November, 2010


26
Nov 10

Ruling Over Your Spirit

“He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 AMP

When I read this verse, it leapt off the page and grabbed me. We have such a narrow context for self-control, thinking it only applies to our actions. But what if it goes beyond that, to our very spirits?

Do you have control over your spirit?

If you watch your dreams disappear, do you lose hope, or do you rise up in faith, knowing the God who called you?

If you encounter opposition, do you turn and run, or do you march boldly into the fray, knowing your God has your back?

Maybe it’s even more basic than that. It might be losing a game. It might be forgetting your lunch. It might be saying something stupid. It might be trying something new. If you make a mistake, do you cower in shame, or do you revel in the love of your perfect Father?

Until you learn to control your spirit, Proverbs says you aren’t safe. You might not be able to control your emotions, but apparently you can choose to be strong in spirit. When you live in that place of utter rest in the spirit, there is no circumstance that the enemy can throw your way to unsettle you because you are like a secured fortress.

In the end, you will have a choice whether you let your spirit be overtaken by the tragedies and worries of this life. Will your wall be broken down, or will it be found strong against the enemy?


21
Nov 10

The Christian Experience

You know those people who are always looking for an “experience” in their Christian walk? I was reading Philippians 2 recently, where Paul tells us to have the attitude of Christ–that is, He humbled Himself to the greatest degree, giving even His life to save the scum of the earth. I thought to myself, “That’s what we should tell them to do if they want an experience!”

Now, I’d meant that to be ironic, but this week God has been impressing it upon me as true. You will only manifest as much of the spirit as you are dead. The greatest Christian leaders of history were dealt with very severely by the Holy Spirit. They came to realize this life is not their own.

The only road to resurrection life is by passing through death. One of the reasons we have powerless Christianity is because we haven’t died.

The answer? Just pray for God to start laying His finger on things in your life. As you die to your self and surrender yourself to Him, the glory and power will glow from your life in greater measure.

Will you dare? Does Christ mean more to you than all the world and all you own?


15
Nov 10

Speed vs. Acceleration

I’ve been thinking recently about the way people live their lives, and I’d like to frame it in the context of the laws of motion. I want to start by reviewing several terms and definitions.

1. First up is Newton’s first law of motion: “Every body remains in a state of rest or uniform motion (constant velocity) unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force.” This just means that things keep moving unless something stops them or slows them down.

2. Of course, we don’t get to observe this here on earth because of something called gravity, which slows things down. But if it weren’t for gravity, basketballs would sail through space forever. (That’s a little simplistic, but humor me.)

3. The third term is velocity, which is  the distance travelled per unit time. It means how fast you go.

4. The fourth term is acceleration, which is a rate of increase of velocity. It means going faster and faster.

Here’s the deal. When we look at other people, it’s easy for us to judge them based on their speed. This applies in many different ways, but I’d like to focus on spirituality and personal growth. It’s easy to look at someone and say, “Wow, that person has a close walk with God and has some great wisdom.” Meanwhile, we compare them with someone else who is young in the faith. When we do this, we are only measuring their speed–how fast they are going at the moment.

There’s something much more important that I look for in people. It’s acceleration. For the most part, I don’t care where you are in life. You can be young or old, any level of maturity, but those things only define where you are presently. They don’t define where you’re going to be tomorrow, or the day after. You see, someone young in the faith may be moving slowly, but if he has acceleration, it means that tomorrow he’ll be going a little faster. If he keeps on picking up speed, he’ll eventually catch up, then pass, with many believers who have set their spiritual journeys on “cruise”.

Here’s the thing. Many of us shrink back because we think that going at a faster speed will require more energy. However, according to the laws of physics, that’s not true.  Our energy is divided between two parts:

  1. Gravity — resisting the pull that wants to slow us down.
  2. Acceleration — increasing speed

Remember, gravity is what keeps you from effortlessly going where you going. Apart from gravity, you would need no additional effort to keep moving. However, if you quit exerting effort, you starting slowing down. That’s gravity. Maybe that’s why the author of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us….”

Apart from gravity, the energy you exert is used for acceleration, allowing you to pick up speed.

What does this mean practically? It means:

  • The book that you finished last week isn’t enough.
  • The lesson you learned last week isn’t enough.
  • The time you spent with God last week isn’t enough.
  • The truth that you learned last week isn’t enough.
  • The life you touched last week isn’t enough.
  • Your walk with God last week isn’t enough.

The  problem isn’t what you did. The problem is that it all happened last week, and you’re already in this week! You can’t even maintain where you are without effort, but if you want to accelerate, you have to:

  1. pick up another book
  2. spend another hour with God
  3. touch another person’s life
  4. do what you’ve always been doing…all over again.

Sometimes it’s easy to question what we’re  doing. Why not throw in the towel? Why keep doing the same thing over and over again? But here’s the truth–the energy you exert is not about the speed you’re going. It’s about acceleration–going a little faster than the  day before. Over time, these incremental speed-ups are going to add up.

So, speed or acceleration–which way are you going to spend your life?


9
Nov 10

Favored Son or Spoiled Brat?

I recently got in a small argument with a friend about favored sons and spoiled brats. He said they’re the same; I said they’re different.

God does not show favoritism, but He does show favor, and I, for one, want to live in that favor. But if I live in God’s favor, how do I know I’m not just a spoiled brat? Simple:

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV

And:

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Hebrews 12:7-8 ESV

If you want to walk in your sonship, expect discipline, but know that it’s a validation of your identity and that it’s what allows you to receive favor without becoming a spoiled brat.

Live in His favor.

(Obviously, this is also true for daughters and daughterhood, but it’s easier to clarify at the end instead of using clumsy wording throughout.)


7
Nov 10

Don’t Faint

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:7-10 ESV

Why??

Why get up in the morning to face another day?

Why tackle another project at work when you’ve already done more than your share?

Why let your heart break one more time for the sorrow of the world?

Why keep teaching your child the ways of God when they’re irritable and rebellious?

Why take the initiative to talk about the tough issues that would be easier to ignore?

Why challenge others to excellence if it means more discomfort, awkwardness, and maybe outright pain for yourself?

Why keep pursuing God when He seems distant and your prayers seem unheard?

Why believe God’s promises when everything you see around you seems like evidence to the contrary?

Why keep sharing Christ so others can taste His goodness, when your own life seems like a walk through the desert or a feast of crumbs?

Why keep spending your life for others when God is asking it of you, but it’s costing you dearly and nobody knows?

Why keep serving when others get credit and recognition for what you do?

Why??

Because it never really was about you, and you’ll reap, if you don’t faint.

So please, don’t faint! You may not see it yet, but your harvest is on the way!


4
Nov 10

The Joshua Leader: Nothing Undone

“Just as the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.” Joshua 11:15 ESV

This concludes the series on Joshua, not because there’s nothing more to add, but just because it’s all recorded in the book of Joshua–the memorials and monuments, the battles won, the battles lost, the miracles of God, etc. You can read them for yourself. Joshua lived a full life, and at the end of his life, the Bible says he had done all that was commanded him. He had left nothing undone.

When I meet my Father face to face, I want to hear more than just, “You made it.”

Rather, I want to hear my Father say, “Son, what you did was amazing! When I showed you truth, you changed your mind and way of life to agree. You dug deep into your life to find your gifts and talents, to discover how I made you, because you wanted to make the most of what I had given you. You gave me your brokenness, confusion, and helplessness, and you allowed me to give you beauty for ashes. You opened your heart to my love so that your works would have value in the end. You gave up both your securities and insecurities so that you could gain me and my power. You held nothing back, and you have gone far beyond mere requirements in your walk with me. Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!”

My Father has lavished so much love on me, changing me and breaking me. Everything inside of me wants to grow up to be like my Daddy and to make my Daddy proud! May it one day be said of me, too, that of all that God commanded of me, nothing was left undone.

For Christ and His very own.


2
Nov 10

The Joshua Leader: Miracles

And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. … And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” Joshua 3:10-13 ESV

Short and to the point:

* The purpose of the miracle? To show that the living God is among them.

* The audience of the miracle? God’s people.

Conclusion:

Maybe God wants to prove Himself not only to unbelievers, but also to believers! Maybe it’s actually the church that needs to be reminded of the size, strength, power, and presence of God…

(I know I need that right now.)

Being a Joshua Leader in this way is not about being super-spiritual in any way. It’s about reading stories in the Bible; realizing that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and believing God will move miraculously in present-day situations.

He loves us so much, and He really wants to!