I recently made some delicious Apple Butter for my neighbors for Christmas. When I was finished, the sides of the crock pot were covered with burned, stuck-on sugar that wouldn’t come off no matter how hard I scrubbed. I heard … Continue reading
“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:13-21
My son and I were having a discussion about church which quickly turned to a verbal wrestling match with me trying to get him to want-to do something because he wanted-to, not just get him to do something because he felt he had-to or was being made-to (which I see nothing wrong with, but in this situation, I wanted more). Motivating the unmotivated, that was my pursuit…not so easy, especially when it is oneself…
I had been thinking about this topic for a few days as it concerned me. I kept pondering the question, How do I get from the feeling of ‘I have-to’ to ‘I want-to’? In return, the same thought kept coming back to me…”Turn your have-to, to your get-to, then your want-to will come.”
I intentionally applied this to myself and I could feel a general gratefulness come over me as my mind shifted to the right perspective. It was kind of a spin on,”Kids all over the world are starving, so don’t take your food for granted” talk my parents had with me as a child and as I have with mine today, only with a much broader application. In that moment, I applied it to my boy. He didn’t want to go to church. I wanted him to want-to go to church as I always want him to want Jesus and all things Jesus. I didn’t want to threaten him to want Jesus, I didn’t want to convince him to want Jesus, I wanted him to want Jesus.
I read this article awhile back entitled, “7 year-old Indian boy tortured and killed for being a Christian”. I discussed with Jackson the get-to. This murder took place in India on November 17, 2013. Not 10, 25, 50 nor 100 years ago. This took place in our world 50 days ago…50. This child and his family endured the worst known pain for being filled with the Jesus we are begging people to surrender to. This child and his family only dreamed of getting to worship freely, yet we can and most times don’t.
As horrific as this story is and will always be, we can’t let this lesson pass us by. This may not be affecting our families to this degree today, but it always starts somewhere…as a thought. We don’t have-to worship Jesus, we don’t have-to read our Bibles, we don’t have-to stand against the Devil, we don’t have-to act like Jesus people, WE GET TO!! We get-to talk about Him, we get-to praise Him, we get-to go to church and proclaim Him. We get-to freely learn about Him and we get-to teach our children about Him!
We are new creations, not new converts!! We have gotten into this obligatory mindset that wreaks of death and filth when we were called out into the privilege of His marvelous light and life and truth and peace!!
As I shared this with my son I saw this have-to mentality get put in check. I saw him awestruck by the story of Anmol and he began instantly to change his mind (which by the way is to REPENT) about the things he and we all take for granted in our “Sunday School” culture. I saw him arise, dress himself on time and I genuinely saw him want-to worship Jesus because he gets-to!!!
How about you? Time to turn our have-to to our get-to so we will want-to. When we want-to, we really can go and change our world!
He is the WELL my friends, let’s partake of Him together!
Happy New Year my friends! I wanted you to know that I stopped making New Year’s resolutions about 10 years ago. Partly because by late February I had achieved the failure of self-effort and partly because I was just trying to survive my life, … Continue reading
This is my little doggy and her name is Zoe! She is our little bundle of life and energy!!
One of our mainstays in training her is using treats. When she goes outside to potty she gets a treat. When she comes back in she will follow you everywhere expecting her treat… right behind your heels…everywhere! She never forgets until you get the message that she wants her blessing. Sounds similar to another story I know…
“And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”; ” Gen. 32:22-30
Our friend Jacob was in trouble, I mean it kind of seemed to follow him. In the natural, he had been given a name that meant, “Supplanter (substitute) or Deceiver” and apparently had lived up to that meaning. He had deceived his dad in blessing him rather than his brother Esau and Esau in turn hated him and wanted to kill him. Now some 20 years later God was speaking to Jacob and telling him to return to his family of birth because God wanted to deal well with him. I’m sure he was thinking, well? After what I have done?
At the same time Jacob is pondering his presumed demise, you see this scenario unfolding where Jacob’s men have just given him a report that Esau is coming near with a force of 400 men (vs. 6). Jacob is shaking in his boots with fear and dread. He has his wife and whole family that he has invested years to have and to build and adore. Now, this thing he did 20 years ago is coming back to potentially take everything from him the same way he took everything from his brother? What a dilemma! So, he continues reasoning and scheming to justify in his own mind how things could possibly go “well” with him and how he might, “help” God along. He tries to win Esau’s favor with stuff, tradition, intimidation and his preferred method…deceit. That night with his future uncertain and looming before him he has this encounter with what Hosea says is an angel of the Lord.
We know that Jacob is quite a tenacious man and he knows a thing or two about blessing. He deceived Esau out of his and then worked for Laban for years for a blessing from him. It seems fitting that he would go after it since it is such familiar territory! But, as with all things concerning God, mans tactics may work on man for a season, but they don’t work on Jesus. He sees straight through them and straight through us; right to our heart. He knows that Jacob has learned bad behaviors and has never understood who he is and that will not work for the ultimate blessing God wants to give him. He doesn’t mess around, He understands how Jacob sees himself and He doesn’t want to give him the opportunity to rely on his past methods. He jumps right in there in his face and wrestles him!! I love this!!
You can rest in knowing that God sees you. He will not allow you to operate in your learned behaviors when it concerns Him! He will not be manipulated or controlled! He loves you too much! He knows the only way for the blessing to come is by complete encounter with Him!!! Complete encounter brings complete transformation!! This transformation brought Jacob a new name, Israel. Israel means “Prince with God”!! All of these years Jacob saw himself as a deceiver and a substitute and God wanted him to know how He saw him…as Prince!
Jacob was destined for encounter. He was destined for blessing, that is why he was so drawn towards it his whole life. He just had to learn that he didn’t have to trick for it, work for it or any other human method. You simply receive God’s blessing through encounter. Then when he saw who he was in God’s eyes He longed to know who this was who had loved him so…
Do you ever find yourself like Jacob. God has given you a promise but the circumstances are the exact opposite of that promise and those circumstances are producing a dread in your heart, strategizing in your mind and anxiety in your soul? Well one thing you can trust is that God knows how to find you and there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate you from His love!! He will do what He needs to have a vibrant encounter with you. Call out to Him today in response to His love, grace and favor on your life. Jesus has made a way for you to have great relationship with him! He is the blessing! And that relationship is what will guide you through your distresses. He wants you to know how He sees you and what name He has for you so you don’t fall back into your old patterns and reasonings. So, when face to face with Him, you like Jacob will understand all He died to give and when you really see that love, you will not let Him go either until you receive Him as your blessing in Jesus Name!!
http://youtu.be/IoezWBPGRAc (Check out this amazing song, too!)
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love.” 1 Peter 1:3-8a
I love a good movie. But, an absolute requirement for me is that it must have a happy ending. I am okay with the character(s) going through great difficulties, but I will not entertain a story teller who does not have the foresight to tell the redemption of the hardship. Why sell yourself short? Unless of course you don’t believe in happy endings…but I must tell you…
Even if you don’t believe in happy endings, Happy Endings Believe in You!!!
I can understand, to a degree, why you personally might not be a believer of a happy ending given the way your story has played out so far…
- Your setting may be a home filled with alcoholism, abuse, mental instability, raging, negligence, pain, sickness, poverty, perfection, rejection, abandonment and grief.
- Your characters have been introduced one by one and we can just imagine the variety and complexity here…
- And your theme has been layed out. That is, the underlying idea of who you are, what you are about, why you are here, where you are going, and to think these messages have bombarded you since conception…
It is no wonder why a happy ending is not too high on the priority list or gone completely from your horizon. For some, it is just a miracle that you have even made it this far to live to tell.
But, even in the midst of these lifelong great and overwhelming messages, we have an even greater message of hope that I would like to share with you today. A living hope that can completely dominate the landscape of a life devastated, cheated and defeated. A hope that is alive. A hope that cannot die. It cannot be separated from us. It cannot be lost. It cannot be corrupted or defiled or fade away. This hope is kept alive by the power of God Himself. This living hope is Jesus Christ and it came through His resurrection from the dead. Christians know this to be Easter Sunday’s meaning. Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
Above, verses 6 and 7 say, you may have been grieved by (my word-unimaginable) trials and tested by fire. Their importance to our landscape, is to reveal a genuineness of faith. This means to me, that He will/has shown you what is really important in this life and what is not important in this life so that you never get the two confused again; a means to hold on to peace against all odds. Verse 7 concludes, “may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
And this my friends is the turning point to any amazing story, the revelation of Jesus. This will meet you wherever you find yourself today. If you have never heard of Him before, just recently heard of Him or have known Him all your life, the revelation of Jesus Christ hinges the door of all living hope. He alone is your happy ending. Relationship with Him is the great reward and you can have that now on this Earth while we await the saving of our souls eternally. Call out to Him today for His salvation.
How else could Peter write verse 8 if he had not seen this revelation work out in other’s lives, “whom having not seen you love.” How can you love someone you have never seen? You love because when He is revealed to you, you get this amazing understanding that He loves you and no matter what setting you have been given, His love is greater. No matter what characters speak into your life, His love speaks louder. And no matter what theme has been presented, His message for you is stronger. His love never fails, it never disappoints and it is alive! Your circumstances may or may not change, your setting can change, the characters in your life will come and go, but the revelation of a love that never fails, never disappoints, never abandons you, never forsakes or rejects you no matter what will never ever change. He is the greatest love story ever known! The happiest of all endings is Jesus! For this we rejoice today at His revelation and at His resurrection from ALL THINGS DEAD!!
So Father, in the mighty name of the Risen Lord Jesus, I declare hope to spring forth today to all weary souls. I call forth lives to be restored to a living hope by the power of God. I declare that the revelation of Jesus is greater than the revelation of all circumstances. And that no sin and no circumstance can have greater power than Your love. I believe in you as my happy ending to all things…all things present and things to come. I re-engage where I have fallen into self pity and hopelessness and I take up my shield of faith and sword of the Spirit. I believe in you Jesus. I believe in your resurrection power to empower my dead bones to live again! I will not give up this power any longer. I assert that my grief is not my defeat! I thank you that I am your child and that I was bought at a high price and that you live evermore to save me and give me a living hope! I give you glory, honor and praise ahead of time for all that you are and all that you are going to do!! In Jesus Name! Amen
“You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God.
You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
When you accepted Jesus into your heart and life, look what the Bible says you have come to: a new home, a new inheritance, a new protection, a new security, a new helper, a new perfector, a new covenant, a new power, and a new sacrifice. The old is gone and the new is come! You have all of this right in front of you and all around you. You have been relieved of the duty of making your own way, worrying about whether or not you are pleasing Him or not, being scared to mess up for fear you will be zapped with His heavenly ray gun, reprimanded for not getting life done perfectly, or anything else that has to do with you preparing yourself for Him. Look what He has prepared for you!! Instead of wondering where your help will come from….know that it has come from the Lord!
Now He beckons for you to come…..
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Mark 1:17
“Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine .” John 21:12
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Rev. 3:20
So COME! and rest, feast, follow, and fish……it is the way of your King….
“And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging . And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out , and say , Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace : but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still , and commanded him to be called . And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort , rise ; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose , and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee ? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight . And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way ; thy faith hath made thee whole . And immediately he received his sight , and followed Jesus in the way.” Mark 10:46-52
True and lasting change comes from an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ. If you are “stuck” in your life, regardless of the circumstances of your struggle, you really have 3 options that come to mind:
1. CRY OUT to God for His mercy and MOVE in your life and that you encounter Him in a real way.
2. CRY OUT to God for His mercy and FIND you because you are not able to see Him or find Him.
3. CRY OUT to God for His mercy and HELP you walk effectively in what He has already deposited in your life.
Cry out to God wherever you are, rise up on the inside and believe that He has heard you and now wait for Him to help you see thy way out…..