Thoughts on Resurrection….


Just finished a prayer time with a guy from one of the online communities I have connected with… and after our prayer, where I confessed some sin issues and struggles and had him pray with and for me – I felt the Lord remind me of the word “Resurrection” that he spoke to me in December.

I agree. Things pretty much look dead right now.   Certain things I was looking for, relationships that I thought would be restored, situations that I thought would be cleared up have not been as yet.  Struggles that have been overcome in the past have crept back in.  I have been feeling alone and disconnected for a while now.   But the thought came – “Things are ripe for resurrection.”

You can’t resurrect something that still has life.  You can revive something that has life, but you can only resurrect dead things.

And I have this thought at the beginning of Holy Week.  This is Palm Sunday (just turned midnight while writing this, so it counts 😆 )

Jesus is about to be crucified… taken to the cross for the sins of the entire world.

But he isn’t staying in the grave. (Disclaimer: I know this happened in the past… but bear with my present tense lolol – makes it more real for me right now, ok?)

The Passion of Jesus leads to the RESURRECTION of Jesus.

And as I ponder that right now … I look towards the resurrection of my own situations by the power of the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead!

Before my prayer time, I was feeling despondent.  About to give up.  Hanging on with the barest of touches, by the edge of my fingernails.

But now I have hope.  Things may seem dead – but there is resurrection around the corner!

Father it was interesting to hear “Resurrection” immediately after pouring out my heart to Tom. My feeling was “like, whatever” before the prayer and even during the prayer… but after the prayer you spoke that word and revived my hope.  Thank you God.  I put every situation into your hands. Home, personal life, Sharplife, everything.  As Jesus said on the Cross, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46)  I say the same thing.  Into your hands I give you my spirit, my soul, my body, my desires, my intimacies, my everything.  And as I give them up, even as Christ gave up the ghost – I do it expecting that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in me, and that I will also be raised up from this dead state I feel I’m in.

Thank you Jesus – awaiting your resurrection….

AMEN.

Advertisements

Personal Devotions: Taming the (Virtual) Tongue…


Continuing my study in James, we’re in chapter 3 today:

1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

“If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man….   Well, that disqualifies me then – in fact, who isn’t sometimes at fault in what we say?  If you can keep your tongue in check you will be able to keep your whole body in check. Interesting, such as small thing having such a big impact.  Check the remainder of this passage:

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

The tongue is like a rudder in a ship, or like a horse’s bridle.  Such a small instrument to control the direction of something much larger than itself.

I started thinking about this not only from the usual stand of my natural tongue…but what about my virtual one? I blog about my life, about God’s goodness … but seriously considered stopping when I was challenged by someone close to me that I was sharing too much personal information.  Now I know I’ve had something like this debated on my blog before, but it really made me feel like I was being censored. And I didn’t like that.

But beyond that.  How easy is it to write under ‘relative’ anonymity on the blogosphere?  How easy is it to drop any and all comments in people’s spaces – be it blogs, chats, IM sessions, whatever – and not think about it as carefully as you would if you were speaking to people in person?

In my study of James I was thinking about how I speak to my friend in chat.  I really believe God wants me to work on it.  And it’s not easy, you know?  But … there it is.  The tongue is a raging fire.  And if it directs something much larger than itself, I have to be careful how I use it.  And I can’t hide behind an avatar or an internet persona.  I have to be real, genuine, authentic…. on AND offline.

Here’s a challenge. Be careful how you type today.

Personal Devotions: Faith in Action!


Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? (James 2:14-17, MSG)

I’m reading through the book of James with a friend.  This morning, while reading James 2, the concept of faith being inextricably linked to works was highlighted.  The fact is, you can’t have one without the other.  As the Message Bible continues:

18I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.”

Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

You need both.  It’s so important that both faith and works be together that The Message has a word picture of a corpse if they are separated:

Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands? (vs 20, MSG)

and

The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse. (vs 26, MSG)

So, here’s my action!  James also mentions what ‘religion’ means  to God…

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27 (NIV)

My friend, Alece, is the president of a ministry Thrive Africa, whose mission, from their website, is to “disciple Believers, equip leaders, and strengthen the Church in Southern Africa.”  She continues, ” We accomplish this through AIDS preventionpastoral development,discipleship classesyouth camps,mission trips, and more.”

I placed a banner to their store on my blog, and I’ve been folllowing Alece’s story on her personal blog Grit and Glory.

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

She has become a blog friend – one who I connect with through her words on her blog, and through her story… but reading this Scripture today I am inspired to DO SOMETHING.  I am thinking about my finances and what I can do to help her ministry, but the SOMETHING I can start with is free… highlight her, her ministry, and their need here.

Thrive Africa needs assistance. Here’s part of the need from their website:

We have set a goal to raise $80,000 in new support by June 1.

$60,000 in one-time gifts by April 15

to get us up-to-date on our operating expenses

$20,000 in new monthly commitments by June 1

to continue our programs at current levels.

It is a God sized request for a God sized vision.  I want to help.  And I’m asking all to help as well.  Let us not just hear what the word says. Let’s do what it says, and help.

For more information, go to Impact South Africa, from Thrive Africa.

And get to know Alece, and her inspirational and authentic story at her personal blog – Grit and Glory.

Real Life Meeting – Almost!


Next Saturday, I’m getting ready to meet one of my best friends from the blogosphere….. well, almost.

One of my Spiritual sisters Annie told me that her dad and step mom are coming through Barbados on a cruise next weekend, and asked if I could host them for the day.  I’m excited…. even although I will not be able to hug Annie in the flesh yet…. I get to meet the parents! hahaha

I’m planning their itinerary as we speak… looking forward to sending back photos of my family and I, and to carry them all over the country.  That should be too hard, it’s a small dot in the water anyway! 😆

I’m hoping this is the beginning of actually meeting people face to face – not just Annie, but all of you wonderful friends – no, family …..

And – Annie boo… I’ll met the parents – time to meet YOU!  😆

Personal Devotions – Rest


29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
(Isa 40:29-31 NIV)

*******************************************************************

This post is overdue…. sorry about that 🙂  You can see why I needed the rest – this post was sitting in my Drafts folder unfinished (un-started – just the title!)  for a week before I could get to it….

*******************************************************************

I have been pondering these verses about rest for a little while now.  Isaiah 40:31 was given to me prophetically by one of my best friends and chief intercessors, who told me that God wanted me to rest.  I was known to others and to myself as prophet, encourager, listener, advisor, friend, confidant, minister… all these things … for so long – that being told I needed to stop them for a time of sabbatical threw me into a tail spin.  I had an identity crisis.

It was hard to unplug, hard to stop the good things like praying for people, prophesying, seeing God’s hand in deliverance even over the internet… it still is hard.  But I’m trying to make it good.  I’m trying to obey the word of the Lord, and work Isa 40:31 into my life.  “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength….” (KJV)   Once you wait your strength shall be renewed. That’s a promise.  So I’m being deliberate…..

So deliberate, in fact, that for a time, I’m on vacation.  It’s nice not to have the constant demands of husband and father for a bit.  I can just be.  I didn’t even have to rush and get up to cook breakfast like I usually do – I came down to my own father having finished breakfast, rather than having to do it myself! (Hallelujah chorus in background!)

So, here I am.  Trying to get rest.  Wondering whether I should feel guilty for feeling so free… and just wanting to rest, not only from responsibility, but learning how to rest in God as well.

Father God, show me how to enter your rest.  Help me to stop striving. Help me to not work, but take this time as a Sabbath time, holy unto you.  Help me to come back refreshed, but also with a plan as to how to move forward.  Speak to me during this time, so that it will not have been a time to just goof off, but that I would seriously hear what you are saying to me during this quiet time.  I ask that for those of us who read here, that you extend your rest to them as well.  Thinking about my friends who are battle weary,  frustrated or even just weary ( my last convo with Annie – love you little sis!) and I ask for rest for them too!  Thank you Lord!  AMEN.

Foundations!


All I want to say is WOW. God brings his confirmation of what he’s doing in my life over and over and over again.  My good friend Tammy Hodge has a WONDERFUL, AWESOME community on her website InProgress.

She has hit the nail on the head with her post on foundations: http://kassota.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/a-foundational-lesson/

It hits to the foundation (ok, bad pun!) of what God is doing in my life right now… and it really is good.

Go over, read it and give her some love, from Hand of God 🙂

Love you Tammy!

Personal Devotions – Radical Obedience


The Lord is emphasizing radical obedience to me by speaking through a number of different sources.  One of my devotional emails I receive – Spiritual Fuel – spoke about the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-27, the same Scripture I used to base one of my recent Personal Devotions posts.  It really spoke to me as it also mentions firm foundations – and spoke to the fact that the storms will come to everyone.

You will notice that the storm comes both to those who do Jesus’ sayings and those who don’t do them. No one is exempt. Storms are most certainly headed your way. The only question is, will you survive?

Will your foundations be strong enough to sustain the winds and floods? Those who walk in radical obedience have made themselves ready for the storm, and they will overcome.

The author said something that struck me: “The closer you get to God, the more obedient you must be.”  He mentioned Moses being so close to God that absolute obedience was a necessity:

The issue for Moses was no longer simply, “Is this action right or wrong?” The issue was, “What is God’s command?” For example, when Moses was on the fiery mountain the command was, “Stay behind the cleft of the rock. Because if you come out from behind the protective rock and see My face, you’ll die. You’re so close to Me right now, Moses, that if you make a wrong move you’ll see My face and have a cardiac arrest on the spot.”

Now, is there anything wrong or sinful about stepping out from behind a wall of rock? No. But when you’re that close to God, it’s imperative you follow His instructions to the letter and stay where He’s putting you. It bears repeating: The closer you get to God, the more obedient you must be.

Powerful words.

Fast forward to today – more confirmatory words in my inbox:  a prophetic word from another source, Retha McPherson, which says, in part:

“I will send you where I want you to go. I will stop the things that are not according to My will, if you keep on surrendering to me every day!” That is the secret: Keep on surrendering everything into God’s hands.

“Stay faithful to Me. Keep on walking in radical obedience to Me. Stay loyal to Me. And above all – be happy in all I ask you to do, because it is not about you; but all about Me.” Stay in God’s Word, and live the Word of God!

There it is again – radical obedience.

Yet one more source from a different angle – my Daily Audio Bible podcast for yesterday mentioned the rich young ruler in Mark 10:13-31.  Brian, the narrator of the DAB podcast,  asked the question, “What is it in our lives that we are not willing to surrender to God? What are the things in our lives that we would have a very difficult time letting go of in pursuit of the Kingdom?”  I was challenged by my one of my best friends about that.  What was it that was hardest to let go of?

For me it was praying for others, it was ministry – even in this time of sabbatical I have found myself periodically praying for the needy around me.  I was challenged to stop frequenting a Christian chat room that I love to go into for a time; I found that the temptation to pray for others is strong there.  It was a hard decision for me.  I hate how it makes me feel – I miss my friends.  But God has to come first.

I struggled because I had made ministry an idol – I knew it for a while – and even knew that I should take a break from the chat room.  Brian said in his podcast yesterday, “These may be idols that we are even worshiping in our lives because the thing is, anything…anything that exalts itself above the lordship of Christ in our lives is an idol. That is not to say that anything that we have exalted above the lordship of Jesus in our lives right now currently is a bad thing…”  And he mentions a word my counselor uses all the time: alignment. He said,” ….what that means is we are not in proper alignment and Jesus invites us to put things into proper alignment and come and follow him.”

So Father, I come to follow you.  I choose to follow you.  I repent of my sins and put down my idols.  I cast them off – I only want one focus – you.  I don’t want to be distracted; I don’t want to be sad and walk away from you like the rich young ruler did.  You promised me that there was a price for the anointing – but that if I walk in radical obedience, it will all be according to your will. Do what you will. I accept your hand to get at your heart.  In Jesus’ name. AMEN