Have you ever wanted to know God? I mean, really KNOW Him? If you do, it will take a lot of time. Knowing God is much more than a simple hike in the mountains, soaking in a sunset, or running in the rain. All those things are romantic, emotional, and refreshing. But there is so much more to it, isn’t there.
If you want to strengthen your faith, a formula exists. It has been proven over much time and by the millions. You gain faith by READING the BIBLE. Yes, reading it a lot!
Many people KNOW a ton about Harry Potter, the Twilight series, even Star Wars or Jaws. I’ve “put in my time” with the Rocky movies and can talk about him with the best of them.
When it comes to IDENTIFYING with CHRIST, we must absorb and then practice. Study – to SHOW yourself approved and then realize that you were created to do great things for the cause of Jesus.
Ummm…. it LOOKS like something. A changed life lives it’s values OUT LOUD. I challenge you to allow God to change YOU!
“One of the marks of our modern time is the fact that many are guilty of merely “nibbling” at the truth of the Christian gospel. If the cross of Jesus Christ means what it should to us and we know that we must carry it and die on it and then rise and live above it, we will have a constant desire to advance and gain spiritual ground.”
On Tuesday we will spend a few days in Texas. My step-mom, Phyllis passed away a week ago and we are going to her memorial service.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the temp where I live has been in the very low 70’s for weeks! There, it will be over 100 each day — that’s CRAZY HEAT! We will be right down the road from the main Ft. Hood entrance, though. That leads me to thank once again the men and women in uniform that have served so wonderfully for our freedom. I hope to see some of you and thank you!
Honor is empowering inspiring. There are people in my life who I often take for granted. If you ask me straight up, I would be quick to tell you how much I appreciate not only what these ones I love DO, but WHO THEY ARE. Unfortunately, I get caught up in my own little world way too often.
My wife, Ginger, is just one of these people. She is my best friend and confidant. In fact, she OFTEN will encourage me with scripture, words, wisdom, and honor.
I will miss her this weekend. She is once more spreading her wings in ministry. It seems that not only being a singer-song writer is natural, but so is speaking. She will be the featured guest speaker — 3 messages — at a retreat at Lake Tahoe. Under that beautiful backdrop — and disconnection from technology — God will challenge nearly 100 women.
So, THANK YOU, Ginger for being MY inspiration! Today, I would like to honor YOU! I am praying for changed lives and stories of spiritual victories as a result of your inspiration.
Coffee, Facebook, Twitter, Picture Sharing, Wall Posting … they are all about one main thing — CONNECTION. Just this past week I have heard from classmates, relatives, young people I have mentored, and even my mom.
As a Christ Follower, whenever I read about Jesus who WAS the great teacher (and the one I choose to direct my life) actually went out of His way — often to make these “connections”.
I would have loved to read his Tweets or Status Updates:
“Have a meal with me … “
“Feed my lambs … “
“Just told the guys to throw the net on the other side — we’re gonna have a lot of fish tonight!”
“On my way to raise a dear friend from the dead …”
“I love you, even though you haven’t realized it yet.”
“Father, forgive them …”
You may want to read some of these bible-time updates yourself. You could start with the Gospel of John, it’s a great read.
Wow! Love this from “The Message” version of the Bible.
It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God
19-21I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
22-24God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.
25-27God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.
28-30When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.
31-33Why? Because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
O Lord, I will honor and praise your name,
for you are my God.
You do such wonderful things!
You planned them long ago,
and now you have accomplished them.Isaiah 25:1 (NLT)
The joys, sorrow, desperation, satisfaction, excitement, or phase in life we find ourselves in my be a surprise to us, but these are not a surprise to God. No matter the situation, we must learn on a continuing basis to allow our Heavenly Father permission to guide us through the deep waters of our journey.
It works something like this:
God implements the plan promise
We are humbled and respond by humbly shining light, giving glory, to Him.
I just put this in a nice easy package, right? But with God, we should never do that. It all comes down to the TIMING of the ONE who created TIME ETERNAL. And that’s not you or me.
The powerful verse here in Isaiah 25 is that God DOES have the last word — HE ACCOMPLISHES … It’s not our strength or perhaps even our battle, it comes down to OBEDIENCE and FAITH.
Remember the first Shrek movie? The donkey says the famous line, “Pick Me! Pick Me! Pick Me!” hilarious and yet it shows a sense of passion.
I’m sure it was the same way when King David in the Bible was chosen. His brothers were surely thinking, if not expressing the same kind of passion. If chosen — things would be different forever for any one of the that would be selected by Samuel the prophet to replace Saul.
When you look at Isaiah 6, it is a little different. As you know, the previous chapters laid out a vivid picture that was not easy for one trusting God to gaze upon. The need was great, if not incomprehensible. King Uzziah died, the corruptible and leprous, and a new day was now at hand.
Looking upward, Isaiah knew his request would be timely:
Isaiah 6:5 Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”
Some lessons from prayer time and meditation:
My words can be sinful
My words can hurt God
My words can hurt others
My words can mirror or echo my friends who disappoint God
After Isaiah had allowed God to purge this sin from him, he cried out, “GOD — PICK ME!”
And God not only PICKED him, but SENT him to GO and TELL others a holiness they had thus far ignored.
Today in Isaiah 5, the prophet is calling people out in the form of a song. It begins innocently enough, but quickly takes a turn. A turn of truth. In our world, nation, cities, and even in our families we could actually join along in some of the verses found there.
These are sickened words of the reality of the times. Many have rejected the truths they know through learning God’s Word.
Bottom line to this chapter? JUSTICE. God WILL get the last word.
Other places in the Bible mention that God is JUST — AND — FAITHFUL to forgive us and help us to REALLY LIVE. We can find our way – path – to start with at least, by gazing intently at His purity and holiness.
Early this morning, just bed before I woke up there was a stirring in my spirit in the form of a dream. You have to realize that I rarely remember my dreams. But this one, I believe could be a result of this 21 Day journey that is upon us.
The dream was pretty brief – just a glimpse, really. The venue – our church, Central Assembly Church. Simply put, many people were gathered together around the front together. Music was playing quietly in the background while many people were lost in expressive worship. In this dream I can note three things they were doing.
Third, “Trying” to sing, but overwhelmed by the presence of God.
In reading Isaiah 4 this morning – it all made even more sense to me.
Then the Lord will provide shade for Mount Zion (God’s chosen people)
and all who assemble there.
He will provide a canopy of cloud during the day
and smoke and flaming fire at night,
covering the glorious land. Isaiah 4:5 (NLT)
Those distracted people knew what the cloud and fire meant. That’s the way they started their REAL FREEDOM from slavery way back when Moses led them out of Egypt.
Do you something to share about your fasting and prayer journey? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
As I am praying today, I am looking at things I trust that should be shaken and/or removed from my life. I am going to take some time with this. I know this can become highly personal, so I will not be specific in this public forum. It’s kind of like another “Let Go and Let God” time for me.
In Isaiah 3, it starts out with a promise. Everything Israel had learned and come to trust would be taken removed. This was a big deal. It is “Job-like” — the Job in the Bible. But there is a HUGE difference. With Job, he was being TESTED and was BLAMELESS before God.
With the Israel people? They were being SHAKEN! And if you go down the list of what they were “trusting in” it seems horrendous to us. Some versions say EVERYTHING that SUPPLIES and SUSTAINS. In fact we would NEVER become that way, right?
Every bit of bread
Every drop of water,
All their heroes
All their soldiers
All their judges
All their prophets
Let’s think about each one of these things in our lives that COMPETE with God. Wouldn’t it be better to SURRENDER them than to have them REMOVED? An act of surrender is an act of the HEART.
When it comes to seeking the Lord, what do YOU do? I am in that season right now. I need wisdom, understanding, direction, and inspiration. Actually, I am calling all of our church to do just that, too.
We will begin with a 21 day fast. A time of sincere “setting-aside-a-time-and-place” to all God to speak in to our lives. We need to hear our loving Father through His Scripture and through the Holy Spirit.
Right now I just want to change to be more like Christ, to see new things, to embrace those precious people He created to work beside me. His WORKMANSHIP. Tell me, if you had a time that was a springboard to something spiritually new … what was it for you? Share you story in the comments, ok?
It’s kind of interesting to me… Many people are saying things like “I would not spend money for an iPad because …” and then they name one thing. But, what if you added up all those “one things” together? The value increases, doesn’t it?
So what wouldn’t YOU use an iPad for?
To read a book
To watch a video
To surf a website
To play scrabble
To drive a car in a game
To edit a document
To present something in “Keynote”
To read the Bible
To edit my Netflix Instant Que (and then watch something)
To show someone a photo — or my whole collection
To listen to a Podcast — or watch a video Podcast
Got something to add?
When you add all these things together… it may just be pretty useful, right? Am “I” missing something? Oh, yeah, I’m missing my iPad with 3g — it can’t get here soon enough for me!! 😉
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.
I have been reading in the Old Testament of Exodus and Leviticus. One word that keeps popping out of the text is the word “prepare“. It is amazing not only how detailed the preparation was to get everything right, but the consequences of not taking this type of worship seriously. I’m absolutely convinced that during those first days and years of temple-worship experiences were entirely inspirational as people were actually following IN DETAIL what God had asked them to carry out. Unfortunately humanity began to ignore — take for granted — became bored — and actually lost the passion of preparation.
John the Baptist also did this: He prepared the way for Jesus — a way to live in God’s favor. THAT kind of favor is a a not a preparation of works, but of mercy! Now each day we can PREPARE for and follow through in worship to this King of Kings and Lord of Lords! So what are you waiting for?
I really have to agree with Greg Atkinson when he posted that dynamics can really be a HUGE factor in leading worship. You should read his post, it’s right on. But I think the big thing for me is to watch how simple and DYNAMIC this video is that he posted by Phil Collins. I like it so much that I wanted to post it below.
I love the way Bruce writes. It always challenges me, makes me think, and points me toward the awesome work of God in my life. This book will be part of a group Bible study in the near future for our church, that’s for sure! Check it out by clicking here.
His New York Times phenomenon The Prayer of Jabez changed how millions pray. Now Bruce Wilkinson wants to change what they do next.
Anyone can do a good deed, but some good works can only happen by a direct intervention from God. Around the world these acts are called miracles—not that even religious people expect to see one any time soon. But what would happen if millions of ordinary people walked out each morning expecting God to deliver a miracle through them to a person in need? You Were Born for This starts with the dramatic premise that everyone at all times is in need of a miracle, and that God is ready to meet those needs supernaturally through ordinary people who are willing to learn how Heaven works.
In the straightforward, story-driven, highly motivating style for which he is known, Wilkinson describes how anyone can help others experience miracles in such universally significant arenas of life as finances, practical help, relationships, purpose, and spiritual growth.
You Were Born for This will change how readers see their world, and what they expect God can do through them to meet real needs. They will master seven simple tools of service, and come to say with confidence, “I want to deliver a supernatural gift from God to someone in need today—and now I know how!”
Here is another fantastic book by Randy Alcorn. It is inspiring, thorough, and enlightening. This is an excellent self-teaching tool or a self-discovery tool depending on your view of God.
Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.
In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God–Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?
These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.
In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.
Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.
As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.
On July 24, 2008, Greg Laurie who is the Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside, California lost his first-born son to a tragic car accident. This devastating pain still lives throughout his family.
I was THERE!! Well, not actually present with the Astronauts of Apollo 11, but as a 10-year-old boy the memories are very vivid. I had cereal box punch-outs of the lunar module (LEM) and knew exactly what would happen next. Walter Cronkite was my hero as he explained every detail in advance.
But when the live TV of 1969 hit the airwaves, I was hooked. And I watched so attentively that I’m not sure I even ate a meal that day.
I remember that everyone in my house went to bed except my dad and me. As Neil Armstrong was preparing to take that first “small step” I looked back at my dad and he had fallen asleep — Ha! I watched continuously until they had made their walk, and until the TV stations all went off the air. Too bad I didn’t have a blog back then!!