Posts Tagged ‘hunger and thirst’

Into Faith

When we struggle with doubts, we as Christians should crave Scripture as God’s stabilizing force in life. We establish our faith in Christ when we develop a real hunger and thirst for the Words of God and they begin to bubble up within our minds to refute doubt.

At Jesus’ temptation experience He made the most clear identification of a truly sincere follower of God when He said,

“man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4).

All too often when we try to tackle our doubts, we want something tangible that we can see and taste or something emotional that we can feel. We would rather have Jesus just put His arm around us and tell us how everything will be all right. That might make us feel better, but I’m under the opinion that Satan loves that routine, because it makes us trust more in our “feelings” than in God.

Some things are not right and we must avoid deception that causes us to sow to the flesh and reap a harvest of corruption (Gal 6:7-9). Our spiritual discernment grows when we realize that being equipped to overcome doubt isn’t just about feeling better; it’s about getting back “into faith”!

Remember that Christian faith or the “God kind” of faith, only comes from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).

There are at least two times recorded in the Bible when Jesus marveled at real faith. Once He marveled at a woman’s faith to receive healing for her issue of blood (Mk 5:34). In this story we notice that she took the initiative, because she heard about Him. She was coming to Jesus with an expectation of His authority being more powerful than her sickness. That was what she heard inside of her heart and mind that registered as a hope or expectation. She had endured 12 years of doctor visits which left her poor and in worse shape and she was not going to let this opportunity pass her by. She touches His garment “in faith” and is made well at that very moment, because she pulled upon His authority by believing rather than listening to doubts, fears, reasoning or feelings. Hope had put her into faith… it was Jesus Himself who acknowledged that her faith had made her well.

In another story Jesus marveled at a Gentile soldier’s great faith. A faith that Jesus called “great” because the centurion said,

“…speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority” (Matt. 8:8-9).

The centurion had a faith that was in Jesus’ Word alone. Because he understood “authority” (the power to enforce a word or command)- he understood faith (those actions that follow trust). It was expectation and his ability to recognize authority that gave him great faith. He didn’t need to have Jesus come to his house and wave His hand over the sick servant… he was not looking for drama or some big intellectual explanation. He was only after the results, because of a concern for his servant. If Jesus would just give him a word… it was all he needed.

Recognizing this authority places us into faith, because it engages our hope in God’s good will, purpose and plan for our lives. God’s Word is powerful and effective to crush doubt and move our hearts into faith (Heb 4:12).

Seeing Harvest

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”  (Mt 5:6)

Some things are only discovered by the truly desperate. Those who hunger and thirst, who display their need and recognize there is just no substitute for a right relationship with God… those are the people that find God’s fullness. They become satisfied spiritually; in the inner parts of their being, because God responds to their seeking heart.

Seeing vulnerability:

Coming from a perspective that sees vulnerability as a Kingdom value; I have found the experience of getting to know my friends from Central and East Africa, a pure delight. One reason is, that they never seem to hide their hunger for relationship. They desire to be fathered and love to feel the encouragement of somebody they believe will release blessing over them.

There are so many tribes across East Africa and so much diversity, yet the hunger and thirst of this region compels me to draw closer to its culture, its people and its heartbeat. I enjoy the opportunity to look into their eyes.  They seem to want what I have to sow into their hearts. They want to feel the nurturing Presence of God, transforming their lives into fruitful harvest fields.

Jesus said, “…lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (Jn 4:35)

Seeing harvest is more about the way the field draws our attention than our great farming skill. Did you catch what Jesus said, “…they are white already to harvest.” When a field is white and ready to harvest, it is so incredibly attractive to God. Jesus tells us to lift up our eyes and see what God sees and to see how God sees. We are supposed to feel God’s invitation to partner in the harvest. It is part of the DNA of Kingdom People, who share the same heartbeat of the Father.

Seeing what He sees:

From day one, this has been an easy task for me. Having an orphan beginning helps me relate to one of their greatest struggles. They are today feeling the overwhelming burden of a culture that has been touched deeply by HIV Aids. Orphans are part of the landscape.

Pastors have made several comments about the need for me to visit his orphan care facilities and his ministry in the slums. These are leaders who have been listening to the cry of the hungry and thirsty people around them. It is my joy to partner with them to share some of their burden for a short time.

Thank You, Father – I wouldn’t want to have missed this sight.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27)

The Journey Continues with Praise!!

   Like most events in Africa thing don’t always work out according to our schedule.   Due to a few vehicle issues, the crew left Eldoret, Kenya rather late, so when they arrived in Webuye at 8 p.m., Kenya time,  Ron recommended they stop overnight and leave at a good time the next morning. 

   After a good night sleep the crew began the trek across the rest of Kenya into Uganda.  Upon arriving in Uganda there was quite a bit of paperwork to enter the country.  So, after filling out the proper forms for a new visa, getting the correct paperwork on their vehicle, they were finally entering Uganda.

   There were still a few hours before arriving at their destination, so Ron asked if they would just sing and worship.  Rose would begin the singing with all of the Kenyan Pastors joining in, some Swahili, some English, but all beautiful. 

 The songs of Praise and Worship would weave in and out of one another with harmonies blending and becoming One voice of Praise.

Pastor Wanyama's church meets under a tree, a real "Open Heaven"

The crew entered Pastor Francis Wanyama’s place of worship.  A field!  Pastor Francis had found a tarp for the floor, and a canvas-awning as a covering and the Pastor/Leader conference in Uganda Began!!  

    The conference began a little late, but that gave all of the Pastor/Leader and others a chance to show up, and show up they did.  There was an estimated 160-200 Pastors, and 150-200 people joining them.  The message on the Glory devoured by all who attended.

A Deep Hunger begins the process of being Filled

   The second session Ron began to share how to be healed of an orphan heart .  As Ron spoke of our Heavenly Father’s love and how that love heals an orphan heart.   People began to weep throughout the crowd.  Ron gave an altar call for those who needed healing of an orphan heart and the entire crowd ran forward.  Ron laid hands on each of them and prayed for over 2 1/2 hours.  The last hour a storm blew in.  There were strong winds, hail, lightning, and rain.  The rain began to pour and blow in around the canvas rooftop covering to the point that all were soaked, but no one was leaving.  No one wanted to leave before God was finished. 

 There were people on their knees on the rain soaked tarp praying and weeping. 

  Their hunger for a touch from God was a real thing.  So real they were willing to kneel in the rain, so real they were willing to have lightning strike near them, and hail fall around them. 

 So real they were not willing to leave until the very deep places in their heart were filled.

 I shared this with a friend who began to weep and say, “we are so fat!”

  God I want to be that hungry for You!

Blessed (empowered to prosper) are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, THEY SHALL BE FILLED!”

Snares and Traps

Do we want to be free?

God holds the power to set us free

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Mt 5:6)

A snare or trap was set for me the other day and I fell in, because the bait was something I was surprised to find strangely appealing. The bait was pride that was cloaked in an opportunity to judge others simply because I did not approve of their behavior.

It happened just the other day when a driver passed our minivan in a “no passing” zone. I thought, “Hey buddy I don’t mind you endangering your life, but don’t pull my family into your foolish behavior.” I noticed that as he flew by, he gestured with his hand out the window as if I had done something wrong.  As much as I tried, I could not shake the experience from my memory. It felt like I had a smoldering fire inside that made me watch this car the rest of our trip into town… it provoked me. Well, into town we went, but at the first stop light there we were side by side, both of the vehicles waiting for the light to turn green. You could cut the tension with a knife. Fortunately he turned left across traffic into McDonalds and I journeyed on to my destination without any further problems on the road.

Yet the irritation inside remained.

 It sat just below the surface and festered like it was alive… I couldn’t seem to let it go. I put on my Christian face and walked into the fellowship with a smile and a sweet little “how do ye do”. My guess is that nobody noticed; ’cause like most of us, offences are something we ignore and assume they will simmer away into nothing more than a distraction in the routine of life.

Yet with God, nothing is routine!

As our gathering concluded, we jumped into the minivan and started toward home. Little did I know that the spiritual lesson of the night was about to reach a lot deeper. We had gotten no more than three miles from town when once again someone passes us in a “no passing” zone. Now I am back in amazement, looking at the car in front of me, saying… “what kind of crazies drive these roads?”.

That’s when I heard the voice of God say, “Snares and traps are only effective when they are baited with the stuff you have an appetite for.” I immediately realized that I was caught; snared by anger and trapped, because of a pattern of wasted opportunities. God was saying, “I am showing you this, for it to end tonight.”

 I had become used to living as the victim of circumstances. In allowing myself to become lazy in my thoughts, I had formed an appetite that was reactionary, natural and fleshly. What God was impressing upon me was that He wanted me to be spiritually minded and supernatural, drawing upon heavenly resources. Rather than settling for the fat little baby food of “just gimme what makes me happy”, God wanted me to become proactive in my thoughts and stronger in the inner man (2 Cor 10:3-6)(Eph 3:16).

God wants us to become spiritual people.  

  The Holy Spirit was quick to remind me that Jesus said to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven (Mt 5:44-45). The Holy Spirit wanted me to allow His power to work in and through me so that I could respond to circumstances without a loss of peace, joy or love.

 By allowing resentment and anger to rule me, I was deceived into thinking that the fruit of a selfish lifestyle would not effect me.

 Well, it was effecting me and it effects us all when we are ruled by our selfish desires, rather than being ruled by Christ. This was the night when snares and traps began to lose their entisement… the night when I began to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

His Manifest Presence

One of the most valuable Truths of the Christian Faith is that God dwells in the believer. The indwelling Presence of God is given to all who believe. Just listen and embrace the power of these words…

 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  (1 Cor 3:16).

 

 He dwells in the believer and makes Himself known to the believer for relationship and transformation. This indwelling of His Spirit, is the key to our salvation, restoration and victory in Christ. Its the Manifest Presence of God that releases all of His goodness into our life.

 It may seem like a contradiction to hunger and thirst for something that is already all around us and dwells within us.

 Yet when we talk about seeking and experiencing the Presence of God, we are really talking about abiding in Him. Our delight is to be able to perceive His Presence and become conscious of Him. When we seek for God with all of our heart, we are increasing our awareness of His Presence.

 The Apostle Paul writes about this in detail; telling us that as we search out the deeper things of God, they get revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Things that have been freely given to us by God can and should be discovered, fully understood and walked in… by us. The only way to do this is through the intimacy developed in the Holy Spirit, who is the Manifestation of the Presence of God (1 Cor 2:10-12). Much like Jesus was the manifestation of the Glory of the Father, so also the Holy Spirit is the manifestation of the Glory of His Presence.

Believers should be experiencing the power of God!

Although God is always with us, it is obvious that there are times when His Presence is with us in greater measure. As we experience God’s Manifest Presence in a greater capacity; we are transformed from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:17-18). The Manifest Presence of God is what brings power for transformation, deliverance and ministry. The Holy Spirit changes lives and reveals the Glory of God. He moves us into greater intimacy with our Heavenly Father and removes all the barriers that hinder our growth and steal our confidence. The key to the powerful anointing of God is His Manifest Presence; Jesus experienced it and calls upon us to do the same (Lk 4:18-19)(Lk 24:49). His desire is that we be clothed with power from on high.

 Jesus said to us, ”…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8). 

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