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Archive for the tag “Humble”

Let Us Pray

Father, Almighty God, Sovereign King of Heaven and Earth, Creator God,

In You we do trust and believe. Forgive us for the sins that breaks our fellowship with you. For the plight of the poor that we have ignored; for the ones who are enslaved and have done nothing to free them; for the lives we have taken in our ignorance that You have fearfully and wonderfully made them in their mother’s womb; for the blood we have shed because of our hatred of those different from ourselves. There are so many sins against us that they are too numerous to mention; however, You know every one of them. You know our hearts, Lord. We do what’s evil in Your sight. Forgive us Lord God; help us, heal us, change us. Remove these sins from our hearts by the power of the blood of Jesus.

I read just this week of Jim Cymbala’s vision for his church – a church known for its prayer meetings. In his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, he made note of Charles Spurgeon’s declaration about the church. “The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings… If God be near a church, it must pray. And if he be not there, one of the first tokens of his absence will be a slothfulness in prayer.”

Father, let that not be true today of Your people who gather before You. Let us remember that we are to be a praying church. Nothing will change unless we bring it before You. Let us get right before You and stand on Your promises that You hear us when we pray. Let us once again be humbled in Your presence. Remind us of Your greatness. Let us remember once again that You have all the answers if we would just seek You with all our hearts.

The Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 3 we have been rooted and established in love and need to grasp the depth, the width, the height of Your love for us. Not because of us, because we are not worthy; but because of You – there is no being greater; no love stronger or more secure. It’s who You are.

Father, help us to grasp it and internalize it individually. We can only love because of You. You first loved us. You first called to us and drew us near. This love did not originate with us first. We love only ourselves. But by Your grace and mercy, You called out to us. Some of us responded, some of us need more convincing. Father, don’t let up – keep calling us to the fullest relationship we can have with You here on earth.

Change our hearts and change our minds, Lord Jesus. You know what is eating at us and how worried we are. Let us remember You are Sovereign over all. Nothing is impossible for You. Our biggest worry is nothing in Your sight; but because it worries us, You care to intervene on our behalf. Thank you, Lord. We bring that worry to You right now. We ask that You take it from us as we release it to You. Let Your will be done on earth as it’s done in heaven. It’s in Your perfect time and help us to wait patiently for the answer. Let us wait like it’s said in Isaiah 40:31 with hope and renewed strength. Let us soar like the eagles.

It has been said of eagles that they go to the high peaks and wait for the change in the wind; once the wind changes, the eagles take a leap of faith off the edge and soar to greater heights with the wind beneath their wings. We are told in Scripture that the Holy Spirit is like the wind. Our waiting should be like that eagle waiting on the edge – waiting to take the leap of faith, for the Holy Spirit to lift us up to greater heights. Again, this is not because of us; but because we are called for a purpose far greater than we can imagine.

Lord Jesus, we gather together at Your feet; waiting on Your instructions for this time and place. We are here because You have placed us here. But once we hear, please help us do what You ask when You ask it. Let us be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives. Let us not miss the opportunities to reach our communities for the love of Jesus. Let us not miss what You are doing around us. Let us be sensitive again to the Holy Spirit’s quietness. Jesus, we need You desperately to intervene in our lives – not only for our sake, but also for those around us. Let our testimony of all that You have done be made known so that You may receive all the glory.

Come Lord Jesus, come. Shake us awake. Fill us again. Give us a hunger and thirst for Your Word and for You personally to be made known to us again. Lord Jesus, hear these prayers and bring the greatness of Your name to this earth again. Thank You for all You are going to do once again in us and through us – for Your glory.

For all this we pray, in Your precious and holy name – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:14b-15

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The Blue Dot

Has your mind ever been blown about the creativity of God? Have you witnessed something so marvelous that it can only be from God? I get those moments every now and then. When I contemplate how my body works, I am just blown away by the complexity and the creativity of it all. There is no way under my limited abilities to comprehend that I can come from any other way but by the way of a miracle of God. From the millions of sperm that swam in the ocean of my mother’s womb, one little sperm found the one place in the egg that can be fertilized and grew to become me. From a tiny heartbeat that began in the womb, God gave me life. I was actually God’s secret until He decided to let my Mom know about me. He decided everything about me before I was formed. He had me in mind from the very beginning. You too! We are all just the miraculous creation from God!

Then when I contemplate life in general, how did we end up here on this earth? I was flipping channels one Sunday night many months ago; I came across the science program Cosmos. I am not that much into science, but I stopped to listen to what the speaker was saying. There was a picture on the screen of the earth in all its glory from space. The speaker was saying that the space craft that was launched a few years ago was exiting our galaxy turned the camera to get a last glimpse of earth. The picture was a mass of dots of light across the screen. However, there was one blue dot in the mass of white dots. Earth is the blue dot. When I contemplate that we are living on that one blue dot in the mass of white dots, how can that be? How can we have just one place in the entire universe that supports our lives? It’s impossible to think of the vastness that is not inhabitable. Yet, God made this place possible! He had us in mind when He designed creation. It’s just one of His miracles so that we could recognize His glory!

When I contemplate my life and its complexities, I am quick to believe in a small God. The things that go on in my little world are too big for my small god. I have the wrong view. I need a picture of the blue dot to remind me nothing is impossible for God. God spoke and it came to be. The Spirit moved upon the waters – the heavens were separated. Darkness was separated by His spoken word of light. God speaks and creates something out of nothing! The blue dot from His vantage point amazes me. How does the God of the universe, who created all that we see, look down on this little dot and find me here in my little space on this little dot? How do we stay in this orbit, hurling around a sun without being flung into the nothingness of space? Only through God’s presence!

I sit here in amazement considering these things. My perspective is all wrong. My view of God is way too small. The word says that He knows the very hairs on my head. The Word says that He loves me and you with a depth that we cannot imagine. He put all this into place so that we could glorify Him. The One who created everything wants us to glorify Him. How in the world can we do anything that would bring Him glory? It’s impossible in our own effort. But with Him, everything is possible. When my viewpoint gets hindered by my smallness, I need to consider God’s bigness. The blue dot is enough to remind me that there is more than I see in my every day world. God’s perspective is much bigger. Once we get the right perspective, nothing can stop us from glorifying God!

For this perspective, I am very thankful today!

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. Genesis 1:31-2:1

Restless

Have you ever been restless – wanting more out of life than you currently have? There’s got to be more than this, right? More than the mundane day to day stuff; more than living life for the weekends. I mean really! God tells us He made us for a purpose. Scripture tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that He designed us for good works which He prepared beforehand (my paraphrase). All throughout Scripture, God uses people in amazing ways. He took average, ordinary people and used them for His glory! Did it all stop in biblical times? Or is God still using people in amazing ways today?

The prophets were called in the midst of the ordinary tasks to go and do what God called them to. We find David tending sheep. We find Samuel sleeping. Gideon was threshing wheat. Moses was wandering around in the desert when a burning bush stopped him in his tracks. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishing. Paul was on his way to Damascus – albeit he was going to persecute the Christians when he arrived. But in the midst of the ordinary, God used the people who He placed in different times for different reasons. God knew the times and the places. He knew the people He would use for great things. Could today be any different? Scripture tells me God never changes. He is still at work; working toward the day of Jesus’ return. He still wants to use people to do His work to get the place and people ready for the predestined time. He is the only one who knows the time that is set.

Just like Esther, we are all born for such a time as this. We all have our place, our work that God sets before us. We may not know the work yet. We maybe in the preparation phase. Joseph had a dream. Between the dream and the fulfillment was his preparation time. He had no clue where God was going to take him to fulfill the dream. The pit, the slavery, the prison, the removal of all the things he knew brought about a greater purpose than he could have ever imagined. God may leave us in a difficult place so that He can use that difficulty for something greater. The trouble with difficulty is that we want to get out of it quickly. Joseph endured and apparently without complaining about his circumstances – at least it’s not recorded for us.

All the people God used were in a place of openness to Him and willingness to be used. They were humbled in His presence. I suppose that’s what He is looking for today. If we are not seeing God working through us (okay me), then we need to look into our hearts and find the reason why we are not useful yet. Could it be pride and arrogance? Could there be wrong motivations? If God intends to use us in this time and place, then we need to submit to His purpose; let Him reveal in His time and in His way. God is into the details; we just have to keep our heads in the game! Are you restless where God has you too? Seek first God. Wait for His timing and His ways– God is going to do some amazing things and if He is willing, He will make us able to do whatever it is for His glory and not ours! He’s done it in the past; why not now? Why not us?

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
Psalm 63:1-3 (NLT)

Table Turner

How did it go so wrong? The week started out with a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. People were lined up along the road shouting praise – shouting save us (Hosanna). In order for Jesus to save them, He had to die for them. Their expectations were different from God’s way. God says His ways are higher than ours. On the way into the city, Jesus saw the walls of the city and knew the walls would not protect the people from the destruction that was coming. Jesus wept for the people who were inside those walls. The people were shouting praises with their mouths but their hearts were not turned toward Him. What they wanted was a physical savior and a physical protector. They wanted a king. But they had no idea that Jesus was (is) The Savior; He was (is) The Protector; He was (is) the King of Kings.

The week started with praise but ended in crucifixion. Jesus didn’t meet the expectations of the people. He wasn’t there to save them from the government. He didn’t come to make their lives better physically. Yes, they were oppressed. But it was not God’s way. He didn’t take the people out of their circumstances. He walked with them through it. Jesus walked along roads encountering many along the way. Some recognized Jesus and asked for what they needed. Many didn’t know what they needed, but Jesus did. He looked into their hearts and gave them exactly what they needed – grace. In the end, Jesus knew what people need.

The week had a few last teachings. The fig tree was not producing fruit. The money changers were affecting worship and prayers. Jesus came to shake things up. He turned the tables on the religious people. The people’s hearts were not turned over to God. So Jesus turned the tables on them. The fig tree was cursed because there was no fruit. The disciples’ feet needed washing and no one was willing to do it. Jesus bent low to teach the disciples this is what it means to follow me. Bend low and I will raise you up. Jesus bent low once more on a deadly cross so that ultimately we would be lifted up. The cross was the ultimate table turner. Those who turn their hearts toward Jesus are no longer lost in sin, but given a new life through Jesus’ death. No, it’s not our way. We would never have chosen a cross to save someone.

Did the week really go wrong or did it really go right? Jesus knew when He walked into the city that He would be walking out of it to die a gruesome death for everyone who shouted praise and for those who shouted to crucify Him. He also washed the feet of Judas, the one who betrayed Him. God’s ways are not our ways for sure. It’s a good thing too. I needed to be saved. I needed the body broken and bruised. I needed the blood spilled because I too am a sinner who shouts praise one minute and crucifies my brothers and sisters the next. As I contemplate all Jesus did during His last week, I want to walk differently. I want to bend low. And I want the tables turned so that my heart is truly changed for good.

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:24-37

Humility

“If my people will humble themselves” – this phrase is still bouncing off the walls of my mind and heart. God sent prophets throughout Scripture to warn of possible destruction – the warnings were either heeded and repentance happened or arrogance and pride led to destruction. I continually watch current events and see how God is at work through them. How is the latest news of Russia gaining ground relevant? How is the power of the US relevant? How is the debt of our nation affecting our power? Is the debt of our nation dropping us to our knees? Are we rising up in defiance? Or do we drop lower in humility in the presence of the Sovereign Righteous God? Repentance or rebellion?

I love the Scripture found in Ezekiel 37 about the dry bones being raised into a mighty army. I can see an army rising up to fight not for a mighty nation, but for a mighty God. God breathes life into the dry bones and they come alive. I know this Scripture was prophecy for Israel. But can we look at it in the face of current events? I see preachers throughout this country breathing life through the Holy Spirit into a dying people. In Ezekiel 37:14 says that “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.” Yes, it was for Israel, but I believe we can gather God will do the same for us. The difference will be in our acknowledging God as Sovereign Ruler over our hearts and minds. We are His people and we need to be acting as His people. We are to live differently and be the people He called us to be. Holy. Pure. Our land is desperate for Jesus and Jesus is desperately seeking people ready to be used to glorify God. Holiness and purity. Set apart but still in the world bringing light into that darkness.

The prophets spoke of repentance. They went throughout the land speaking to the people of God in ancient times to remove the idols and turn back to God. It wasn’t beneficial to the prophets; most were killed for their message. Most of the people ignored the warnings and went on with life only to find themselves enslaved or dead. We are living in perilous times. I can see this message is for all of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus. Are we living as we should? I know my heart was convicted about repentance. This nation is desperate for some healing in this land. It starts with us. We have to begin with repentance. We know God. We know Jesus. We know of His love; but we also know of His wrath. He is the God of Love. But He is also holy and will not tolerate sin in His presence. He wants us to stop and drop to our knees and cry out to Him. There is a drought in this land, and it’s a drought of tears. I fail to shed a single tear for those I know who are far from God. My heart is not broken for what breaks His. Shame on me. We should be crying a river of tears. Okay, I should be. Maybe this message is for me alone. God is in the process of something. My spirit has been stirred for a reason.

I know God is at work throughout this world to reconcile all people to Himself. I want to be a part of His work, don’t you? It starts with repentance and prayer to become the people we are meant to be.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:8-9

Hindrance #1

As my usual practice, I sat down to a nice lunch and my internet tuned to one of my favorite pastors. What I thought was going to be a new word about Esther was really an old word on pride. I have been asking God during my devotional time to reveal to me where my heart is deceiving me. It was to my surprise that pride is such an issue currently in my life. I guess the surprise was the surprise. I knew I had many times in the past dealt with pride, but I thought it was in the past. That should have been my first clue. My heart was truly deceiving me. I recognize pride in others – it’s all around me. I see it in the way others boast about their accomplishments. I even have laughed about the fact when it is confronted in others. But really, do I still have issues with it? Oh yeah. One thing the pastor (Mark Driscoll) spoke about was that pride is masked in fear of failure. We lack the effort to try because of our pride issues and not wanting to look bad when we fail. Oh yeah, that’s me.

In the Word, God speaks about how He hates pride. Pride gives glory to me and not to God – hmmm, sounds a lot like idolatry. God says pride is an abomination to Him (Proverbs 16:5 ESV). He also states pride will go before a fall (Proverbs 16:18 ESV). God states that we should be clothed in humility. Humility means we know our place in this world. I am so much more aware of my status in this world after completing my latest book based on my life story. I am nothing without God. I am so blessed to have been taken out of my pit and set upon the Rock of Salvation. God could have left me in that pit of despair. But He didn’t. God looks at my heart and sees the darkness. But God being full of grace and mercy didn’t leave me in my darkness. He brought me out. He bandaged my wounds; healed my heart. He led me away from destruction into His light for His glory, not mine. He is the reason I should have no pride in my heart. I should be clothed in humility.

God is in the process of pruning and purifying me. There’s still so much more work to be done. But I submit to His shears. He has the best in mind for me. God wants us to be submitted to Him, but I have to intentional in my submitting. This isn’t a half-hearted attempt. I’m either all in or all out. It’s up to me to draw near. Here I am Lord!

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-10 (ESV)

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