Archive for February, 2010

Good Measure

The Bible tells us that if we give, it will be given to us… good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over (Lk 6:38). So much that you won’t have room to receive it. That is exactly how I feel today. I feel like God just keeps pouring His blessing on me and there is so much it is running over everywhere. I know that God loves me but this sure makes me feel like His favorite child!

 Recently, I heard somebody say that they had an experience of such overflow that they told God “Lord- that’s more than I need”. God responded by saying “I know and there’s more where this came from”.

 God truly is extravagant, but not wasteful. God not only takes pleasure in supplying our needs, He also takes pleasure in giving us above and beyond. One reason is because we are His kids and as a Father, He likes to bless us. I also believe it is because through this amazing overflow we see just how good our God really is. He can move mountains. He can do above all that we could ever think or ask… that’s the key that we need to keep working on. Nothing is impossible with God. The only difficult reality is that He is limited by our low expectations.

 If we don’t think He can supply a pair of socks, we certainly can’t imagine that He can provide a new car.

 My wife just bought a new Minivan for an unreal (very low) amount of money… because she believed for it. We need to raise the level of our expectations so that we can let God demonstrate His wonder working power in our lives.

 Its the substance of our testimony that allows God’s goodness to be recognized in and through us. Others need to see how it works… good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Total Participation

Much of modern-day Christianity sees the “born-again” experience as all there is to salvation. Many Christians oppose the belief that there is a separate experience of “being filled” with the Holy Spirit, and they especially oppose the validity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today’s believers. That type of belief puts them in conflict with the book of Acts and the very teaching of Jesus.

 Those who experience the power of the Holy Spirit today are labeled as fanatics or heretics… so what does the Bible have to say? What did Jesus say about this?

 On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He made one of the most unique statements of His whole ministry. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (Jn 16:7). Jesus knew His disciples would be shocked by His statement, so He prefaced it with the words, “I tell you the truth”.

 As hard as it may be to understand, Jesus was telling them that the ministry of the Holy Spirit would be better than what they had available in His earthly ministry.

 We must be careful to take nothing away from the ministry of Jesus on the earth, because without it there could be no ministry of the Holy Spirit. The whole plan of God hinges on the redemptive work of Christ… the Cross and Resurrection. Yet Jesus makes it clear that it was to our advantage to have Him return to His Father and send the Holy Spirit to take His place.

 The greatest reason for this shift in focus was to emphasize the opportunity every believing person could enjoy as participants in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, rather than as powerless observers. Jesus makes the ministry available to all… salvation was for the “who-so-ever” and now the power to do what He was doing would also become accessible by faith. Just soak in these Scriptures (Acts 10:38) (Acts 1:8) (Jn 14:12-14).

 That’s right… you and I can do what He was doing by the Holy Spirit’s anointing upon us in power.

 God delights in touching others through us!

 There is no limit and no lid on what God can do through us who believe! What He is wanting in these days is a believing people to arise and allow the signs of His Kingdom to be evidenced in our lives (Mk 16:15-18).

Cross Bearing

I ran across this great little story the other day and felt my readers would like it… enjoy.

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5 and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson.
“If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

Being “Jesus” is not role playing… but cross bearing. In so many ways I see myself like Kevin in that I would like to be Jesus when it is of benefit to me, but call me to a sacrificial life and I’m looking for an exit strategy. Perhaps my heart needs a fresh perspective or a complete overhaul.

 I’m capable of great things when all eyes are on me. But when the opportunities seem less than glamorous… like touching the leper (Mt 8:1-4), eating with the tax collectors (Lk 5:29-32), rebuking a city for their lack of repentance (Mt 11:20-24) or praying all night in a garden while waiting for a betrayer’s kiss (Lk 22:47-48)… these are things that stretch my capacity to endure. They require me to experience discomfort.

 Being like Jesus is the goal of all truly sincere Christians, yet our often overlooked responsibility to count the cost has made our understanding of discipleship seem very weak. Jesus called every follower that would aim to come after Him or emulate Him, to a lifestyle of cross bearing (Mt 16:24). Its not optional or secondary to the real message of enjoying the goodness of God.

This lifestyle of self denial is the Goodness of God.

 So as I ponder my uncomfortable choices this morning between frosted flakes and granola… I will refuse to let my growling stomach get in the way of offering the milk to my daughter first. There now wasn’t that sacrificial… I’m in trouble aren’t I?

A Meek Spirit

I believe that many have mistakenly assumed that “meek” means “weak” and missed the true meaning of the word. Meekness is a quiet confidence and assurance in God’s Word. Being a meek person is like having a hidden strength… Jesus even told us in the Sermon on the Mount that we are blessed if we are meek, because we qualify to inherit the Earth (Mt 5:5).

When you have complete confidence that God will do what He said; then you don’t feel compelled to defend, protect or promote yourself. Our confidence in the authority of God’s Word enables us to walk in the knowledge of Heaven’s resources. Its the character of meekness that invites Heaven to touch Earth. There’s no need to get uptight or anxious because God’s ability and His goodness are trustworthy. We can feel like winners in spite of the outcome of those daily battles we all face. God’s got our back.

 You can simply rest in His promises.

 I believe the world has often seen Christians resting in God and mistaken it for weakness. This isn’t surprising though, because many have an inaccurate picture of Jesus’ character as well.

 Even though Jesus walked in peace and love; He wasn’t a push over or a wimp.

 I believe that Jesus demonstrated such a meek spirit that it made His confidence and authority seem breath-taking. He didn’t need to be anxious or fight unnecessary battles. People were drawn to Him, because of His impact. He was the revelation of authentic power and the best thing was that His character gave Him even more credibility. As the Great “I Am”; the Father’s will and purposes exuded from everything He did.

 People felt God’s love through Jesus’ meekness. His Presence held their attention and His Words challenged their affections. No matter what others said about Him, those who experienced Him were convinced.

Fellowship With God

Scripture clearly invites all people to have fellowship with God and no matter where we have come from, there are no limits to God’s loving embrace.

* The only criteria that must be met in order to establish access into fellowship is that we come to God through Jesus… His only begotten Son (Jn 3:16-17).

There is a wonderful Old Testament process laid out in the Bible called the tabernacle experience. The one who wanted to enjoy fellowship with God would enter into the Holy of Holies and would learn to live this tabernacle experience. It reflects our relational life with Jesus perfectly and is a journey into the heart of our Heavenly Father. Enjoy the imagery as I walk you through it now and allow the Holy Spirit to walk along as your Guide.

Our journey begins at the “gate of salvation”, whereby we enter with thanksgiving, clothing ourselves with a white garment,called the Robe of Righteousness (Ps. 100:4; Isa 61:10). Christ Jesus has provided this for all  who have placed their faith and trust in His atoning Blood from Calvary’s Cross. We then come immediately upon a brazen altar where atonement for sin was made by the offering of an unblemished Lamb. Here we offer our  own lives as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God (Rom. 12:1-2). We do this not only at the point of salvation, but also as a daily experience, as we awaken each morning.

Next, we come before the golden laver (a table with a basin of water), where we are washed with the washing of the water of the Word (Eph. 5:26). As we look intently upon the Word, we allow it to cleanse our lives, purifying our actions. Therefore, the pattern of regular Bible meditation becomes a part of our daily approach to God.

Then we enter the Holy Place, the realm of our souls, and God deals with our mind, will and emotions. First we go to the table of showbread, a place where the priests ate together around a table. This represents the fellowship we enjoy in the family of God as we partake together of God’s provision. As the grain is ground fine to make the bread, so our wills are ground fine as we fellowship with other believers. As we allow this process to happen, we are prepared to go even further into the depths of God’s heart.

Next, we stop at the golden lampstand, made of beaten gold which represents the crushing of our sinful desires, and lit by oil, representing the illumination of the Holy Spirit. As we examine the Word under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, we find revelation knowledge pouring into our souls, transforming our lives and taking us even deeper into the presence of God (2 Cor. 3:18).

We then move to the altar of incense, where we learn to offer continuous praise and worship unto the Most High God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. As a fragrant aroma ascended perpetually from this altar, so our praise and worship ascends perpetually before the nostrils of the Lord (Ps. 141:2). We have learned to be worshipers. Through revelation knowledge, we have seen that the Most High rules in the affairs of man, and we have learned to worship Him everywhere, in everything (Dan. 4:17). We have learned to worship in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:24).

I invite you to come daily to have fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus. God’s love has been revealed to us so that we might enjoy the abundance of His counsel and the goodness of His grace. He will listen if you will come.

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