Sunday, July 6, 2008

Responding from His Spirit Within Us

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs of gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3: 15-17 (NIV)

Every day we have a choice in all situations to either respond from the peace of Christ and in the name of Jesus Christ or to respond from our natural selves. The natural self is what’s right on the surface of our responses. Natural responses are those that we learned by living. They are the tip-of-the-tongue, instinctive responses that we can justify based on our life experiences. They arise from life’s collective assembly of logic, defenses, joys, sorrows, education, and even our mood of the moment.

But those natural responses are most often not the Lord’s responses. When we accepted Him as Lord of our lives, we took on His body and Spirit; they came to dwell in us. His responses are not the superficial responses. Rather, they are the deep responses—the responses that we make at the prompting of the Spirit and in the name of the Lord Jesus. In all situations, we have a choice: to respond from the superficial and natural self, or to go deeper and respond from His Spirit that lives within us.

When we respond from the deeper place, we learn to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us whether it makes sense to us or not. It’s not our natural response, but, as with so many situations, we learn that His ways are higher and more mysterious than our natural inclinations.

And in all situations, the Lord calls us to stay in His peace. In fact, it is only by resting in His peace that we find the way to the spiritual response. In His peace, all things may be discovered.

We always have a choice—to remain in the natural or go deeper into the spiritual. We’re called to make the spiritual response our daily reality. It is from His Spirit that all of our responses should arise.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Prayer Insights

We cannot ask too much of God. He cares about every detail. Noting is too small or too large for Him. And when we ask according to His will, we can trust that it will be done.

After all, He created heaven and earth, and He can make all things come to pass. He tells us, “Do not hesitate to call on Me.”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

There Is No Recession in the Kingdom

Every day the headlines ratchet up news of worsening economic distress. The economic downward spiral began with mortgage failures, followed by oil prices soaring to all-time highs. Then food prices—tied closely to the fortunes of oil in terms of transportation costs and the increasing demand for biofuels—increased, followed by rising unemployment rates. Then historic flooding in the U.S. Midwest, the nation’s bread-basket, resulted in an estimated $3 billion in crop losses. Meanwhile the transport of corn, coal, and steel along the Mississippi River came to a standstill. Like a house of cards, the first card fell hitting the second card, which hit the next one, and so they continue to fall in on themselves.

Avoiding Knee-Jerk Responses

As the economic reality of the headlines filters into daily life, the knee-jerk response is to cut back on spending and to prepare for the hard times. As an avid news watcher, that was certainly my natural response. But as often happens, the natural response is not God’s response.

As believers, we are in the unique position of walking both on earth and in the Lord’s Kingdom—and, in the Kingdom, there is plenty, not want.
God is unaffected by human affairs; and, in fact, the Kingdom economy prospers regardless of earthly events. And we are His agents on earth charged with advancing the Kingdom during our time here. That means that even in times of recession or depression, all we need will be provided from His vast storehouses to advance the Kingdom purposes.

We’re reminded to not see ourselves as being swept up in the tide of human events, but to see ourselves being solidly planted in the Kingdom.

Look at God, Not at the News

In short, God says to look at Him, not at the news. God will make all things right according to His divine purposes and in His time.

Advancing the Kingdom is the focus. When we think of recession and depression, the natural response is to think of our own current and potential needs. Life as we know it is changing, sometimes dramatically, but we have to remember that the Kingdom does not change. As we think about our needs, it’s important to know that He is faithful to provide.

And more important, we know that our needs are not separate from the work of advancing the Kingdom. In other words, there are not two sets of priorities—our priorities and God’s priorities. There is only one set of priorities—the priorities of the Kingdom. There is only one purpose in heaven and on earth—that the Father’s will be done. And when we focus on Kingdom priorities, then there are blessings aplenty to go around.

If we focus on earthly events, we can easily lose sight of the work of advancing the Kingdom. I did that, but the Lord reminded me to stop thinking of want and to start thinking of prosperity. He is able, He told me again, to provide for everything because He is the Creator of the universe. All things are in His control—and there is plenty, not want. Limitless. Infinite. Abundant.

As each of us work in our own way to advance the Kingdom, we should dream big Kingdom dreams and ask God to supply all that’s necessary to bring those dreams to reality.

We limit ourselves, and we limit God, when we think that there is not enough.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Favorite Books and Web Sites

It has been a good while since I added new articles to the blog. In that time life has included writing three new books, the passing of our Mother in April, and a variety of new challenges. And in every situation and challenge, the Lord has been faithful to His promise to never leave or forsake me.

I want to share a few of my favorite recent “discoveries” with you.
  • Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, by Richard J. Foster. This is a book to savor, to read slowly and to contemplate with the Lord as you read. In his tradition of insightful teaching, Foster, bet-selling author of “Celebration of Discipline,” guides readers through 21 inward, upward, and outward prayers with rich historical background and incisive insight. I highly recommend this book.
  • The New Temple and the Second Coming. This book is written by TBN host and best-selling author, Grant R. Jeffrey, offers a combination of Biblical prophecy and the latest research in recovering lost artifacts from the ancient Temple. Jeffrey documents the search for Temple treasures that will be key for use in the new Temple worship, discoveries made in Jerusalem, progress toward recreating sacred Temple vessels, and more. Jeffrey packs the book with historic background and facts that make this book a page-turner.
  • And for those who follow the progress toward building the new Temple, be sure to visit The Temple Institute Web site that has fascinating updates, images, and videos on all aspects of the Temple.
Also watch for more new and more frequent updates to this blog!


Monday, January 21, 2008

Every Day Thoughts

· The promises of the Bible are ours, but we must claim them. To claim the promises, we must read His Word, write it in our hearts, memorize it, and be ready to speak it at any time.

· He can pick up the pieces of our failures, shine them, and make them whole again. He can work even the worst situations for good—for His glory.

· Relax. We have the power of Christ. We have the power to do what He has given us to do. There is no need to strain or worry—we only have to follow.

· Rest in His peace. That’s where we hear Him better. That’s where we see Him better. That's where He teaches us. In His peace is life and breath. In His peace is everything we need.

· If He wanted us to conform to everyone else, He would have used a cookie cutter. He made you the way you are for a reason. Bring your richness and vitality to His Kingdom and to His church. The Lord doesn’t need more dead doornails. He needs people who will move out with courage, who will take on the Great Commission with gusto. Do not shrink back. Do not fear criticism. Keep moving forward. Keep doing what He tells you to do.

· The gifts of the Father will always exceed our expectations because He is purely righteous; He is purely love.

· There is nothing that is not touched by God. There is nothing outside His dominion.

· God is a God of details. Everything that you do merits God’s attention—everything.

· Think about it—every word we speak we will account for to Him. Every single word.

· Pray that we as Christians will love fearlessly. We cannot love and be afraid. Fear cancels out love. Pray to have His love, to live His love, to bring His love to others.