Sunday, June 19, 2011

Honoring Abba on Father's Day

During worship at church Friday night there was a deep sense of reverence and awe, but also a sense of peace; that the Father was pleased with our worship.  During this time the first part of the Lord’s Prayer started running through my mind as if it was being whispered to me. Then He drew me to other Scriptures, ones that broke my heart.  I could sense that the Father was grieved because the people that He calls His are forgetting to honor Him and give Him the reverence and respect that He is due.  He is our Father in heaven but so much more. Here are the Scriptures that I was given:
Malachi 1:6 (NASB): “‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the LORD of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’
Malachi 2:10 (NASB): “Do we not all have one Father? Has not one God created us?
Matthew 6:9-10 (NASB): “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Romans 8:14-17 (NASB): For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
As you can see in the Scripture there is a progression. It starts with the Father asking why we aren’t giving Him the honor and reverence that He deserves. He reminds us that HE is the Father and Creator of us all. Then Jesus instructs us to pray in a manner that brings honor and reverence to The Father’s Name, to hold Him as the most holy and honored. Hallowed means: regarded as holy; venerated; sacred.
The last Scripture is a reminder that we have been adopted as His children; we are fully accepted as His heir. He has made it possible for our relationship with Him to go beyond the unreachable Father in heaven, to being our Abba, our DADDY, our PAPA; the One who loved us with abandon, without restraint or moderation, so much so that He gave His own Son to be a sacrifice so that we may become His sons and daughters, so that we could be His.
I think that for many of us that have had a poor example of what a Daddy is, we have a hard time accepting God as our Father. We are good with Jesus and some are ok with the Holy Spirit, but God the Father is sometimes a hard concept, especially as Someone that loves us deeply and wants to have a close intimate relationship with us.  That is who He is though. We still need to give Him honor and reverence, but we need to accept Him as our Heavenly Father that loves us.
As we go through Father’s Day today, we should take some time to honor Him as our ultimate Father and Abba.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A new pair of shoes

I only thought women dream about shoes....  guess not
So I had a dream last week that kept creeping into the back of my mind until I finally sat down and wrote it out in my journal.
In the dream I saw a pair of old school white leather loafers they reminded of something from the 70’s, like maybe some shoes that Shaft would wear.  The shoes were obviously worn by a man but all I could see were the shoes and the shoes went different places, I saw them in the desert, in the mud, on the street, on a wood plank floor and on the carpet.
The shoes in the dream represented the church and the gospel message the church has been spreading.  The different places that I saw the shoes represented the different places and people groups that the church went to and preached to.
One of the things that I noticed is the shoes always got dirty as they went different places but they still stood out as being different, even when surrounded by other shoes.  What happened though is that over time even after many cleanings and shining’s the white shoes became dingy and gray.  They didn’t quite stand out the way they did in the beginning.  The message the shoes brought changed, it was more about blending in and conforming to the world and not going into the world to be a light, to stand out and be different, to present the world with truth and not conformity.  The message has been tainted and made dingy so it fits into the world.
The time has come for the Church to get a new pair of shoes.  Shoes that are formed at the hands of The Creator; shoes that convey His original gospel; shoes that remain white (pure & holy); shoes that don’t conform to the world; shoes that carry the Spirit and the Truth, that bring a balance to lives that can only come from Jesus.
I believe that the emergence of the apostles and prophets, taking their proper places in leading the Church, is a significant part of the new shoes; that this emergence will allow the evangelists, pastors and teachers to function in the true core and heart of their gifts. It will bring a freedom to the Church and it will show the world that there is indeed life and freedom to be had in God’s Kingdom.  It will show the Kingdom as being desirable and inviting instead of being a place of unattainable rules and religiosity.
One of the things that stood out in the dream was that none of the other shoes that came in contact with the white shoes converted or changed into white shoes.  There was a sense that the shoes weren’t open or flexible enough to fit the world it was trying to reach, so they went to the other extreme and conformed to it.  The new shoes allow for variations of size and style without compromising their original design.  The only way to obtain these new shoes is by going to Jesus and developing a relationship with Him.  He has a custom pair for each of us that help us fulfill our destiny, purpose and plan that He has for us.
Are you ready for a new pair of shoes?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A key to true relationship - Self Forgiveness

If God forgives us we must forgive ourselves otherwise it’s like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him. ~ C.S. Lewis

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV)
The idea of forgiving ourselves for so many is a foreign idea but is so crucial for our growth, our health and our relationships, especially our relationship with God.  Some may think that by forgiving ourselves we are being self-serving or that we don’t deserve it because we are worthless sinners.  But what happens when we deny forgiving ourselves is that we set ourselves up above God.  He tells us that He is faithful to forgive us and that when he forgives us He remembers our sins no more.  So in not forgiving ourselves we are telling God that His forgiveness is not good enough for us. This stance and mindset grieves the Father because it keeps us from all that He has for us.

In Matthew 22 Jesus tells us: 37 Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” We can’t truly love others or truly forgive others until we love and forgive ourselves.  We can’t truly minister to others if we haven’t accepted the ministry that Jesus provides for us. 

Self unforgiveness can block healing from happening and can cause a root of bitterness to grow in our hearts that skews how we view God and how we view others.  There is a lady that I know that was diagnosed with a terminal disease; she reached out to God and to others for prayer.  During a time of prayer someone had a word of knowledge about unforgiveness in her life so she forgave everyone she could think of but herself and the sickness continued.  She continued to reach out for prayer and the unforgiveness thing came up again, but this time the question was asked “have you forgiven yourself?” She had not, but proceeded to and she was healed.  A few years later she had come to the healing rooms for prayer for her shoulder; she was scheduled for surgery and really didn’t want to go through with it.  Self unforgiveness again came up, which she did saying “duh I should have thought of that…” Again she was healed and didn’t require surgery.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14 ESV)

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34 ESV)

How can you tell that you have forgiven yourself? One of the ways is that you don’t continue to feel the need to keep asking God to forgive you for things that He has already forgiven you for. Another way is that you smell better because you are hauling around the old dead you and you are comfortable in the new creation that Jesus made you.  I think one of the major ways to tell is that your joy meter increases, it overflows and spills out on those around you.  You find yourself getting opportunities to share your testimony and share God’s true love that He has for you.  You really start loving others as yourself as Jesus commanded, because you are actually equipped to do it.