When someone asks you to help them, how do you measure the answer?
Will you only serve me if I agree with you about a thousand things? Or, only if I agree with you about the important things? Will you serve my cause only if I have spent a certain amount of time serving your cause?
Jesus serves people with whom He disagrees.
We should consider doing that too on days.
Are you most comfortable when you know ALL of the rules and feel like you are complying with them and are, therefore, blameless?
Even the rules that Yahweh gave to Israel in order to make them His nation can’t make you able to walk in righteousness. Only discerning the voice of the Ruler will make you have true comfort, and empower you to righteousness.
No one ever became righteous by obeying the laws that God gave Moses. Jesus displayed His righteousness by obeying those laws. He also displayed His righteousness by listening to His Father’s Spirit and complying with every desire He saw in His Father’s heart.
You can do that too. You can listen. You can trust Him to lead you. When you learn to hear your Shepherd’s voice and gain from Him the strength to obey Him, you have all that you need.
You don’t need rules at that point. You have the Ruler.
The Finish Line on your most important project is out of your reach and out of your control. As you approach it, it could change distance and direction. The adventures between where you are and where it is are yet to be surprising. Or astonishing, or disappointing…
The Start Line, however, is right in front of your toe.
Any changes that are made regarding the Prize or the location of the Finish Line can change lots of things about the path to the Finish Line, but the Start Line is always just ahead of your toe.
When I play chess, I think 3 moves ahead. I will do this, she will maybe do that. I will then do this (move 2), she might do that. I will then do this (move 3), she might do that.
I make my move, my opponent makes a move. I then think 3 moves ahead. I don’t just take the two moves left in my last decision about sequence. I completely refresh. New move 1 (maybe I keep the old move, but I decide afresh). Maybe he will do this. Move 2, maybe he will respond this way. Move 3, maybe this response.
Every next move is the beginning of something. Your life can be like that. Every next decision or action can be the new Start Line.
Even if the last move was a mistake. The next move is Start.
A man had two sons. One was anxious to receive his inheritance, so he asked for it. The man gave each son his half of the estate in response.
The son who was anxious went out and wasted his inheritance. The other son stayed home and ran the farm. One day, the anxious son realized that his father had not thrown him out, but that he had left on his own, and could return to the farm at least as a servant. He went back home.
The father was looking for him and saw him coming from a distance. He instructed the servants to welcome him. He threw a welcome-home party.
The well-behaved son was angry that the wasteful son was being honored. He became jealous. He refused to come to the party. When the father pursued him, he complained that the father had never given him even a goat to have a party with his friends, and yet, when the wasteful one wandered back home, he had killed the best animal on the farm!
How much of “he divided his property between them” (Luke 15:12) do we miss regarding the provision we should recognize from our Father?
How much of “all that is Mine is yours” (Luke 15:31) do we not understand to mean that we should have the confidence of well-loved sons and daughters in the household of the King of Glory?
When we have a need, even when we have a desire, we should ask of our Father and expect to be loved and to be blessed.
Keith Greene was a musician, worshiper, and world class evangelist who met Jesus during the Jesus Movement of the 60’s & 70’s. He died in a plane crash while evangelizing in South America.
During his concerts, he would inspire evangelists in the crowd to charge the gates of hell to bring back unbelievers from damnation. He would convince everyone in the crowd who wasn’t an evangelist that they deserved to go to hell for not having a burning desire to evangelize the lost.
He was wrong. Everyone is not an evangelist.
We may never lead anyone through the “sinner’s prayer.” We may never answer a searching unbeliever’s questions. We do all have the privilege of influencing the unbelievers around us, though.
We are sons and daughters of the most impressive Person anyone will ever meet. The more you bear the fruit of His Spirit, the more you are introducing anyone near you to Jesus. Even without Spiritual gifts, Spiritual fruit can draw people to desire to know Him.
Gifts without fruit are just carnal expressions of God’s power. If you had to choose, I suggest you take fruit over gifts.
Happily, you don’t have to choose between the two. Choose both.
In “Knowing Religion,” I said that religion is a product of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In 2 Corinthians 4:6, Paul said that God knows how to talk to light. He told it to shine, and it did! God, Who knows more than that about light, is shining light in our hearts so that we have the light of the knowledge of His glory. It is the face of Jesus shining in our hearts.
When Moses asked to have His glory revealed to him, He showed him His back. Maybe, since Jesus was slain from the foundation of the earth, that was His back that Moses got to see. The stripes. Maybe…
We need to know His glory pretty desperately. 1 Corinthians 8:1 was written about good and evil type knowledge. There, Paul said that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Knowing Jesus, and knowing His glory, and bearing His fruit (Galatians 5), will build us up and we can share that power to build others up.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Ephesians 1:15-21 NKJV
In Acts 9, the Spirit of God told Saul to expect a man named Ananias to come to him and restore his sight after he was blinded on his way to Damascus to harm believers.
The Spirit also told Ananias that Saul was expecting him, and that his sight would be restored when Ananias prayed for him.
Being led by the Spirit is only unusual because we are distracted from His voice by lots of noise. If you are not sensing His leading very often, spend time hiding from the demands of the earth and people, and spend time each day getting quiet and peace filled and listen.
He wants to talk to you!
Listening is a habit that is worth developing.
Paul, letter to believers in Rome: “…to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (8:6)
Carnal (flesh-related) mindedness IS death. Instant impact. No waiting. Great for the impatient. Spiritual mindedness IS life and peace. Just as fast, by faith.
When someone mentions the name of someone who annoys you, do you miss the good thing they are saying about the person?
When someone mentions the name of someone who stole from you, do you share the story of the theft?
Thieves and annoying people need to be freed from their failures. They need intercession – prayer for blessing. No one can bless them with more power or with more certainty of impact than one they have wronged.
If your mind is stuck in the past or on the flesh regarding painful relationships and experiences, let your spirit, under the influence of God’s Spirit, lead your mind to higher and better ideas and focus on improved futures becoming possible. Focus on freedom and eternity, and let the Spirit of agape fill you with what He thinks about when those people’s names are mentioned.
Justice and vengeance are not nearly as sweet as sacrificial intercession. That humble, loving kind of prayer reminds everyone in heaven of the cross.
The Spirit will enjoy it. You will learn to!
I am always impressed by evil masterminds who want to take over the world in books and movies when they plot and plant and wait and develop and in 40 years have created the machine and evil manpower to (they hope) make their plan work.
The patience, the foresight, the design, the recruitment, all of it seems to be impossibly out of reach in reality, but people really do make it work. The slow changes made by evil influences on the culture of the United States have been almost unnoticeable as they have advanced. When you look back 30 years, it is astonishing to see what depth and distance has been gained against the Kingdom by patient ungodly forces.
Put the dynamic to work in your life. Do you want to be able to play piano, or speak Arabic, or cook better than Wolfgang Puck? Imagine that you really are going to live a long time. Add up 10 minutes a day for 10 years. You don’t have to be able to devote 10 hours a day to a project of improving your skills in order to actually improve your skills.
Decide to gain some skill that you wish you had already gained. DECIDE.
Then, find a course that you really can take at your own pace. Make that pace be 10 minutes a day. Do not quit. 10 minutes a day for 10 years and you should be able to design rockets! In 5 years, you should be able to play guitar, or paint what you imagine, or build websites, or bake crème brûlée that makes people cry.
Decide today. In 5 years, show me what you can do!
Yin and Yang are structures ancient Chinese philosophy offered to explain or identify balance. Yin is dark and passive. Yang is bright and aggressive. Yin is female, Yang is male.
Generally, they are presented as balancing or completing each other, not competing. Represented as a circle with a white drop opposing a black drop, there is a black dot in the white drop, and vice versa. The balance includes the concept that there is a little of the opposite thing in everything, which is not true.
Balance in the Kingdom of God is frequently manifest in mysteries. Things that are basic truths in the Kingdom are senseless to the world. Some don’t even make sense to us on days.
The destroyer is sometimes sent to be my trainer. The lion and the bear were sent to prepare David for Goliath. Some education in God’s plan just teaches us how to learn or listen.
Waiting for assignments to make sense or look successful can be a costly mistake. Not being quickly obedient could have cost Nehemiah or Gideon the nation.
A murder worked salvation in the earth. The holiest Spirit in all of creation wants fellowship with us. Leaders must be servants. My passion to serve the King by sparing lives from hell is balanced by my patience to see His will done His way no matter how long it takes.
Pray that you will learn to hear and trust His voice. Balance in the Kingdom is obedience.