviticus 1824-30 24 ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its [a]punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. 26 But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you 27 (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); 28 so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. 29 For whoever does any of these abominations, [b]those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the Lord your God.’”

Taught of Him

In the wake of countless disasters, the most recent of course in Oklahoma, I can’t help but to wonder how many of those people suffered ultimate disaster without ever having heard the gospel of Christ. Christianity has universality, by this I mean that those who will believe without regard to who they are, there is no one the wrong age, gender, ethnicity and so on. The people that God will call come from all areas of the world, they speak all languages, and they are of all ages. The people called by God come from all backgrounds, they have committed all manner of sins. There is no sin too great to prevent you from coming to God. He will clean you up and change you no matter what. The price of being able to be called sons of God was the life of Jesus, a cost far too high for the finite minds of imperfect people to decide that a person will not respond to the gospel of Jesus. We should be following the great commission and telling every man, women, and child about the grace that can be found in Jesus. That though we were once blind, we can see, that all can be forgiven and we can know God personally. In our sin we can’t, but in HIS grace we can.

John 3:15 – 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

Our part is to share the gospel. God’s part is to awaken the souls of dead men and to teach them the real meaning and purpose of life.

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself

John 6:44-47 “No one can come to Me unless * the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day” It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.

In both of these instances, the word draw is original Greek word meaning to drag. This is not an act that the individual has any real part in. The are dragged to God, by God. It is His spirit that teaches us, not ours that learns. This is the case so that no man can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

This point of view of course always begs the question, Why would God choose one man over another man, (or women, or child). To that, I have no answer. I just know that my redeemer lives. I am humbled that he has chosen me and pray for those who do not know him yet. God is God, in His infinite wisdom he is far more qualified than I to make these decisions. If God could be fully understood in my finite mind, would he be God?

This is why, I will draw near to Him and share the gospel to a world that is lost and dying. I will remember that Hell is also universal, we all deserve it and many will find this their home after they pass on from this life. I will be His light to all who will be around me and trust that God will do the rest.