Tuesday, January 7, 2014

God is faithful and I am His

God is amazing, He really is. It blows me away how He is always the same, never changing. Everything in this world changes, but God remains the same. He is my anchor, the solid Rock upon which truth and life could never exist. He is the wellspring of joy and love from which we drink. He was gracious, is gracious, and always will be gracious. My attitude changes, my interests swing, my passion rises and falls, but God takes no heed. My shortcomings have no effect on his character.

In this last year I have had highs and lows, I have been passionately consumed by the Spirit and at other times felt apathetic and uninspired. I have thrown myself into the study of his Word and at other times felt completely uninterested. But what effect did this have on God? Did He give up on me? Did He abandon me when I lost focus of Him? No!

God is faithful. He is love and out of that love flows grace. His grace has completely saturated every moment of my life. When I have felt like absolutely nothing, He has poured out his grace in a new way just because He is God. Every way I turn, I am blown away by Him, by who He is. He is always there, always faithful, always loving, always gracious.

I have grown to love that feeling of knowing that I have in no way earned the grace I have received. That's the definition of grace: unmerited favor. It's easy in the high times of life to see grace almost as an entitlement because we follow God, but in the messy bits of life it becomes clear that grace is grace and God is God. God owes us nothing, yet give us everything. He remains faithful when we act faithless. He still loves when we have a hard time loving.

It is freakishly late at night and I should be asleep, but I have been lying in bed thinking about this, about God's faithfulness and grace. He blows me away, and I am forever his.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Prophetic Declarations Regarding Toil and the Victim Mentality

I am the hero, in Jesus' name! But I can only be a hero if I understand my territory. My territory is my home, my work and my life. I am hero at Walker Technical Company, in central Allentown, and in my own home. I am hero for my family, for Hannah, for my girls and Kim. I am called and empowered to not just discern the atmospheres around me, but to change those atmospheres in Jesus' name. No atmosphere can stand up against the power of God, the power that calms the storm and heals the wounded heart. Jesus said to the storm, "Peace, be still!" That is my strongest weapon. In Jesus name, I receive the power to say to any storm, any dark atmosphere, "Peace, be still in Jesus' name!" and it will go! But I MUST stay within my territory, my metron. When I reach outside, I find myself feeling lost and inadequate and stressed about problems I am not called to solve. I must keep a pure heart at all times, without mistake. No sin is too small or insignificant. Jesus is making me into perfection, so if I act outside of that I am following someone other than Him. Jesus said to take his yoke upon myself, because his yoke is easy and his burden is light. I must never toil, because to toil is to follow the guidance of the evil one. I don't follow the evil one, I follow Jesus into a life of freedom from burdens, from chains and yokes, from stress and spiritual exhaustion. Thank-You Jesus for your amazing work in me, I love You and am completely yours. Take me and make me more like You every day. Guide me into the fullness of who You have created me to be. I love You and give myself wholeheartedly and completely to You, holding nothing back. You guide and you direct. You alone do I follow, in Jesus' name. Praise you Jesus!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Father Of Lights"

by Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture

Like a flame, love burned in Your eyes,
Driving You to pay the greatest price,
You bought my life, so I could be Your light,
Reflecting You, reflecting love.

Everything good comes from You,
Father of lights,
Your love will always pierce through the darkest night.

Love has a voice,
Love has a name, Jesus, Jesus,
Your love is the light, filling my eyes, Jesus, Jesus.

You wore the weight of death upon your heart,
And Your last breath tore the veil apart,
You made a way, for me to walk in grace,
So I could love You face to face.

Everything good comes from You,
Father of lights,
Your love will always pierce through the darkest night.

Love has a voice,
Love has a name, Jesus, Jesus,
Your love is the light, filling my eyes, Jesus, Jesus.

Love has a voice,
Love has a name, Jesus, Jesus,
Your love is the light, filling my eyes, Jesus, Jesus.

I will never be the same,
Love has called my name,
From the ashes I rise to proclaim,
Your love is undefeated,
Forever You will reign,
Justice has won again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

God's Provision... Wow.

Hannah Joy noticed a nice-looking dresser along the side of the road today. She asked the owner if there was anything wrong with it and was told it was great. So we have a new dresser! But even though I just went over expecting to pick up the dresser, I ended up with a whole lot more!

The family giving away the dresser is moving to the UK in a couple weeks. He has been looking for a job for a long time and an opportunity finally opened up, just on the wrong side of the pond! But his wife is from there, so they are packing up the kids and setting out to restart life there. But there is much that they will not be able to take along, so he took me throughout the house asking if I wanted anything!

He is a mild prepper, so he had a bit of stored food that was not very old. I ended up with some huge cans of beans, pickles, pumpkin, olives and bottled water. He took me to his garage and now I have a jigsaw, another jigsaw-like saw, a hand saw, more sockets and wrenches and a very long extension cord.

He asked if we were needing anything in particular and I told him we needed a 12" bike. He ran out of sight then returned with a little pink and blue bike!

On top of all that, he also gave us a big box of 60 watt light bulbs, dish soap, Pine Sol, kitchen sponges, a DVD player w/ remote, and two child-size camping chairs. Not bad!

While in his basement, I asked if I could pray for him for anything and he admitted that he did not have peace about what they were doing. Before he could move away, I put my arm on his shoulder and prayed in Jesus' name that he would be given peace, that he and his family would be blessed by their move, that Jesus would pour his love out on them in a new way, and that "they would find that their new home is actually their true home." When I said that last line and amen, he choked up and nervously said, "My goodness, you're making me cry or something!"

As I got ready to leave, he told me that he was Catholic, but doesn't really like the church. I told him about Jesus' great love for him and of his worth shown through Jesus' sacrifice. He responded, "Well, some people believe that Jesus loves you regardless of what you've done, but that's just not me." I told him to stop judging himself and instead accept Jesus' judgment of him, that he, Kenny, was worth Jesus' own death on the cross. Then I ended by telling him again how much Jesus loves him and wants to know him personally.

Now I am home praising Jesus for his wonderful, surprise provision for Hannah and me :-). Praise Jesus for his incredible blessings!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Parables of Facebook

Then Jesus said to them...

The kingdom is like a man who posted a status on Facebook. Some who saw it immediately blocked the post and any future posts from him. Others "liked" the status, but when a few negative comments had been posted, they quickly "unliked" it. Still others saw the status and began to write a positive comment, but were distracted by annoying political memes and never got around to finishing it. But some who saw it not only liked it, but also shared it on their own walls so that many more could see and "like" it too.

Anyone who understands Facebook lingo, let him hear!

When you post a status, do you set it to "private" so nobody else can see it? Or do you post it and then comment on some friends' posts so they will be more likely to notice yours! But even those hidden status updates will be known, advertisers will feast off of them.

If you understand Facebook, listen to me!

If you interact and comment on other peoples' posts, they will be more more likely to comment and "like" your posts! For the more you interact with people, the more you will show up on their newsfeeds. But for those of you who do not interact, even what little visibility you have on others' newsfeeds will soon be gone.

And with many Facebook references he spoke to them, as many as could hear. But without a Facebook reference He did not speak to them.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Speaking Truth - Identity, Pt. 4

"If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion useless." James 1.26

Did you know we can deceive our own heart by our words? The truth is that the words we say are exceedingly important. In the wisdom of Proverbs, we read:  "There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health" (Proverbs 12.18). "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit" Proverbs 15.4. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit" Proverbs 18.21. "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles" Proverbs 21.23.

We can with our own tongue speak truth to what is right, or what is wrong. When we speak truth to what is right, we promote healthy lives. But when we speak truth to what is wrong, we can break our spirit and the spirits of those around us. The world we live in is full of lies, and it is our responsibility as Christians to speak truth to what is right.

To those outside of relationship with Jesus, we need to speak truth to the fact that they are special, unique creations by God, who are so loved by Him that He gave his own life for them on the cross. We need to stop speaking truth to what is wrong. What is accomplished by going on and on about how sinful people are? From our pulpits we continually condemn people and groups of people for sin, but we forget that Jesus said, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" John 20.23. Could it be that those people we condemn are actually stuck in their sin because we refuse to speak truth to their forgiveness in Jesus' name? I am convinced that if we would stop condemning our cities and people, the power of sin could be broken from them.

But who I want most to focus on in this post are those of us who follow Jesus. The Bible speaks many wonderful things about us, yet we have a tendency to speak the opposite about ourselves. Holy Spirit tells us in Ephesians 2.10 that "we are His workmanship." This means that our lives are a reflection of his work, not our own. Once we give our lives to Jesus, we are born again by the Spirit. In the past we were our own workmanship, but now we are his! So what does the Bible say that this "new creation" looks like?

The number one truth spoken of us throughout the New Testament is the fact that we are now "saints." This is in contrast to what we were before, "sinners." So if the Bible says we are saints, what right do we have to call ourselves sinners? I hear it from fellow Christians over and over and over again, "Well, we are all sinners" and "I know I am a sinner." But that is no longer our reality! Romans 6 explains that we died to sin and that because our old body of sin was done away with, we are no longer slaves of sin! But the apostle Paul takes it even further and tells us that we are now slaves to righteousness! THAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT US. If we live outside of this, it is not because we are sinners, but because we are believing lies within our minds that we need something outside of Him. But even if we do sin, it does not make us sinners, because the Bible tells us that we are saints. And I have mentioned before in blogs the important distinction made in 1 John where he says "if" we sin, not "when" we sin. Our default is no longer sin! So let's stop talking as if it still is. And also, let's stop taking Paul's words in Romans 7 out of context and presenting them as if they are the reality for those of us who are saved. If Paul's words there are about us, then they are in direct contradiction to what the rest of the NT says about us. Paul is clearly speaking of his experience BEFORE salvation, setting up a contrast between our old life before Christ and our new life after salvation.

Our words betray what we have faith in. If we speak as saints, we show that we have faith to live sinless lives. But if we speak of ourselves as sinners, we show that we have put faith into living lives of sin. Do you get what I am saying? If you say, "I know I am a sinner, and I know I am going to stumble" then you are putting faith in your stumbling or sinning. You are in fact saying, "I have faith that I am going to sin." Is that what we want to put our faith in? Instead, we need to speak truth to what we know from the Bible to be truth! The confession from the lips of Christians must always be, "We are saints and have been freed from sin!" When we speak that way, we are putting our faith in Jesus' work in us.

1 Peter 3.10 tells us, "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit." We need to stop speaking deceit and instead dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to only speak truth about ourselves and those around us. That is the kind of speech that leads to "life" and "health" and "good days." That is the kind of speech that glorifies Jesus, the "author and finisher of our faith."

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Love Encounter

I went to Walmart today to get some peanuts and love people. My time inside the store was relatively brief. I saw a woman who was struggling to walk, so I spoke to her for a minute and then she let me pray for her. She was blessed, it was nice. After I was done, I walked back to my car which was in the furthest spot in the parking lot (the farther back, the more chances I have to interact with people!). I saw nobody to love, but as I got in and started to leave the parking lot, I spotted a woman moving slowly along in a power wheelchair. I spun around, parked and got out to meet her.

Her name was Hodge, a fun name :-). She suffered from arthritis and the effects of neuropathy caused by diabetes. When I asked her if I could pray, she immediately opened up about her life and what has been going on. Her family has suffered greatly over the last year from alcoholism, multiple cases of cancer, seizures and deaths caused by them. She nearly started crying as she told me her story.

I told her I loved her and Jesus loved her and I wanted to give Him a chance to show her how much. So I put one hand on her shoulder and took hold of her hand with my other and began praying. I was so radically filled with love as I began that I could hardly keep going. But I prayed that Jesus would fill her with his love and his peace and bring healing to her body and family. Then I felt led to pray for her dreams and sleep at night (though she had not mentioned anything to me about dreams or sleep), so I prayed that the bad dreams would go and that she would have wonderful dreams and sleep well at night. And when she was awake at night, I prayed that she would feel the wonderful presence of Holy Spirit all over her.

The prayer ended and she looked up with her beautiful face absolutely shining. She excitedly shook my hand and said, "Thank you so so much! That was exactly what I needed. And you were right on about my bad dreams and trouble sleeping recently, thanks so much! I will remember this. Thank you thank you so much!!!" Eventually she let go of my hand and then as I turned to head back to my car, she asked, "Why did you pull over and pray for me?" It was an easy answer, "Because Jesus loves you and I do to!"

That was a very fun love encounter :-).