Monday, March 22, 2010

Nothing New Under the Sun- Yes, People Will Think You're Crazy

So yeah, there are a lot of people out there these days who have no fear of reviling the Only True God of all Creation and/or His followers... in fact take great delight in doing so loudly!

They have this idea that if they reason Him away and can write a lot about it, and debate people and win arguments, He will not exist and they can do whatever they want with their lives. They use everything from seemingly tame phrases like "everyone has a right to their own beliefs"  to outright nasty insults that anyone would be so simple as to believe in a Creator and/or even need saving from anything.

There are also people in my own home town who stand on the street corner and blaspheme our loving Father by saying that they REPRESENT Him while spewing their hatred- when its obvious to anyone who has ever read more than a couple verses in the New Testament that they have no idea who HE really is.

This is nothing new under the sun:)

Whenever you as a believer feel attacked assaulted, insulted, isolated or outnumbered, I hope you can resist the temptation to be drawn into a fleshly argument with the perpetrator of such an attack. The only thing that will win in a situation like that is the POWER of Paul said:

My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Cor 2:4-5

The best thing to do is step back and look at the glorious truth of God's Word, step into His presence and receive His direction for how to handle the situation(sometimes He will even tell you to just walk away-see Luke 10:8-12)....this sort of thing has been going on for thousands of years and God certainly isnt feeling threatened by it. Saddened, yes- threatened, no.

There are a couple of examples in the Word that I love to look at in this sort of situation...first is Hezekiah's response to the blasphemous threats of Sennacherib in 2 Kings chapter 19. Sennacherib was boasting about all his conquests of other nations, how their "gods" didnt help them,saying ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you' and threatening to annihilate God's people. Hezekiah had every right to be terrified! In the natural sense, this was a fierce enemy that his people had no real way to defeat. But he did just exactly what the great fathers of faith before him had done- he brought it all before "Him who judges justly" and presented his case! He took the letter that Sennacherib wrote, spread it out on the Altar of the Living God and prayed this AWESOME prayer:
“O LORD God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim,
You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.
You have made heaven and earth.
Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear;
open Your eyes, O LORD, and see;
and hear the words of Sennacherib,
which he has sent to reproach the living God.

Truly, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands,
and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods,
but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them.
Now therefore, O LORD our God, I pray, save us from his hand,
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the LORD God, You alone.”
~2 Kings 19:15-19

See what he does there at the beginning of that prayer? HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LIVING GOD!! He doesnt repeat the threats or dwell on them, he focuses on GOD and who He really is. He then calls upon Him to judge and to act. He says 'yeah I know they have destroyed other nations, but WE are not just any nation, we are YOUR nation" again, reminding himself of the Truth in the face of the lies that Sennacherib has shouted so loudly!

If you want to really be blessed, go to 2 Kings 19 and read God's response;-). I have often thought about this phrase when I watch people reviling God

"I know your dwelling place,
Your going out and your coming in,
And your rage against Me.
Because your rage against Me and your tumult
Have come up to My ears,
Therefore I will put My hook in your nose
And My bridle in your lips,
And I will turn you back
By the way which you came(v 27-28)

And you know, before someone jumps in here and says something about how violent the old testament was, let me remind you that God is NEVER pleased with having to mete out judgment on the wicked:

As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live!
~Ezekiel 33:11

One of the most intense emotional pains I have ever felt was at the funeral of a friends brother who died cursing the "pastor" droned on about how maybe this young man was a star in the sky now, my gut wrenched with the sorrow of our loving heavenly Father who had lost a child forever.

(for a great teaching on the difference between the Old Covenant and the New see Andrew Wommacks series The True Nature of God)

NOW, on to a New Testament example of how believers dealt with reviling threats! In Acts chapter 4, Peter and John were called before the religious leaders of the day and told to quit preaching in the Name of Jesus (they were in trouble because someone got HEALED who had been lame for 40 years, and they were talking crazy talk like someone had actually been risen from the dead!!). They went back to their "church" and told them what happened and here is the prayer they prayed together in response:
“Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

‘ Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.'

“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:24-31

Can you see the similarities here? They start by STATING THE TRUTH about who God is, and in this case, who their enemies are. They then 'lay their threats out on the altar' so to speak and ask God to notice them..then they pray for the New Testament way to victory..not that the enemies would fall down dead, or even that they would be silenced, but that THE TRUTH would go forth with boldness, strength and with SIGNS AND WONDERS to back it up!! And the Holy Spirit SHOOK the place:)

Christians, we dont need to get stuck in the flesh and wallow around in the muck with unbelievers! We need to come before our loving AWESOME Father and ask for boldness and power to "speak the truth in love" (eph 4:15), to KNOW "what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe"(eph 1:19), that "amazing abundantly above all we can ask or think" POWER that works within us (eph 3:20)

There are many other verses I could use in this article, but Ive gone on a lot already:). What biblical examples can you think of that address these situations? Feel free to share, debate or otherwise comment below if you have thoughts on this topic!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Worshipping our Holy, Awesome LOVING Father

"Jesus, your Name is power, breath and living water,
Such a marvelous mystery"

So often as we are "doing praise & worship" in a church setting, we end up just singing about God and faith etc...thats not always a bad thing- songs are a wonderful way to put the Word of God and His principles deep in our spirits. BUT, we also need to spend time loving and truly worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. Revelation Song written by Jennie Riddle is one of the best I have heard in a long time that does just that. In The Story Behind Revelation Song, she explains how the song came to be:

"The songs being sung by the Bride at that time were focusing on need. My heart longed to focus on something far greater than my need, knowing that all needs would be satisfied with just one glimpse of Him.

Therefore, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me write a song that painted Him; a song that the angels and creation were already singing, so that we could join in with One Voice, as One Bride, to One King."

I love that!! When we are focused on need, our prayers and worship are so limited- when we focus on HIM all our needs are met and our spirits are joined to one another and love and peace flow freely:)

Here is a beautiful version of the song sung by Kari Jobe from the Wake Up the World DVD by Gateway Worship. Take a few minutes and enter in to the throne room of grace and mercy in worship to our wonderful, awesome LOVING Father and Lord of Lords Jesus our King~

Revelation Song Lyrics
by Jennie Riddle
Worthy is the,
Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven's Mercy Seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You…!

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore You!

Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath, and Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore You!

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come,
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And – I - will - adore YOU…

Come up lift up His Name
To the King of Kings…
We will adore YOU Lord…
King of heaven and earth
King Jesus, King Jesus
Aleluya, aleluya, aleluya!
Majesty, awestruck Honor
And Power and Strength and Dominion
To You Lord,
To the King, to King
To the King of Glory

You can also download the MP3 of this version here:

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Joyful Day at the Baby Office

My grandson is having a busy day in the baby office today, but as you can see he's going about things with a lot of joy.

Anyone who has read my blog for very long knows that joy is one of my favorite subjects in the Bible- I did a post just a few weeks ago on  Joy Bubbles , and  I think with all thats going on in the world, its good for us to be able to keep focused on this very important source of strength!!  Here are some more  JOY verses to brighten your day:

You will show me the path of life;
 In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
                           ~Psalm 16:11

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
       with joyful lips my mouth will praise you.

                                             ~Psalm 63:5

Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.
                           ~Isaiah 12:3

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
                          ~Luke 15:10

And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
                          ~John 16:23-24

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

                          ~Acts 13:52

...for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
                          ~Romans 14:17

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
                         ~Galations 5:22

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord
is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
                         ~Philippians 4:4-7 

Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. 
                        ~1 Peter 8-9 
And finally, a wonderful prayer & a psalm of praise for all of us:

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
                        ~Romans 15:13 
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
      And to present
you faultless
      Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
       To God our Savior  Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power
      Both now and forever.
                 ~Jude 1:24-25