Consecration by Jonathan Edwards

jonathan edwardsI claim no right to myself—no right to this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither do I have any right to this body or its members—no right to this tongue, to these hands, feet, ears, or eyes.

I have given myself clear away and not retained anything of my own. I have been to God this morning and told Him I have given myself wholly to Him. I have given every power, so that for the future I claim no right to myself in any respect. I have expressly promised Him, for by His grace I will not fail. I take Him as my whole portion and felicity, looking upon nothing else as any part of my happiness. His law is the constant rule of my obedience.

I will fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil to the end of my life. I will adhere to the faith of the Gospel, however hazardous and difficult the profession and practice of it may be.

I receive the blessed Spirit as my Teacher, Sanctifier, and only Comforter, and cherish all admonitions to enlighten, purify, confirm, comfort, and assist me. This I have done.

I pray God, for the sake of others, to look upon this as a self-dedication, and receive me as His own. Henceforth, I am not to act in any respect as my own. I shall act as my own if I ever make use of any of my powers to do anything that is not to the glory of God, or to fail to make the glorifying of Him my whole and entire business.

If I murmur in the least at afflictions; if I am in any way uncharitable; if I revenge my own case; if I do anything purely to please myself, or omit anything because it is a great denial; if I trust to myself; if I take any praise for any good which Christ does by me; or if I am in any way proud, I shall act as my own and not God’s. I purpose to be absolutely His.

—Jonathan Edwards

Hostile

Hostile is the focus in my prayer and Bible study time today. As I begin reading in Isaiah, it is obvious that things — actually PEOPLE– just aren’t right with God. And we know the challenge that Isaiah has before him, don’t we? Here are my “first thoughts” in bullet point form.

First, recognize the spiritual destruction all around you.
Second, be sure you understand your own spiritual condition, checking yours against the complacency and corruption.
Third, examine the rewards of choosing God over idols, complacency, culture that is contrary to His teachings, selfishness, and just plain pride.
Fourth, get ready to speak forth the Word of the Lord with confidence and boldness.

Ok, let’s START there. It IS only day ONE of this prayer season, after all!!

Crying Out

We may walk by them all the time. People that have a blank expression and are not communicating their hurts and pains. When we read about the “Good Samaritan” in the Bible, the obvious moral of the story is to help others when they are in need. And to notice them. And to invest in them. And to come back and check on them later. Not many actually cry out or sound like they need you — but they do. They are all around you! It may surprise you who they are — but look into their eyes — just slow down a little and use your God-given gifts to minister the LOVE of JESUS. Do it TODAY.

2008 Thanksgiving Year of the “Social”

I have to agree with a lot of the favorite tech things that Greg Atkinson wrote about on his blog post. In 2008 there are three services in particular that bounced to the top for me.

Facebook

Twitter

Ustream.tv

The reason is this — making the connection — with a LOT of other people I haven’t talked to or communicated with in a long time. And you know what? I still like them!! 😉

God created us to love Him and to love others. One small way to BEGIN to love someone is to connect, interact, communicate, pray, and have conversations. In MY conversations, I want to bring hope and inspiration and to be transparent.

But when it’s all said and done

Notes about Worry

Here’s a very brief excerpt of the message notes from the September 21, 2008 message on WORRY:

Perhaps they will be a help to you or a friend you have. Remember, ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE with God!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

…Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Matthew 6:25

STOP THE STRANGLE-HOLD OF WORRY

1)    I WILL DO WHAT GOD ASKS ME TO DO.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

•    Think on the right things.
•    Do what is wise.

2)    I WILL GIVE GOD WHAT I CANNOT DO.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

3)    NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, I WILL TRUST GOD.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself… Matthew 6:33-34

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Enough Said!

When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (NLT)

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (ESV)

When good people run things, everyone is glad, but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.
Proverbs 29:2 (MSG)

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (NKJV)

When the [uncompromisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh.
Proverbs 29:2 (AMP)

Dual Storms Threaten United States

August 29, 2008.

Two storms are threatening the US. An emergency condition has been declared in Louisanna and everyone is thinking about the Katrina. Katrina devastated New Orleans, in fact it will NEVER be the same.

Hurricane Gustav. Tropical storm Hannah. And today I heard that if they take certain paths gas prices could soar to $5.00 per gallon in just days!

Threatening weather, threats in our safety, threats to our economy, fears in our relationships. Where do we find hope in all this? I have learned that the truths of the Bible and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can lead to an inner strength that others may not understand.

In a storm, you don’t just survive until tomorrow or wait until another day passes. The critical times may be minute-by-minute or one may need strength NOW! Here’s a passage of scripture that ALWAYS encourages me … perhaps another might draw strength from it right NOW as well.

Mark 4:38-41 — 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?” — ESV

Please pray for those in harms way while these storms rage on. And pray for people’s hearts once again to be stirred to compassion if needed in the aftermath of possible devastation.

What are You Rebuilding?

I think we all have our “to do” lists. Repairing stuff is either on the top of our agenda or pushed down another notch for another day. It was the same for the people of Nehemiah’s day.

And somehow we never know how it got this bad. BUT THERE COMES A DAY when enough is enough. For Nehemiah, it was the wall that surrounded the city of Jeresalem. He shook up his friends, family, and even the government. The words are recorded like this:

Nehemiah 2:17-18 (The Message — MSG) Then I gave them my report: “Face it: we’re in a bad way here. Jerusalem is a wreck; its gates are burned up. Come—let’s build the wall of Jerusalem and not live with this disgrace any longer.” I told them how God was supporting me and how the king was backing me up.

They said, “We’re with you. Let’s get started.” They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.

Challenge: Open up YOUR eyes and LOOK around. That’s the first step for all of us, I’m sure of it.

Ordinary Wednesday?

Wednesday is sometimes called “hump day”. It’s an ordinary hum-drum day in the middle of the week that seems long. If we can get through it then the rest of the week is easy, or so goes the thinking.

If I make this an “ordinary” day, nothing will change in my world. This may seem pretty nice to some people, after all, consistency is not always bad.

But I am here to make a difference. God has a calling and plan for my life. That plan is to change the world for His glory. When I stop and think about THAT, then I don’t want today to be ordinary.

My prayer today?

God, show my YOUR way and will for me to somehow have people look in YOUR direction. My eyes and mind are open to what YOU want. I give you PERMISSION to use me as an instrument for YOUR purposes.

Yosemite Fires Bring Me a Reminder

This AP story shows a what is happening near Yosemite National Park. That park is just a few hours from where we live. In fact, we will actually be there next week on vacation.

We love the beauty of God’s creation. We will be doing some 4-wheeling, reading, watching sunsets, and once again we will visit Lake Eleanor — a hidden and pristine lake treasure.

Many years ago, we had a guest Revival Speaker come to our church. Leonard Ravenhill was a brash, straight-shooting, no-way-out kind of preacher. He scared us a little. But the fear was kind of authentic because of what his core message communicated.

The message was pretty simple. In comparison with the Holiness of God — how are we living out our faith? Is it sincere and active and honoring the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY?

Woah, it sure had us praying for a true move of God to be known in our individual lives.

Now for the fire reminder: Leonard Ravenhill was asked to provide promotional materials so we could get more of the public to respond to his visit. You know, we just wanted to advertise the event.

His response? “YOU NEVER HAVE TO ADVERTISE A FIRE!”

And it’s true, fire attracts attention. The attention goes directly to the source of the flames, to the heat and to the available fuel – in this case, believers willing to “burn” in order to keep God’s evidence in clear view.

What are You the King of?

King of the Remote

We all want to be first. We want to be king of something. And for some people, unfortunately, that’s ALL that MATTERS.

What’s incredible with that is it is never enough no matter the quantity or even the visibility of power that one may become.

We see it if we reference the life of Solomon in the Bible. It becomes very clear what ended up being THE IMPORTANT summary of his life (See Ecclesiastes 12:13).

Question: What are you pouring your life into right now? What is your PASSION — right now? Are you making a difference? Are you leaving a legacy?

How are your kids, wife, other relationships doing?

And where does God fit in?

These questions matter. And please remember that God has a wonderful plan and purpose for your life. He loves you and made you to know Him.

Oh, another scripture? Jeremiah 29:11 … it’s one of my favorites!

King of the Remote

July 4 — Fireworks — and Jesus!

It’s the 4th of July weekend here in the USA. It represents FREEDOM.

I love that word, FREEDOM. And I have experienced it first-hand. I have enjoyed this freedom in my work, with my family, on holidays, and in my spiritual walk as well. I have learned a lot about what the term means.fireworks in dc

When I think about the founders of this nation, there are many examples where God, faith, and an aspiration live the values of God’s Word was evident. They left us many important lessons that involved listening to each other, but not compromising that moral compass that led them to stop and worship their creator.

The scriptures state that the cornerstone or foundation of the Christian faith is Jesus Christ. Jesus was not a beaten-down-and-defeated-just-a-good-teacher figure in history. Like the buildings all over Washington DC are inscribed with Biblical passages and faith-inspired messages, God wrote His laws on the tablets of our hearts.

I love celebrating. I love FIREWORKS. I love the USA. And most of all, I love JESUS! And there will be that day that I anticipate so often, when He brings a light show that will blast us all into eternity!

For when the Son of Man returns, you will know it beyond all doubt. It will be as evident as the lightning that flashes across the sky. Luke 17:24

Making a Difference

Plan ChangeWe all want to change things from time-to-time.

Here is a list that comes to my mind and what I’m praying about.

  • Economy
  • Broken Marriages
  • Financial Freedom for Families
  • Disconnected Fathers
  • Moms who Feel Worthless
  • People with Complacency as a Way of Life
  • My Prayer Life
  • Phone Calls to Friends
  • Turning Pessimism to Optimism

Some of these depend on MY choices and are in my direct control. Other items on this list will take a miracle from God Himself.

ALL of them certainly will be easier if I rely on the Holy Spirit to lead, remind, and renew my strength. Thank you, Father, for loving me and using me to make a difference for such a time as THIS!

“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.” Psalm 39:4-5 NLT

Easter is AMAZING!

On Sunday, I will be speaking on the “AMAZING!” life of Jesus Christ. You can’t deny it. History reveals it and the Bible unwraps it even more thoroughly.

Easter_2008_webThe principles, morals, stories, and truths of God’s Word have changed my life. It’s more than positive thinking, adopting a philosophy or learning “religious” terms. When you get really practical and build a true relationship with Jesus, it MUST change you. So now, when I help the poor in a Third-World nation or when I pray for a crying girl on public transit, it makes a lot of sense.

Jesus set the example to LIVE out the life He called into. One that is all about knowing God and making Him known. Meditation doesn’t cut it, being “nice” isn’t enough, and as admirable as social work is — it is nothing — unless you introduce the love that was authored God.

So we celebrate Easter this weekend, and actually take the underlying message of Easter with us daily.

Matthew 12:23 “The crowd was AMAZED. ‘Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?’ . . .

Iron, Friendship, Caring, and Comfort in 2008

sharpenSo, because we’re brothers in the Lord, do something for me. Give me some comfort because of Christ. Philemon 1:20 (GW)

Here is Paul. He has a great friend, Onesimus. And he misses him greatly.

Have you ever had or needed a friend so close that you could actually be yourself? One that KNOWS YOU. One that CARES much about what you are going through. And you care about them, too, right?

2008. No matter what you are going through right now, no matter what you will find yourself in the future — you should never neglect a close friend. We tend to withdraw and to become this “automatic-garage-door” society. We drive in and shut the door. Then we become an island.

But, we are ripping ourselves off when we do that. God created us to be a blessing to Him AND to others. Just like we need a close friend, they need us.

In the coming year, I plan on facilitating more relationships. I want closer friends. And like Paul, I know they can comfort me, refresh me, and keep me all the more alive.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us that we actually sharpen other by our interaction.

Answer for Feeling Down or Depressed

Ps 5:11 But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.
AMP

Shifting your focus or point of view can be truly life-altering. What if each time we had a crisis, a challenge, or chaos in our lives we would switch our perspective.

Those with faith in God understand what this can mean. Instead of dread or despair, when you think about shelter and/or defense and safety — instead of betrayal we once again trust God — there is an unbelievable release! Now instead of depression our thoughts are alert and optimistic. And you know what??? I totally like the feeling of looking UP instead becoming bogged down by the cares of each day.

Question: Where has your focus been the past 7 days? I give you permission to turn your eyes upward!