no turning back — I Sing Because I’m Free
I have always loved hymns, and in particular, learning the stories behind how they were written. The story behind I Have Decided to Follow Jesus is one that I found particularly moving… “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” is a Christian hymn originating from India. The lyrics are based on the last words of a man […]
Living for NOW
“live for Now… not yesterday, not tomorrow… NOW!” ~JH
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6:34
Source: Living for NOW
Heart Thoughts – Appearances
Can we make the move from living in the natural, to moving in the supernatural, and know that this doesn’t make us “weird?” Can we dare to live in a realm that depends upon really having the eyes, mind, and heart of Christ? ~Pastor O
A devotional by Pastor O, shared by permission.
I am becoming more and more disturbed by comments and statements made by well meaning, and perhaps some not so well meaning brothers and sisters. Statements that are so dogmatic in their content that they will tolerate no disagreement from any quarter. As someone said, it is imperative that we belong to the “right club” within the church. We in that club are right, and everyone else is wrong. My sense of it all is we are depending far more upon our own intellectual understanding of His Word and teaching than we do upon the direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. We must have correct doctrine and theology on the essentials of the faith, and especially the final authority of scripture, but most of our conflict, even warfare, is a result of arguing about non-essentials. And we can be extremely unloving in our disagreements, resulting in labeling, and even name calling. All the while, I believe Jesus weeps, and, I think, feels no small amount of anger. I think it is time, past time, for the Church, you and me, to hear Him speak a new “nevertheless” to us.
When Jesus spoke the above scripture to His disciples, He was telling them that He was leaving them. They didn’t understand any of His reasoning and were brokenhearted. They saw and sensed only the appearance of it all. He would be gone….they thought. They could not see or understand what He was following that statement with; that He would be sending them the Comforter, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who would not only be with them, but in them. He was promising them an even greater companion than His physical presence, but they couldn’t see it. They lacked discernment and understanding. That would not come until they were baptized in the fullness of His Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It will not come to us until we experience it as well. When we do, we will no longer live by appearances and our own understanding. We will not live by the power of our intellect, but by the power of His Spirit. We will not live with information about Him, but revelation from Him. We’ll discover that truth and reality are not based upon what appears to be, but on what He has spoken and revealed…..and continues to speak and reveal. We discover that His Word is alive and not static. Growing and unfolding within us in ever deeper ways. Never making itself void, but always taking us beyond our intellectual limits. It’s a mystical and supernatural experience, and our staid, western intellects struggle with that. So we live by our senses and our natural reasoning. Knowing what He has said, in our minds if not our hearts, but not what He is saying now. We’re leaning upon our own understanding, but we never seem to realize it.
Can it become less important for us to be “right” in all these debates, and most important that we know and hear Him? Can we believe that there may be areas of life, doctrine and theology, where we may be at least in part, wrong? Can we make the move from living in the natural, to moving in the supernatural, and know that this doesn’t make us “weird?” Can we dare to live in a realm that depends upon really having the eyes, mind, and heart of Christ? This is frightening to the flesh, but very welcoming to Christ. Will we live in the place where our flesh is most at home, or where His Holy Spirit is? What’s our answer as concerns our lives, homes, and fellowships? Do we live by appearances, or by His appearing and speaking to us through them?
The Timekeeper – by Pastor O Shell
“How long O Lord?” This is the cry from millions of hearts. Likely from our heart as well, and often. We spend so much of our life energy setting, focusing on, and striving to reach goals, accomplish agendas, and bring to pass the deep desires of our hearts, but all we have in the end is exhaustion. And more often than not, disappointment and frustration as well. We do seek Him in it all, but mostly as a means of reaching our desired end. He said He’d give us the desires of our hearts, and we mean to hold Him to His word. Even if we do get what we want, we miss what we truly need, Him. We can do this in every facet of life, and may well be most guilty of it in the area of ministry. We have good ends that we want to reach, and we’re in a very great hurry to reach them. Jesus said that He “must be about the Father’s business.” Well, so are we. The problem is, we don’t understand what His business is really all about. We have allowed working for Him to take the place of knowing and loving Him. We can have lives dedicated to Him, but I’m not so sure the same can be said of our hearts. This may be best seen when we’re forced to deal with the delays that can come along in getting to the place we want to be. Achieving the end that we’ve been aiming for. Jesus didn’t live this way. We ask what would Jesus do? Will we ask as to how Jesus really walked….thought…..lived?
Jesus spent 30 years in obscurity. In that time He had an ever growing picture of what He had been sent for, particularly by the age of 12. Yet He didn’t deal with the delay with impatience or frustration. He knew what He was here for, but He was at total rest as to how and when the Father would bring it all about. Chole speaks beautiful words as to how He walked in this time. He did not just have His eyes on where He was going. He had His eyes on the One He was going with. He had zeal, but that zeal was first and foremost in His walk with and in the Father. All the energy of His ministry flowed out of that relationship. He didn’t come to show us how to “do.” He showed us what to be. What we can become in Him. That’s why His Life, amidst all the delays, difficulties, trials and tears, was marked by the total rest and contentment He had in His Father. The One He trusted to bring about all things for Him in the fullness of HIS time. Can we?
“He Leads Us On”
2015, the newest frontier for everyone today is the same. What does 2015 hold in store? What new challenges and new opportunities await? How will you and I purpose to embrace all that 2015 has in store?
Make no mistake, life will happen and we must decide today to participate in the journey of 2015. Whether we get to today only, a few days or weeks or months, or the entire year… One thing is certain, we will either join in the journey or watch it pass by. As a child in Jesus Christ, you and I are called to embrace each and everyday of this journey!
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~John 10:10 God our Father expects us to live this life to the fullest and doing so means we participate and do so with intention.
We get to know right now that God is in this journey with us! He will provide for our every need and that regardless of what takes place this year, HE already knows what is in store for this year. He has already provided for every mountain, valley, and obstacle. He already knows the great heights of joy and the deepest of hurts and sorrow that we will face; these too HE has already provided the way for us to experience with HIS grace and strength.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11
Make no mistake, God is already active in 2015. He is eager to fulfill HIS plan in our life and to see us fulfill His will for ours. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~Ephesians 2:10
God calls us to enjoy this journey we call “life” and to do so means that we must actively participate in every aspect of what is to come. We must intentionally move toward all HE has for us this year seeking to be walking in harmony with HIS perfect will. The “Great Commission” calls us to, “… go and make disciples of all nations…” ~Matthew 28:19. The key word to focus on here is “GO”, participate in God’s plan.
The choice IS ours, participate or spectate. I respectfully submit to you that the great experience will be had in choosing to join in with God. Seek to walk in step, in harmony with God our Father to fulfill HIS plan to reconcile mankind to Himself! The glory and honor will all belong to HIM and we will get to enjoy the moments of victory along the way. 2015 will be filled with victories and losses, make no mistake HE will be in it all and go through all of it with you and I, such a great blessing!!!
In closing, I pray that you will experience the very best that God has for you. That you will know the depths of HIS peace as never before and that HIS blessings upon you will flow as rivers into the lives of those you encounter. Lastly, in my quite time this morning, the following poem stood out to me.
“He leads us on by paths we did not know;
Upward He leads us, though our steps be slow,
Though oft we faint and falter on the way,
Though storms and darkness oft obscure the day;
Yet when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.
He leads us on through all the unquiet years;
Past all our dreamland hopes, and doubts and fears,
He guides our steps, through all the tangled maze
Of losses, sorrows, and o’er clouded days;
We know His will is done;
And still He leads us on.”
–Nicholaus Ludwig Zinzendorf
Blessings and Peace Always,
John, Peter, Paul…
“Which disciple do you think you are most like?” This was the question I recall that started a conversation not long ago from my pastor. Honestly, I returned the question to him knowing he’d say Peter. I am a bit impulsive and can be more than just a little direct.
Being the first-born, most first-born children will agree, you find yourself in a leadership role at a very early age. In this position you necessarily feel those burdens of setting the example and the need at times to choose a course and stay with it, believing it will work out and that you have the unction to get it done and see it through.
Then, by God’s amazing grace you discover that you need redemption, salvation, a savior who you can trust and lean on. In accepting Christ there is relief and hope. Now, all of that energy you had as the first-born becomes focused on intentionally living out this new life. So you are still the example for younger siblings except, now you are not focused on setting an example for them. Now you are focused on Jesus and in that focus, brazen statements are made. Commitments are made that without the Holy Spirit’s power can never be kept.
Over the course of my life, I have found myself joining Paul in being content in all situations. “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter that the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13 (God’s Word) We have had plenty in our life and we have had very little and eaten what we could. Sometimes, having less has been the greater blessing.
The greater struggle is in learning to be content in my spiritual walk. Knowing that regardless of what I feel, faith is not about what we feel, Christ is with me in the trenches through His Holy Spirit. When I am seeking Him with all I have and He “seems” very far away, He is closer still than my own breath. Lord help me to know Your presence at all times and in all things—to be content in Your blessed presence when known and when unknown without any doubts!
I recently read a devotional and agree with the author that, God sets a grand tapestry before us for our pleasure to view. He also sets before us a field of harvest that needs workers. I pray in both that He will fit me for His use and that I will always be found faithful to be available and submissive to His call and will.
Blessings and Peace Always,
“As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their “right” place.”