Thy Will be Done

I nearly choked on those words yesterday as I prayed them over a friend. The magnitude of what I actually was praying got caught in my throat.
“Thy Will be Done”

Matthew 6: 7-13 from the Message;

7-13″The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Can I pray like that? We often think of this model of prayer as rote and and old church liturgy. As those words came spilling out of my mouth I realized what I was saying. His will, not mine, not the one whom I was praying over, but His. And what if His will hurts? Will the pruning shears He brings cut so deep I can’t bare the site once He’s done.
Last night as I humbled myself before Him in prayer I asked Him once again; Your will be done, not mine. Never mine. I know my God is Sovereign, I cling to the truth that nothing happens in our lives that doesn’t first flow through His fingers. And as God in His wisdom pointed to Job and said to Satan… do you see my man Job there… so too we must realize that God would NEVER allow something in our lives as a body or as an individual that He would not turn for His good, just as he did in the life of Job.
Thy will be done is a tough pill to swallow. It’s taste can be bitter as it hits the sides of our throats as we allow it to go down. But just like much needed medicine in time of an infection, we must humble our spirits, lift our heads to God almighty, open our mouths and say: “Thy will be done” Do what’s best for your kingdom, for your people.
Will you join me?

Faith, Hope and Love

1 Thessalonians 1: 2&3

2We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith works, love labors, hope patiently endures.

Working out our faith. Putting our faith into action. The definition of Work is; exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil. This is giving us the picture that you can’t have faith without some sort of effort or action backing it up. Faith alone just doesn’t work. Our faith will produce fruit, or works. When your faith is junk… what it produces will be of no value to Christ. Is what pours out of our lives something that one would remember before God and thank Him for?

Laboring in love As any mother who has given birth knows, being in labor is an act of love.The definition of labor; productive activity, physical or mental work, esp. of a hard or fatiguing kind. Love is hard, it’s not some mushy feeling you have for another person. It is an act of the will (at times) to love another person. People disappoint us, they let us down, they can hurt us. Choosing to love in spite of all this can be very laborious. What does our love for others look like? Are we willing to do the tough stuff love requires of us? Is our love something others would give praise to God for?

Enduring Hope, to endure means; the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; To hope, to hold on for dear life to what is good, pure and lovely. When all around you is screaming to let go.
Are we willing to endure to the breaking point for our Hope in Him? Would there be someone who could say of you that your Hope is enduing and they thank God for it?
These are three nice words aren’t they. Faith, Hope Love, usually they give you a warm fuzzy feeling. But when broken down we need to realize these are action words, not fuzzy words.

Are you working out your Faith?
Are you willing to Labor in your Love for others?
Is your Hope one that will Endure?
And would your fellow sojourner Praise God for those things in you?

Well Crafted Arguments

Colossians 2

1 I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. 3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

4 I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. 5 For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.

I love reading His word and letting just a word or two fall on me. In Louie Giglio’s book “I am not, but I know I AM” He does a ‘one word at a time ‘ study of a verse. Pulling it apart studying each word. And though I don’t do that exactly, I do use his theory behind it, that we miss out on so much of what God wants to say to us when we don’t meditate on the word. When we hurry to read just so we can say we read. When I read the word I ask God for ‘a word’,along with granting me His wisdom, His insight, and usually He will point out two or three words and I let them sink in.

Over the last couple of days I’ve heard some Christians using the words “your being deceived” and then they add their well crafted arguments. First I know that I am grounded in Christ Jesus and in His saving knowledge, His unconditional love, His gift of Grace and His unmerited Mercy. I am confident in Him.

Should I listen to anyone’s “well crafted arguments

IF we are in HIS word and His word is in US, (thank you Dr. Haber for preaching that on Sunday, it’s the second time I’ve stole it). it shouldn’t take long to be able to apply truth to any argument. It’s when we don’t know truth, His truth that we can be deceived.
We need to be arming ourselves, the word is called “the sword of the spirit” for a good reason. It takes a double edged sword to pierce our hardened, have to be right, bad attitude hearts. And I know, I’ve been there. I’ve had me a hard cold heart and an attitude that scared the best away. It took Jesus poring Himself out in the shape of ‘ the word’ to cut through my well crafted arguments. Like Paul in the book of Romans I could give you good reason why I should be able to have my hard heart. My pedigree of hurt, humiliation and brokenness is much longer then most.

BUT GOD… oh amen, but God.

When we apply God to any of our well crafted arguments, we will find they are nothing in light of the cross.
Oh yes we will still have conflict, and those conflicts need to be aired right away. Not letting them fester and become something they were never meant to be. Apply Christ and His love and His mercy and oh what a difference we will see. And all those well crafted arguments will fall away.

Fix Your Thoughts!

Phil 4: 8-9 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

I am to Fix my thoughts. Now that’s a wide open field! I don’t know about you but my mind is a constant highway. Most days congested with thoughts too numerous to process. I look eagerly for the exit ramp so I can take one or two thoughts to a road less traveled and spend time on just them. I need the quiet of a back road to meander down to look deeply at my thoughts and apply truth to them. Cover them with love so I can gently pick out the pain. And once I do that; I can then start placing them over the light of truth, honor, righteousness, and purity. Do they measure up against such things? If they don’t am I willing to leave those thoughts right there on the back road and venture back on to the high way. Forgetting what I left behind and moving on to find thoughts that are excellent and worthy of praise!
I know for my self when I fill my thought highway with God’s word, when I meditate on that and let it cut through the junk in my head to produce truth I end up in a much better place. The highway becomes less congested, and the back road trips are needed less. Because I’m taking them captive and apply truth long before a pile up on the high way ever happens.
Then the God of Peace will be with you… yes yes yes! I will fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable for no other reason then to receive HIS peace. What a swap!

Whatever Happens

Those are two words that can bring fear and dread to the human soul. “Whatever happens”… This morning as I was reading in Philippians 3 meditating on the word, letting God search my heart with it, my eyes kept going back to the very fist verse (NLT)

1 Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters,rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.

Whatever happens. That’s a wide open field, this whatever.
*So if I loose my job, I’m to rejoice in the Lord.
*If my son goes back to using heroin, I’m to rejoice in the Lord.
*If something awful were to happen to my precious little boy, I’m to rejoice in the Lord.
*If my house burns to the ground, I’m to rejoice in the Lord.

This is hard, this whatever is getting personal. It’s infringing on my idea of what I think God should be protecting. All my loved ones, all my stuff. So if whatever happens, does that mean He’s not?
That’s the gut reaction of the world. If bad happens; then there is no God or they don’t want to know the God that could let it happen. If something good happens; they might give him the credit. Phil 3:1 says “whatever” good, bad, ugly, painful, devastating, exciting, lovely. It covers a mass of things. Over which I am to rejoice in the Lord!
This is where the rubber hits the road on our faith doesn’t it. The very end of that verse tells us why Paul is reminding us of this. To safe guard that faith as the rubber hits the road. Because when the “whatever” hits the fan of your life, if your are not reminding yourself by being in the word, and by letting the word be in YOU, how will you ever be able to rejoice in Him when the “whatever” is bad, and will you give Him the glory when it’s good.
So I remind myself and you… “Whatever happens… rejoice in the LORD!”

Forgiveness, one of the most Difficult Elements of Love

As I am finishing up the book by Philip Carlson; “You Were Made for Love” I’ve hit the chapter on forgiveness. Here are some tough words:

Forgiveness has two essential components, a choice and a follow through. When we choose to forgive we let go of our hurt, anger and desire for revenge and release the offender from the consequences of the way their actions affected us. Forgiveness is not denial of the pain and loss; it’s not pretending that it never happened. It requires tremendous courage and honesty. It is a choice to see the offender apart from the pain and anger. We are freed to start over and risk further relationship. By clinging to unforgiveness, we committee ourselves to carrying the pain of the past into the future. We rob ourselves of the freedom God intends to give us.

A Choice and a follow through. Many times I know I have chosen to forgive someone. I make a solid concrete decision to forgive, but I also know there has been no follow through. I haven’t truly released the person from the pain they have caused me.
In my last post I spoke of a situation where I had to hold onto the truth, because the person whom I was dealing with who was emptying themselves on me, did so with some very ugly hurtful words. As I sat there taking it all in, trying to process truth from lies I had to make a conscience choice right there in the midst of it all to forgive what was happening, and now I am struggling with step two. The follow through. We can get real good at saying over and over in our minds, “I forgive her, I forgive him” It’s the next part that we must call on the Holy Spirit for the power to do. To release them of the pain they have caused. and to see them apart from it. When I do that, when I look beyond the verbal assault, I see a deeply wounded soul and I hurt for them, more then I hurt for myself.
Now that is Love in it’s truest sense. Seeing the other as more import than ourselves. Romans 12: 3 & 10 both speak to these telling us (vs3) Not to think of ourselves more highly then we ought and (vs10) Honor one another above yourselves. Putting an others pain and hurt before our own can be a difficult thing. While I’m licking my wounds, if I can only envision that they too have wounds, wounds I may know nothing about. I can then separate my pain from the person and apply a love and forgiveness that Christ calls us to.
I’m looking forward to the last chapter of the book, “A Life that makes a Difference; Faith” this book has cut deep, and it has healed much. I pray you pick it up and let it speak to your heart.

Speaking truth

No one ever said that speaking the truth in love would be easy. Matter of fact it can be quite painful. Eph 6: 13 tells us to put on the full armor of God, starting with the belt of truth. It’s truth that holds the rest together. Today ‘truth’ kept me from nearly crumbling as some hurtful things were hurled at me by another wounded soul. I praise God that He spoke so softly into my spirit; to let this wounded heart empty herself. I knew I had His strength to keep me balanced in truth. That truth firmly girded around my waist as a belt, around our center of gravity so at moments like these we can operate in His truth. 5, 6, 8 years I ago I would have acted or reacted so differently. I never would have heard God speak to me, I most likely would have been on the offense. There would have been no breastplate of righteousness, a righteousness that covers me like a new layer of skin, that has started to permeate the very marrow of my bone. If my feet were not fitted with readiness of the gospel of peace, oh how different this afternoon would have been. I know I had the shield of faith that kept the attack from the evil one far from me. And I must say, the wounded heart was not an evil person, but oh how the evil one could have used this to defeat me. Had it not been for the helmet of salvation, my basic belief in who God is and for my time in his word, the Sword of the spirit, at this very moment I would be licking much larger wounds. God somehow filled me with His compassion for this wounded heart. And I will be praying in the Spirit for a healing of their heart and mind.
God how I thank you for your word, I am so grateful that it has cut into my very being, deep into the marrow of my bone and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was YOU that walked me thought today. I love you God, I love you.

Who Gets the Credit

Ephesians 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (NLT)

I’m growing to love the new Living Translations. It puts the word in ‘right out there’ terms. Do you see what I mean, “you can’t take credit for this”. (vs 8) There is nothing we can do to ever earn enough grace to purchase our own salvation. We come into this world with a negative credit balance. And there is only one person that can get us out of that kind debt. Our debt of sin was paid for by the Son of God on a cross over two thousand years ago.

Salvation also isn’t a “reward system”.(vs 9) It had to be purchased some how, and no matter how good we try to be, we can never be good enough. Can you imagen if it was. Talk about a reality show. It would be worse then the Show Survivor! If it was all about who did the most good, we’d have to find a “good” way to beat each other trying to out do the next guy so we could get the best seat in Heaven. There might be alot of good being done, but can you see the ego’s flying!

The only thing we can “boast” in is Christ. (vs 9) Not our accomplishments here. And I know I can come up with a list. I’ve done some good things:
I’ve helped my share of people
I’ve extended forgiveness
I’ve lent money that I knew I’d never get back
I’ve lead a few people to Christ
I support a little boy in Peru.

I could go on, we could all go on with our lists of good. That good will NEVER purchase our debt of sin. Once we give our life over to Christ, accept His debt reducing plan, (and it’s a one payment plan), we can then be created anew in Him, and out of that and that alone can we do “the good He has planned for us”. (vs 10) Again, it’s not about our lists, but His. He has a list of all the good He wants us to do.

He gets the credit for our salvation for it was Him who died once and for all. And He gets the credit for the good we accomplish. I choose to boast in Christ. For what good is coming out of my life is all about Him!