Archive for March, 2012

Incredible Love

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called Children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 Jn 3:1)

The Apostle Paul tells us that while other things pass away - love lasts, it never fails (1 Cor 13:8). It is powerful and fierce, precious and tender, yet it only has one source… God! All that it requires is that we behold it, receive it and give it away… but it will change you in the process. It is able to be released upon the worthy and unworthy alike. And all the world is longing to experience its reality… through us.

“And now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these [is] love.” (1 Cor 13:13)

Were you to accept the challenge to truly love others the way that God, in Christ has loved you, well, you might find yourself frustrated and exhausted. The key is being emersed in the Father’s love. Letting yourself be loved by God and allow that flow of life to advance through you to others… its Christ in you, the hope of Glory (Col 1:27).

CHRIST IN YOU… SUFFERS LONG - This is a patience not merely with circumstances, but with people. When you have the power to hold unforgiveness against another person and don’t do it. Literally, you are showing long-suffering. The ability to be wronged over and over again, is a love that equips us to see beyond the present.

CHRIST IN YOU… WILL BE KIND – The other side of patience is taking grief in stride, without resentment. Offering kind words and giving anything to be helpful and useful. Kindness is a balm for healing wounds.

CHRIST IN YOU… DOES NOT ENVY - Never jealous. The root word here is “to boil or seethe”. This is not merely to want what others have; it’s the compelling feelings of not wanting others to have what I can’t have.

CHRIST IN YOU… WILL NOT PARADE ITSELF - Is not boastful or full of itself. The root word… “windbag”. I’ve said enough.

CHRIST IN YOU… IS NOT PUFFED UP -  Not conceited. The attitude of pride. Believing, “we are better than others.” It is when one becomes inflated with their own importance.

CHRIST IN YOU… WILL NOT BEHAVE RUDELY- Being rude is seen as living with a lack of grace. The Greek word for grace and charm are the same. In Christ we become honorable people.

CHRIST IN YOU… WILL NOT SEEK IT’S OWN – Or isn’t insistent upon its rights. The idea that it must be “my way” sounds good in a song, but is not a Biblical ethic. Jesus took upon Himself the form of a servant (Phil 2:5-8).

CHRIST IN YOU… IS NOT PROVOKED – Never flies into a rage. This speaks to the idea of becoming exasperated. Solomon said, “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” (Pr 25:28)Our mindset must be selfless.

CHRIST IN YOU… THINKS NO EVIL -  It refuses to store up the memory of any wrong received. What a liberating truth to grasp. Be like an accountant and clear the ledger. God does not hold our sins against us and we must choose to release others (Rom 4:8).

CHRIST IN YOU… DOES NOT REJOICE IN INIQUITY – Love takes no pleasure in evil reports (Rom 1:32). The meaning of iniquity is sin against God. Love never rejoices in sin.

CHRIST IN YOU… WILL REJOICE IN THE TRUTH – In harmony with the truth and partaking of a fellowship that is based upon a love of the truth. Love celebrates when truth is revealed in the life of others.

CHRIST IN YOU… BEARS ALL THINGS – Literally to cover on all sides, to cover in silence. Love will warn, exhort, rebuke and discipline; but also cover that sin, not exposing it to create shame.

CHRIST IN YOU… WILL BELIEVE ALL THINGS -  Not suspicious, but trusting God’s plan. Love believes the best about others. Love is able to see weakness, but throws a “mantle of honor” over it and then believes the best.

CHRIST IN YOU… HOPES ALL THINGS – Even in the midst of repeated disappointments there is a constant assurance that God has a future and is working all things for His own glory.

CHRIST IN YOU… ENDURES ALL THINGS -  Bearing everything with triumphant endurance. The Greek term translated “endure” is a military term which has to do with being positioned in the middle of a violent battle.  The emphasis is not on handling little, minor annoyances. It refers to love that stands wounded and bleeding against incredible opposition and still loves.

Love never fails. Love never, even remotely falls short, because it is a resource from God. God is love and therefore, love has no end. Love cannot be conquered, because God cannot be conquered. Love is indestructible and incredible. Should we not… behold it, treasure it and live in it?

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us… that we should be (discover ourselves in being) called the Children of God.”

The Substance

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).

Village Church in the Myango District

Village Church in the Myango District

Faith is “The Substance”:

Its the assurance or confident belief in who or what we place our hope. Faith comes before we possess the reality. Once we receive what we hope for, we no longer hope for it. We just begin to live from a different perspective, from the substance of a new revelation. Faith is the evidence of things not yet seen, but within reach. The amazing thing about faith is that it is the spiritual substance of our walk with God that enables flesh and blood to pull upon invisible things that are waiting to become physical and actual.

The Promise Connection:

The Apostle Peter said it like this, ”through believing and trusting in God’s exceedingly great and precious promises, we become partakers of the divine nature…” (2 Pet 1:2-4). God’s power has given us access to everything we need pertaining to life and godliness and when we come into the knowledge of His will for us, we can pull it into our world through faith.

Faith like Jesus:

Jesus came to the earth as God in the flesh (Jn 1:1-3) and He was completely reliant on His Father through faith. Jesus said: “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me” (Jn 5:30). This is rich with meaning for us, because it sets a model for our relational access to the Father. Jesus was humble before God and looked to God in trust… and for faith. Jesus did not seek His own will, but the will of His Father.

Slow to Believe:

Jesus appeared to ten of His disciples after His resurrection and His disciples were slow to believe that Jesus had risen from the grave (Lk 24:36-43). Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (Lk 24:38). Becoming slow to believe is the evidence of a troubled heart where doubts are beginning to arise. The seeds of doubt are like weeds in the soil of the heart; they must be removed or they will crowd out faith.

A Limited Mindset – “Seeing”:

Later Jesus appeared again to His disciples and this time Thomas was among them. Thomas earlier had said: “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Be a Believing… Believer!

Jesus said to Thomas: “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. “Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (Jn 20:24-29)

Blessed… Empowered:

Faith and believing, even when we cannot see the evidence… is the posture that moves the Father’s heart. Don’t sit back and wait any longer with needs that have not been met. Run to the Father and awaken your heart to the Promises of God’s Word. There is substance in the heavenly realm waiting for our faith to get activated. When you believe in the Promises of God… you become empowered to live in the substance of those Promises. 

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet 2:21).

The Path for New Things

It takes a wilderness to expose the path for new things.

This journey has been an interesting process. With each step, each new thing exposed a path… an invitation to what God was about to do. It has required some faith, but it has also required some knowledge of why paths are so important. They offer the heart an amazing place to experience God’s Glory.

Step by Step:

It was about a year ago that Ron made his first trip to Kenya and then 4 months later his second trip. The journey began with a season in the wilderness followed by prayer and fasting. It was not until our hearts were fully engaged that supernatural breakthrough and provision began to come from God. Each step has revealed God’s heart and our spiritual awakening.

A Significant Path:

We have an amazing place in the woods behind our house where the deer have made a path. A couple years ago during a time of prayer and fasting I began to walk this path and it has become a significant place of spiritual reflection for us. Soon after our discovery, Ron began walking this path daily in preparation for each trip to Africa. We have improved its character by mowing it occasionally and running the weed eater over the rough parts, but its value is revealed only when we use it. The more we walk… the more sensitive our hearts become.

Isaiah speaks of the path that John the Baptist would prepare for Jesus…

Behold the voice of one crying in the wilderness:   Prepare the way of the Lord;  make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill brought low, the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough smooth.  The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. (Isa 40:3-5)

Do you hear the process of preparing a path for Jesus to be revealed? He came to earth as the full revelation of the Glory of God! This same process still occurs today when there is a new thing being prepared for God’s people. Mountains and hills need to be brought low, the valleys lifted up, the crooked places made straight and the rough smooth. There are some journeys that God seems to be preparing just for us, while other journeys we are the preparers of the path. Notice that the preparation process is always for the “Glory of the Lord” to be revealed.

The Training Manual for the Schools

Knowledge is Key: (Hab 2:14)

Scripture tells us that in the latter days a knowledge of the Glory of God will increase. We feel this stirring in our hearts as Ron begins to open Apostolic Training Centers across the nations. As knowledge of God’s Glory increases, so also will a hunger for that Glory increase. The manual for the Training Centers has exposed a wonderful path for our whole family. Ron had written it several years ago as a teaching guide for discipleship and as he began to evaluate resources for training the Ugandan leaders, he kept coming back to it. With some minor re-writing he had the manual ready to be copied three weeks before leaving. We checked several different places and purchased our own binding machine. So, it became a family path, prepared just for us. One child typing, another colating, and another binding, until we had all 100 copies ready to go 2 days before Ron got on the plane. As Ron stepped onto the plane I couldn’t help but believe we were part of something bigger than the manuals… we were preparing a path for the revealing of God’s Glory. 

With each New Thing, God will expose a path. He may use you for what He is about to do… revealing the Glory of God!

Pass the Blessing On

Last week the Glory of God became evident once again at meetings in Uganda.  Ron was sharing with a crowd, his personal testimony of how God had healed his orphan heart.  As he was finishing up the message he heard the Holy Spirit tell him to finish the message and then sit down.

During many sessions the ministry time around the altar would last for an hour or more, but there was a distinct difference in what God was wanting to do on this day.  So, Ron finished the message and then closed.  As soon as he closed, his interpreter Pastor Fred, began where Ron left off.  Pastor Fred began to call the people forward to experience the fierce love of Daddy God. It was a powerful time! The people were experiencing the love of the Father in a whole new way and Pastor Fred was pouring out heaven’s resources as a man carrying a pitcher of living water. The ministry time went on for a couple hours and then ended of course with an explosion of praise and dancing.

This really is how the Kingdom works.  Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and being aware of when you are to lead, and when you are to pass it on.

I have a dear friend and when we pray in a group together and she is finished, she will say, “and I pass the prayer along”.  I’ve also been in groups where we would hold hands in prayer and when you were finished praying you would give the hand of the person next to you a light squeeze to let them know that they could continue where you had stopped.

Pass It On

Jesus was such a great example of this….he laid his hands on the disciples and sent them off in groups of 2. “ When they returned they joyfully reported that even the demons obeyed us when  we used Your name” (Lk 10:17). Jesus was all about passing the blessing on!  He desired to impart the Kingdom and expand it anyway He could.

Pastor Jimmy:

Ron has also been able to set up the Apostolic Training Centers in this way. Even though Pastor Francis Wanyama is the host for Ron’s trip in Uganda, Ron has been able to connect with Pastor Jimmy Wandera.  Pastor Jimmy has been teaching at a Bible School near Busia, Uganda for about 12 years.  He has spent most of the last 2 weeks driving to wherever Ron was speaking and gleaning what he could.  During that time Pastor Jimmy shared with Ron that the Training Centers were something that he had dreamed of seeing and being a part of for the past 12 years.  He will be a key leader for the Training Centers in Uganda.  

As we pass the blessing on to others and allow them to partner with their Daddy God it opens so many more doors than if we try to do everything ourselves. That’s the other cool thing… 

 Sometimes when you pass the blessing on you are helping someone else fulfill their dream.

Do You See What I See?

I love that Christmas Carol, but after events this week that question has a lot more meaning than just checking out the stars.  I think God is often asking us that question, “Do you see what I see”?

As Christians there is such a difficulty of seeing clearly.  Our focus is fogged with what is around us daily, our past experiences and hurts, as well as faulty belief systems that we’ve bought in to. As God is opening the doors in Uganda and showering favor on what He is asking us to do, we have to see like He does.  We have to shed the lenses that would keep us from believing that He is good.  That sounds so easy to say, but do we really believe that? That in all circumstances that come against us, that He is good.  When we’re in the midst of desert situations, He is good, when healing doesn’t look like what we thought it should, He is good.

Please let me speak

Open My Eyes that I may SEE!

Ron was sharing with me the exciting things happening this week in the new Training Center and I’m pulling out one story to share with you.  As Ron would teach each day he would ask different Pastors to volunteer to read different scriptures.  The first day this Lady stood up and raised her hand to read.  As she began to read Ron noticed her stumbling several times over words, so he ran over to her and took his reading glasses off his head and put them on her. Immediately she could read well.  Each day of the Training this would occur.  She loved to read. The last day of the Training she came up to Ron and thanked him profusely for all of the teaching he had shared, and the manual she had been given.  Just as she was about to leave Ron asked her to stop and told her she was forgetting something.  He took off his reading glasses and handed them to her. She fell to the ground weeping.  So thankful for someone who would feed her such good Heavenly morsels of teaching, but also care for her physical sight.

This past week at the Training Center in Uganda there has been a doctor attending the meetings with Ron and Pastor Jimmy (The leader for the Training Center).  He had been given a box full of glasses and began asking Pastors if they had trouble seeing.  He laid the box in front of them and they began to find the pair of glasses that would help them see.  Ron shared that 80 or more of the 150 Pastors attending needed the glasses.

“You parents–if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?   Matthew 7:9-11 (NLT) 

How much more does our Heavenly Father love us and desire for us to see clearly.  He knows just what it would take to remove the blinders, all you have to do is ask.

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