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Archive for August, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately and how this life gives us only faint glimpses of eternity.  All of us are eagerly waiting for the moment when the fog lifts!  Everything in this life will change in a blink of an eye; the here and now will fade away and we’ll instantly see what is now hidden from our view.  God will roll back this present life and we’ll shout for joy when we realize just how near He really was…..and is.  We’ll, know that the unseen was just barely, just slightly beyond our eye’s reach—a blink beyond what we see now!  And all the Glory, the Glory of our Lord God Almighty, will be in full view!!!  And faith, our soul’s dear friend, we’ll finally recognize as a sweet, sweet gift from the Lord–not a burden, not an undertaking, but a gift.  Until then, we get the great high privilege of walking by faith in this moment, this hour, this day, and perhaps, even tomorrow!  Thank you, Lord!  Thank you, Lord!  It is well with our soul…………

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
(It Is Well With My Soul, Horatio G. Spafford, 1873)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” Ephesians 6:10.

May His grace abound in you in everyplace; pouring out of you as the sweet fragrance of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And all the more as we live by faith…

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Living For God?

Wouldn’t it be tragic if we lived our whole life doing “for” God only to discover that He simply wanted to live His life through us? Are we too busy, too burdened, too preoccupied with Christian service to notice the Savior waiting eagerly to to live in union with us? Longing to lead. Desiring to express Himself through us. I wonder…

For the first time in my life, my human sufficiency seems so insignificant…so not the point.

I think that’s what Paul meant in Philippians 3:7-10 when he wrote, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

May surrender define our walk with Christ. All for His glory…

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Tentmaking Update

I sure miss blogging and recording!

As some of you know, I had to return to tentmaking the past few months. It’s been a great project to work on—workplace flexibility—and a great gift from the Lord. We wrap up the project next week, so my nose is to the grindstone!

I’m looking forward to finalizing all the messages for the Fall Women’s Retreats; trusting the Lord for His outpouring! I’ll be back in the blog world soon.

Until then, God speed!

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It happens easily enough. And the truth is, it happens quite regularly, but we abhor admitting it. In fact, we’ll go to great lengths to deny it. We don’t want anyone to know; God forbid that anyone would discover even a hint of it in our lives…….. Gasp! Perish the thought! Avoid the mere mention of it, indeed! Cover up the nasty little varmint—beat it up if you have to, but don’t let the despicable, troublesome pest slip into view! Especially don’t show up in church with it… If for some reason this occurs, quickly cover it up with appropriate amounts of humility! Don’t overdo it though, or you’ll be found out.

PRIDE. We’d rather manage it or cover it up than face the reality of it. It’s interesting though, we detect it in others with near 100% accuracy. We are even proud of our ability to do so.

One of the best antidotes for pride is exposure. Yes, bring it out into the light and confess it. We must learn to honest about its presence in our life. Though I much prefer humbling myself before God, there are those poignant times when He humbles me—many times in front of an audience of family and friends.

God is opposed to the proud (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). The Word James and Peter use is antitassomai. It means to rage in battle against or resist. God is persistent in dealing with our pride. He knows it leads to great corruption in the church and He rages a battle against it. That’s how serious He is about the sin of pride. It is the gateway sin—the sin leading to all others.

So, how inclined are we toward pride? Should I say predisposed? Unfortunately, every single one of us struggles in this area. And well, if you don’t think so, it’s probably pride that prevents you from admitting it. We’ve just learned how to disguise it really well; sort of like Moses wearing his veil—hiding the fading glory.

The wonderful truth is that we are reflectors of God’s glory, a reflection that is best revealed through vessels that are wholly yielded to Him. May we humbly step toward the throne of Grace, transparent and honest; really honest about our pride and the masks we wear to hid it.

We ask You to unveil us, Lord. Open our eyes to your glory so we might worship you in Spirit and Truth.

Under the Mercy…

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For years I tried to “experience” God. I pursued religious activities because I wanted to have a religious experience. I wanted the spine-tingling realization of God’s presence. I thought external activity would give “it” to me… I wasn’t so much looking for God as much as I was looking for an experience. Do you know that the pursuit of an experience can be an idol?

That’s exactly what “my version of Christianity” had become for me. I was looking for a feeling, an emotional sensation. I called it Christian, but it was dark years away from being anything Christian—it was mere fleshly activity.

I want to burrow down, past all the fleshly activity in my life, to find the glorious face of my Lord. And the amazing truth for every believer is that He’s not far off… Jesus Christ is alive in us. We don’t have to go looking for Him through external experiences because He is nearer than we can ever imagine! Galatians 2:20, Colossians 3:3, 2 Corinthians 4:7, Ephesians 2:4-7…

Keep seeking after God, dear pilgrim! Forsake all the idols and set your face toward your God. It’s in turning away from ourselves that we come to know that He very present. Standing right there…right here!!! He’s right there, right inside you!

We love you, Lord! We praise you! YOU alone are worthy of all our praise!

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Ray Stedman, faithful servant and longtime Senior Pastor of Peninsula Bible Church, used to say, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Ray was right! The main thing, of course, is to keep our focus on the Lord God. But the main thing slips out of focus so easily, doesn’t it?

It reminds me of the first time I used bicycle pedal toe-clips. I was concentrating so hard on inserting my toes in the clips I totally forgot to keep pedaling the bike forward. In looking down at the dilemma of why one foot wouldn’t properly go into the clip, I lost sight of the main thing. Tilting, tilting, over… Once I got over the shock of smacking the pavement, I laughed my head off for being so absent minded. Hello…

My preoccupation with one thing compromised my ability to maintain focus on the most important thing—pedaling my bike forward. Yes, I eventually learned how to pedal and insert my feet into the clips without looking down. 😉

There have been many times in my walk with the Lord where I have become preoccupied with certain aspects of Christianity. There was a time when the pursuit of spiritual disciplines was the main thing… Many years ago, I jumped on the spiritual warfare bandwagon and that became the main thing… I was fully invested in these things—absorbed in achieving a level of spiritual competence (perhaps our first clue that something is off center). Of course, spiritual disciplines and the reality of spiritual warfare are important aspects of our faith, but they are not the focal point of our faith—the Lord God is.

When God fails to be our pursuit—when we cease to depend upon Him as our Life—we slip into fleshly activity. It may look religious, but it’s fleshly. Before long we’ve tipped over into areas where there is hardly a shred of Christ left in the picture. We’ve lapsed into extremes, and whenever we see extremes in Christianity there is fleshly activity and pride. Yup, that would be pride; the great digression of our flesh. The more invested we are in these tangents, the more indignant and emphatic we are toward others, and the puffed-up we are with ourselves. We are simply parading ourselves before others. In so doing, we cease to be attractive, because the Life of Christ ceases to flow through us.

The main thing (our focus) is to keep the main thing (Jesus Christ) the main thing (our focus). Or to put it another way, our focus is to keep Jesus Christ our focus. How to we do that?  Through His word and by thorough dependence upon the Living Lord! Glorious dependence—that’s exactly where He wants us. May we comprehend with all the saints the reality of Jesus Christ as the Author and Finisher our faith, minute-by-minute, day-by-day!

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:14-21. Amen and amen!

O Lord, may we gaze intently upon You; as if You were cupping our chin in Your hand and looking into our eyes. And when our eyes wander to the left or the right, will You draw us back to Your face? We are so incapable of living the Christian life, but You already know this about us. In fact, may we come to know this more deeply so that the only life that seeps out of our life is Your Life. This is what we long for!

We praise You. We adore You. You are worthy of our complete devotion and focus. For Your glory and honor alone we pray, in Jesus name, Amen.

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