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.

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Just Dance

A while back, I had the opportunity to take some dance lessons. I loved it! I had danced through my youth, but had never done any partner dances, this was something completely new for me. I learned something about myself during those lessons, I was not a good follower. It took A LOT of effort on my part to silence my own mind and become aware enough of my partner to do what he was leading and not what I felt worked with music.

For me, my walk with the Lord has become a dance, remembering to take time to stop, settle my mind, and really LISTEN to what God is saying. I need Him minute by minute, I need to be aware of His presence. Not because I am anxious that I may do the wrong thing, but because I don’t want to miss anything that HE might want. This year, I have committed to reading the Bible through at least twice. One of the things that you can’t help but to notice is that you can’t predict the stories! Think about it, twice God tells the people of Israel to just move forward and the water will move. Jesus did too many miracles to count, I have no reason to believe that God who has been a personal and miraculous God since the days of creation would not be personal and miraculous with me.

Just as God once told Abraham, the Iraelites, Jonah, and so many others, he has told me where to go. Sounds easy right? When you get a command from God you follow it. Sometimes, the reality is that it is not easy. God will do His part, I believe this, but He is waiting for me to do mine and show that I will have faith in him no matter what. I don’t want to lose sight of Him and end up like Jonah and end up in the belly of a whale or more likely, like the Israelites stuck in the wilderness for forty years.

Thus, I lean in closer, focus all of faculties on Him and wait for the Spirit to move me. God does not need me to accomplish his plan, but by grace he chooses to use me. When I will put myself in His hands. What about you? Can He have this dance today?

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.’”

From the inside out

As we delve into the word of God, the holy spirit will change us. These changes will happen as God changes how we see the world. Often, our biggest changes can be felt within, long before they can be seen. We will begin to feel a paradigm shift internally, long before our actions fully follow with our new line of thinking. These changes our going to be the ones that are most authentic. As the word of God takes root everything about our worldview will change, these new principles will work their way out into practices. Anyone can decide to act different and condition themselves to do it, but over time they will revert to their previous self, because only change that begins on the inside is a real and substantial change that will stand the test of time.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The first step to real change is the renewing of our minds! Our outward actions must reflect our inner thoughts and attitudes or we are fake. Authenticity will go a long way. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and I am thankful to him that he is alive and relational and that he meets me where I am to make me like him. The path to change is always through Jesus, but we are all coming from different places, while our end point is the same (to be like Jesus) our beginning is not. Keep this in mind when you meet people. You don’t know what God is doing in the depth of their soul.

God is changing them the same way that He is changing you. One precept at a time. Some are just starting out, others are further along the road, and none of us will get there until we have gone home to be with Jesus in heaven. Lord, help me to see others as you do. Help me to love them as you do and to be more aware of the changes I need to make than the changes my fellow sojourners need to make. Change me, Lord as I dive deeper into your word!

Bringing Every Thought Captive

The first step to reflecting God in our lives, is to first reflect him in our thought life. As a man thinks, so is he…(PROVERBS 23:7) This is so true. I hear the lyrics of the song slow fade where Casting Crowns says that the distance from you mind to your hand is shorter than you thinking and I know that this is the truth. Where do we allow our thought life to go? We are commanded by God to bring our thoughts captive, to be holy and set apart as his people, and to honor him above all else. Resist the devil and he will flee from you, that first thought may enter your mind and you have not sinned, but when we dwell on it we sin. Jesus taught on the mount that if a man looks on a woman with lust in his heart he is guilty of adultery. If we would have God answer our prayers, we must first cleanse our lives and minds of the sin that put him on the cross in the first place. How many people ask God to help them, to bless them, but do not first change the way they think and act. God has promised us many things, but first we must honor him. When we seek first the kingdom of God, then he will add all these things to us.

There are many areas in scripture that teach this concept, but maybe the one that most drives home the that the battle is first in our minds is the one in 2 Corinthians 10 where Paul tells that though we must physically walk in the flesh the weapons of our warfare are not according to the flesh, it is a spiritual battle that begins in our minds. The evidence of this truth is that those are then next words that he speaks,

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

In Romans 12:12 that, the way to prevent ourselves from being conformed to this world is to renew our minds.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We may ask how this is done. It is in large part being conscious of what we are putting into our minds. When we fill our heads with movies, tv programs, and music of this world how can we expect anything different, but to think the way the world does. Probably the biggest part of this is as simple as getting into the word. Let the spirit of truth renew your mind as you fill it with the word.

As we are beginning the season of lent, approaching the celebration that Jesus not only gave his life for us, but that he rose again and lives today, should we not consider if our thought lives are worthy of this great gift?

Origin and purpose

All great philosophical questions of right and wrong must first begin with the ultimate question of origin and purpose. Using a pen as a paper weight may seem good, but it doesn’t fulfill the pens ultimate created purpose of communication. That is to say, we can not understand the purpose with out looking to the cause. Even in nature we see things have purpose, * to use an example, from Thomas Aquinas, poppy seeds always grow into poppies an acorns into oaks. Now nothing, Aquinas reasons, that lacks consciousness tends toward a goal unless it is under the direction of someone with consciousness and intelligence. An arrow can not hit a bulls-eye unless aimed by the archer. Therefor, everything must be directed toward its goal by someone with intelligence. we call that someone God. (* restated idea from “Reasonable Faith” by William Crane)

With people that purpose may be harder to define than that a poppy seed, as people have consciousness and intelligence ,our greatest purpose can only be truly defined by looking at origin. If our origin is an accident of nature, we have no purpose. If our origin is an intelligent God, he created us for a purpose. Our purpose collectively and individually can only be defined by our creator. He is the potter we are the clay. Our ultimate purpose is to share in the joy of the knowing and being known by our God. This truth is played out differently with each of us, as God has created us all to enjoy him and his creation differently with our own likes, dislikes, and talents. Let him reveal to you how he would have you share in his joy and be obedient and you will live a life abundant and fulfilled as promised in his word. He has a plan for each one of us, listen to the still soft voice of the Holy Spirit as he tells you where and when to go. As we do, we will reflect his light and joy in a dark and dying world.

YOLO or so they say

I know that there is more after this life, that we have great treasures stored up for us, but I believe that is not our only hope. We are promised in God’s word that we will have abundant life. I believe we are meant to have that life in the here and now. Soon I will be having major surgery. This has me thinking about a few things what is probably the most important would be the activities that make up my daily life. God wants more for his children than to mindlessly go through the motions. As Matthew West has sung, I don’t want to go one more day without His all consuming passion inside of me.

To some degree routine is important, but we can’t trudge through our week waiting for the weekend. In my experience, so much hope et built up for what the weekend will bring, that it is often anticlimactic. The reality can never meet our expectations. We don’t need to wait for the weekend!! Every moment of every day is a gift from our father. Time is an invaluable commodity, once it is gone we can never get it back.

Saint Irenaeus – “The glory of God is a human being fully alive; and to be alive consists in beholding God.”

All of that to say this, draw near to God with all you have. Our great father wants to take us on a great adventure. Now for some, this may indeed mean missions trips into the great unknown, but for most of us it means living out the daily tasks of our lives fully attuned to the Holy Spirit.

A while back I had the opportunity to take dance lessons with an amazing dancer. I had danced in the studio for years growing up, but this idea of having a partner, well that was another thing entirely. At first we, or should I say I, tripped a lot. My focus was too strongly on my own response to the music. It was not until I tuned in to my partner, felt the movement in his hand and waist- small movements to be honest, easily missed, that I began to hear the music through him that I was able to move with him. For me, this was a strong metaphor for our walk with the spirit, my focus must be on him so that I can be aware of His counsel and guidance. I need to see the world and “hear the music” through the Holy Spirit.

This is the adventure! This is where I will be open to opportunities to serve Him in my everyday life. We are called to be the body of Christ, but what is a body disconnected from the head, if not useless? God has called us to so much more than simply existing on this earth and the time to be fully alive is now.

The savior awaits, will you draw near to him and allow him to have this dance?