Sunday, June 30, 2013

Psalm 23... it's about life

I always wonder why Psalm 23 has been associated with death and is used quite often in funeral services. To me it speaks of our relationship with Abba, His love, guidance, protection and provision. In fact this one of the few scriptures that says He "makes" us do something, and what it says He makes us do is to rest in a place of comfort and provision. Thinking I have a totally awesome God that knows what I need better than I do.

Psalm 23:1-6 "THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I  shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my  self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him--not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

leaving the past behind

Ever have one of those weeks where there seems to be more that goes wrong than right? Not anything majorly wrong but a compilation of little things along the way that brings discouragement. In the back of your head you keep saying " I can't wait for Friday to get here", but when it does it feels like a bad Monday on steroids.  So this pretty much sums up my week and then I get up this morning and read this scripture and I felt Abba whisper "I got you". This is one of those scriptures that has so much bigger, deeper meaning but can be applied to your day to day (or in my case week to week).

You need to understand I'm not whining about my week, it was what it was, and yes I had a little pity party last evening and got over it. So now I have a choice, I can choose to wallow in what is behind me or I can choose to learn from what is behind so I can move forward and make some corrections so those things don't happen again. I know that I was created to be a victorious Overcomer and in knowing who I am supposed to be it helps me to pick up and move forward.  So I know what choice I need to make... Do you?

Philippians 3:13-16 "I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that."

Friday, June 28, 2013

a choice

When you read the Psalms you get a really clear picture of the man that David was, many say that God said that David was a man after His own heart was because he was quickly repentant and I believe that was definitely part of it. But repentance alone does not make a man. I also believe that part of what he did that captured Abba's heart was his attitude and how he chose to deal with life. Even when he made some stupid decisions he never lost his site of the Father, when he was feeling down and had some bad days (or years at times), he recognized that through it all Abba still loved him and was there for him. He knew how to be real with God, he would tell Him when he was happy, sad, frustrated, afraid and angry. And yes he would even question God and what He was doing. You really only get to have these conversations when you are in relationship, relationship that is cultivated and invested in where you know without out a doubt that no matter what comes out of your mouth in a moment of passionate discussion will be met with love, a relationship that may mean sitting in a field with a guitar singing, watching sheep and killing predators, or hiding in a cave with a band of brothers that have the same desire and drive for victory, or dancing in your draws because the joy of the Lord is so overwhelming all you can do is dance.

But it all comes down to a choice ...

Psalm 42:7-11 "I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. “OGod my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?” Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

lowest common denominator

I was reading this morning and kept hearing "why do people try to make Abba human?"  This is a good question because I  think at some point in time we all have done it. Generally when we can't fully understand or comprehended something we try to reduce it to the lowest common denominator. The danger in doing this allows  for fear and other things take a higher position in our lives than our God, if we can't see a God that is bigger than anything that confronts us in life than we lose hope and fall into despair and then usually blame Him for not coming through for us.  We need to remember that we created in His image and likeness, but the fullness of who He is cannot be fully comprehended. I guess for me I find comfort in knowing that Abba is greater than anything I can fully grasp and understand, but I also find great joy in knowing that He wants to have a relationship with me where He reveals to me His ways, His heart and His mysteries. The goal in life is not for us to try and make Him fit in our box, but for us to be transformed further and further into His likeness. That is where we find our strength, purpose and joy.

Isaiah 40:26-31 "Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. OJacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? OIsrael, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

leadership or position?

So I was reading through Acts 3 & 4 this morning and Abba impressed on me the example of leadership that was portrayed by Peter and John, vs the control and fear that came from those that held position in the Jewish community at that time. One of the things He showed me was those in the religious positions got there on their own at the expense of others, and they were ultimately ruled by fear. Fear that someone might come in and establish themselves in a higher position than they could obtain. True authority and power scared them, which is why Peter and John had been arrested and brought before them.
But the example that Peter and John set was different in fact polar opposite.  Here are some things that set them a part "Acts 4:8 "Then Peter, [because he was] filled with [and controlled by] the Holy Spirit, said to them..." they were filled with and fully obedient to the Holy Spirit. In verses 11-14 they spoke truth with boldness, truth that made it apparent that they had spent time with Jesus. The third thing is they demonstrated and brought unity to the people. Acts 4:24 "And when they heard it, lifted their voices together with one united mind to God and said, O Sovereign Lord, You are He Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them,"
Acts 4:31-32 "And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage. Now the company of believers was of one heart and soul, ..."
The leadership they brought did not invoke fear, except from those whose positions felt threatened. It brought confidence, unity and love. And ultimately  they were also submitted to authority as Jesus was submitted to the authority of the Father.
So I guess the question is are you trying to strive for position and control, or do you want to be an example for others that brings glory and honor to Abba?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

V8 moment

Ever been in kind of a dry spot spiritually, you know not quite in the desert but definitely not in the rain forest kind of spot? Anyway because of just life distractions, work, etc you kinda get a little detached and then you read some Scripture, familiar scripture you know ones that have been prayed and prophesied over you that you have highlighted in your Bible, written it in your journal more than once. But then you get in this spot and you conveniently forget it exists and all of a sudden here you are reading a devotional  and it slaps you in the forehead like a V8 commercial and it sparks something inside that makes you say "duh I knew that time to get refocused."  Well here is my V8 Scripture of the day, hope it encourages you too.
Isaiah 61:1-11
"THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of  righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. Aliens shall stand [ready] and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But you shall be called the priests of the Lord; people will  speak of you as the ministers of our God. You shall eat the wealth of the nations, and the glory [once that of your captors] shall be yours. Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold  recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people]  shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong with violence or a burnt offering. And I will faithfully give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with them. And their offspring shall be known among the nations and their descendants among the peoples. All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge that they are the people whom the Lord has blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as [surely as] the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring forth, so [surely] the Lord God will cause rightness and justice and praise to spring forth before all the nations [through the self-fulfilling power of His word]."