Thursday, August 30, 2018

Things That We Lug Around that We Don’t have to Carry

In my mind’s eye I see a scene. It is sunny, a gorgeous day in Everytown. There are many, many walking on the streets which have the hanging baskets of pansies and petunias cascading down from the lamp posts. Bright sun is lighting the sidewalks but wait, there are nets all over, some people are struggling to take a step and becoming more and more entangled. The people with huge backpacks are having the worst time with their heavy loads and then laden down with the backpacks too. I see others who have taken off their backpacks who struggle to hoist them overhead, just as they do a huge hand comes down from the clouds to lift the heaviness from them. Wait, it is incredible, those who give their weighted down packs to that “hand” are no longer touching the pavement, nor susceptible to getting their feet all tangled up in those awful nets. They are actually floating, no rising off the pavement with flaps of their wings? Wow, once they give that heavy and weighted down “backpack” to the “big hand in the sky” they can actually fly. They no longer have to walk from place to place but can fly above it all, above the congestion, crowds and those awful snares. They seem to have lightness and freedom and you can even see the release just looking at their faces. What is going on here?
OK. The scriptural basis for this would be much, I am including just a few below.
In Isaiah 40:31 we are told that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.
I love the use of the word “shall”, not might, maybe or perhaps but shall. It shall happen, period. Do not listen to the enemy when he tries to get you to doubt the word of God. This is a great promise (set of promises) and you can take them to the bank as they shall happen.
In Psalm 124:7 David mentioned that our soul has escaped as a bird from the snares of the fowlers; the snare is broken and we have escaped. Good word picture and notice that David doesn’t say might or possibly will but that our soul had escaped. And that the snare is broken, this indicates to me that the snare is not functional and I am not going to be snared again.
In Psalm 141:10 David says let the wicked fall into their own nets while I safely escape. I am sure David had much experience with this one and can give us hope from his experiences of escape.
In Matthew 18:7 we are given a wonderful picture of a compassionate master (God) “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.” (NKJV)
Is our debt to God forgiven? I can say an empathic YES, if you have asked His forgiveness and been given a “new life”.
If you haven’t then there is definitely no better time than right now. Jesus paid a terrible price on that cross. He did it just for you (and for me). He is God and without sin. He can totally set you free if you but ask. Please ask Him to forgive you and be your Savior to know this awesome gift, even today.
Our debt is forgiven, ALL of it. If we sin after we are “saved”, and who hasn’t sinned daily, HE is righteous and just to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, we need to bit ask. Our heart’s desire should be not to sin but to walk as close to our Jesus as possible.
What’s up with the backpack so often filled with boulders? I am defining bounders as things that should be given to Jesus, things which are not ours to carry.
For example: those people you hurt really badly “back then”. Maybe you had an affair and hurt not only your spouse but also the person who participated with you. You are still feeling condemned, even though you have asked forgiveness. This comes back to haunt you over and over in the daytime and even in the night when you wake up. Maybe it interferes with your sleep. This would be a boulder.
The enemy is the accuser of the brethren, that means you, if you are part of the Body of Christ and “born again”. This affair or any other thing he might try to condemn you with is made “white as snow”. The blood that the Lord Jesus Christ shed at Calvary was for ALL your sins, past, present and future. Yep, the affair is no surprise to Him, yes, it broke His heart but he died to set you free. Can you give that to Him and allow Him to take that “boulder” out of your back pack? He already died for it. There is no further price to pay. There is nothing you did that was a surprise to Him since He knows the end from the beginning.
Whatever is in your backpack He says that the “bill” in paid in full. Not by you being good, not by anything you (or I) can do or did, but by Jesus, period. The enemy will tell you that your sin was worse than anyone else’s and that there is nothing that can set it right. I guess we get a choice at this point to either believe the enemy or the Lord Jesus Christ. That looks like a pretty simple choice.
That is what those people were doing when they took off the weighty backpacks and handed them upwards to that big hand coming down from the clouds. GIVE those boulders to the Lord. His blood has made you a new creature. You are covered with His robe of righteousness.
You no longer have to listen to the condemnation of the enemy. There are times when I even agree with him. Yes, I did do those things and I was a creep but Jesus paid my penalty, the DEATH penalty just for me! Quote scripture like Jesus did in the wilderness. Satan cannot stand to hear praises or the Word of God and he will leave. The Bible tells us to submit yourself therefore to God and resist the enemy and he will flee from you. The promises in the Word work.
James 4:7
[ Humility Cures Worldliness ] Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (NKJV)
When you “rise up with wings of eagles” you truly are above the sidewalks, congestion and the snares that would otherwise entangle your feet. No mystery here, you fly above all of that and come closer to God in the heavenlies. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a glorious, smart and tactically wise thing to do. Again, this is another promise from the Word of God. His Word is faithful and true.
This is going to be at least two parts because I haven’t yet touched upon “burdens”. Burdens are things which we are supposed to carry. Burdens in prayer, things the Lord gives us to stand strong in the battle ground for, lots of times on behalf of someone else.

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Spirit of Isolationism

We live in the middle of a most beautiful mountain meadow. There are more elk, deer and blue birds than there are neighbors. The neighbors we do have are really great, kind of like neighbors back in the ‘50s, helpful, concerned but not overbearing and making one feel like part of the community.
There are many out this way who love Jesus. There are also many who don’t gather to corporately worship Him. Oh, they have their reasons – they are too drained from being with many people all the work week and need their time off to relax, hike or go off by themselves where they can worship God in His creation. “Well, the preacher preached something that I don’t think is in the Bible…” “Did you go and speak with him to see what scripture he was referring to….?” “No, I am finding a church that is more traditional…” Then soon this person is not in any fellowship….
Our skies are exceptionally blue, scrolled with puffy white clouds against a backdrop of dark green pines etching the horizon with their ragged beauty. The mountains are snow capped and you will find them in any direction you turn. Wild flowers pop up, a planting of the Lord, in their season. Little critters are born and raised in the ponds, valleys, hillsides and skies. You couldn’t find a more beautiful place to live but the enemy is working in so many out this way.
Hebrews 10:25
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (NKJV)
The above scripture is misquoted, rearranged, disregarded. Why would someone choose to avoid the Body of Christ?
There is something so special about corporate worship. Being together and all lifting praises to our King Jesus. What do we miss when we choose not to come to the gathering? We miss refreshment – being refilled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing. We miss renewal – being quickened, challenged and restored. We miss thought provoking questions posed by the speaker, other members of the Body and the Spirit of our Living God giving us things to ponder and help us grow. We miss being used of Him to encouraged or love on someone else who desperately needs a touch that day, using you as His arms extended and His hands reached out. We miss a chance to learn, grow and become more like our most incredible Lord Jesus. We miss seeing the Lord move in powerful, tangible ways to heal, touch and restore individual members of the Body. We miss seeing forgiveness in action through those being made new in Jesus and in the Body as they operate in forgiveness one to another. And I have barely begun to make this list, with the Lord’s help, off the top of my recollected memory.
If you truly love Jesus, why wouldn’t you love His family? No, that family isn’t perfect. This alone should give us all hope, we are learning and growing and we aren’t alone on this pathway. We are not expected to be perfect. There is freedom in knowing that we are growing along with this family to become more like our older brother. We haven’t arrived yet but are in process, pilgrims on the way. None has arrived, yet. No one expects us to be perfected, nor do we need to have that expectation of any other. There is room to learn and grow and still be loved/loving.
It seems lately that so many have fallen away. The enemy seems to gloat over being able to divide and conquer. Get someone isolated and pretty soon they begin to believe those thoughts that are dropped into their hearts “you are weird, no one else who claims Christ struggles with THAT….” “Boy, are you still battling THIS?” “You can’t go back to the Body until you straighten up in those areas….”
Condemnation. John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Which sounds like a better choice?
This is not to chastise anyone but to give a word picture of what it is you are missing, giving up by not “gathering together” with other believers.
You are losing the preciousness of sharing each others laughter, joy and victories and having others step up to help you carry your sorrows when they come. There is a scripture which I cannot find about sharing sorrow cuts it in half and sharing joy doubles that joy. We can only have this when we are around the Body to be able to do that sharing.
It is not that God sits there shaking His finger at those who choose not to meet. It is that He is grieved because He sees how much you are missing that could make your life so much more full, so much less burdensome. When you aren’t fellowshipping Satan basically has your ear and can lay anything on you he would like to. There is no voice of reason to counter balance that voice of condemnation. There is no sanity of sound Body balance to straighten things out for you and give you HOPE. There is no brother or sister saying “I can relate, I went through that myself and this is what our Lord did for me….”
No, this isn’t just living in a mountain meadow surrounded by all God’s beauty. This is warfare AND we can be more than conquerors. We can, but we need to remember to gather with the Body. Our very worship and praise is an integral part of bringing down that stronghold. The question remains, do we want to walk crippled and half able or upright and in VICTORY?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Making Time and Taking Time

Making Time and Taking Time

Have you had a time when you weren’t working or were between jobs with a little more time than usual? And then realized that maybe you missed the most important thing you could be doing during that time? I have been there. In retrospect the most important thing I could have done was to spend time in the Word and with my Lord Jesus. I didn’t. I know there is no condemnation to those in Christ who walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.  I am reflecting back on that time so that next time I will have learned what really matters. Here is what was on my heart back then:
Prayer: Father, I need You and I want to really desire to press in spending quality time with You; undistracted, in Your presence.  I am not such a blessing to You lately. Please help me? Please help us in the church to be where You want us – SOON, Lord Jesus. Forgive me for not using my recent jobless time to get closer to You. Thank you for the time you do give me each and every day – help me to choose wisely! AMEN

Strive not, daughter. Be at peace before Me. I have heard your cries. I Am working. Let your focus be Jesus. Timing is the key. My timing is perfect. SELAH.

Prayer: It’s July, oh, Father where are the months going and the years?  I thank you for who You are and that we are Your people and You’re our God. Help is to choose, moment by moment to draw closer to You!!
In Ephesians 6:18 we are encouraged to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Our Lord is present and we don’t need an appointment or to leave a voice mail hoping He will get back to us later. He is there. He is with us. He is ready, willing and able to talk to us and to listen.

In 2 Corinthians 1:11 speaks of prayer again saying, in part ”Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” (NIV)
Prayer is talking to and listening to God, simple and straight forward but we do need to take time and make time to do that often.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. (NIV)

In Philippians we are told of deliverance. How many of us have circumstances today in which we could use a bit of help or deliverance? Prayer to the Lord works. I know sometimes it seems like I think of many ideas and solutions and then remember that I should pray about any issue that concerns me.

In Revelation 5:8 we are given another picture of prayer: Revelation 5:8

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (NIV)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, it is incredible that You always listen and answer our prayers. Sometimes it is yes, sometimes no and sometimes in your perfect timing but you always answer. Thank you for your patience and for teaching us even through our blunders. We praise Your incredible name, Jesus.  AMEN