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Not Yet

“Loved ones, now we are God’s children; and it has not yet been revealed what we will be. But we do know that when it’s revealed, we shall be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” I Jn 3:2

not yet

I went to a class on healing last week. I believe in healing mostly because I’ve actually seen people get healed. I’ve experienced it myself as well. I know God heals! Hopefully you do to. Either way, I went to the class about healing expecting to learn more about it. How it works, why God does or doesn’t do it, maybe the right words to say. We didn’t really talk about any of that – it wasn’t really a class about learning how to heal people as much as it was about what tends to happen in an atmosphere where God is present. And Because God was present, I experienced some healing myself.
I didn’t go there to be healed of anything. I didn’t expect anything to happen except my knowledge of a topic might increase. I am a curious little cuss… For instance, I have so many books. And I’ve read them all. And I know all the stuff in them. It’s like there’s and avalanche about to happen in my head sometimes. Or maybe an aneurysm. Sometimes it seems like all the crap I know doesn’t matter but it’s jammed up between my ears and its clogging up my head.
Anyway, I didn’t expect to get healed I expected to learn something. But I got both things really.
The speaker asked if we could ask God anything and know we’d get an answer what would we ask. So I asked. I asked God why he’d make me good at something AND give me the desire to do that thing AND give me no opportunity to do that thing. And he answered. He said I’m not ready to do the thing.
Um. Excuse me. I did the thing for 17 years! Brilliantly I might add. There’s tons of people I’ve led that I interact with on social media every day that thank me for what I did for them, who share memories and pictures and tell me how awesome things were back then. Every. Single. Day.
How is it then that I’m all of a sudden “not ready?” I really don’t get it.
Then he showed me something I didn’t understand one bit. I can’t even describe it to be honest. But it felt like something that’s right and whole and good and complete. And it felt like it was for me. A me without fear. A me without hindrances. A me unleashed.
I’m not that me. Not yet.
And those are the words God said to me. “Not yet.” I saw it in my head like a big, red neon sign. “Not yet” it said. “Not yet.”
Dude. I’m like too old already. I’ve gone too far and done too much. Too much. Too much good and bad really. Too much questioning. Too much worry. Too much doubt. Too much wallowing. And still God has a perfect plan for me? Yes. One that I’m not ready for, apparently.
I wish I didn’t want it. I wish I didn’t know about it. I wish I could take an ice pick and jab those parts of my brain and make the thoughts go away. And I told God all that. And he laughed. Not a cruel laugh. An amused laugh. Like he’d heard that before maybe. And then he healed me.
I don’t actually care anymore about any of that. Not in the bad way. I care. Obviously. But I care more about learning to be content in being his son than anything – and in an order of magnitude that dwarfs anything else I’ve ever felt. I just don’t care about that other stuff anymore. I don’t care if I ever have that dream because I’M HIS AND HE IS MINE. And nothing else matters.
I prayed months and months ago for God to remove the desires I had. To lead, to teach, to be a pastor again. And in my heart I had such longing for those things. And they are not bad things! But I was hurt and angry and bitter and I was saying “forget it – whatever you want for me I don’t want it because I can’t have it anyway,” and no matter what I did I couldn’t forget and I couldn’t get over it. But I’ve been healed in my soul! I’m free now! I haven’t given up on anything. But I’ve been given everything. I have hope. I have a promise. I have peace. I have God!
I understand that I’m not the only one who has been through what I’ve been through. Many of my good friends have been through it. Some have quit ministry for good, others are doing something different for a while, a few are back on staff in churches again.
That’s what I still want for me – that last thing I mean. I didn’t leave by my choice. And I guess I won’t get back to it by my choice either. For now all that matters for me is that God is building me up. He is making me whole, he is making me new. He’s making a place for me and when it’s time, I’ll be ready to step into it.
So for once “not yet” is ok. I gladly accept God’s not yet. It doesn’t mean never it means not yet. As in something’s coming! I have no clear idea of what it is but I know it will be awesome! Because he is awesome and he loves me!

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Prepared To Be Annoyed

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If you were to google “pet peeve” you could spend the rest of the year reading and not come across the same thing twice. I know we all know what pet peeves are, but here’s a definition anyway – A pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to themselves, to a greater degree than others may find it. The thing is, we can take what is “minor” and major on it the rest of the day.

I have a few pet peeves – the big one is people who don’t turn into the correct lane. Now, I understand if you’re turning left and have to make an immediate right turn that you will not be staying in the left lane very long, if at all. That happens to me every day after picking Zoey up from day care. I turn left onto Davis, then I have to make a right turn in less than 40 yards onto Cardinal.

I also go slowly, make sure nobody else is turning into the lane from the opposite direction, and I USE MY STINKIN’ BLINKER.

When I have to go to the office for some reason, the road I drive down is 3 lanes. It comes to a stop where you either have to turn left or right. The middle and right lane have arrows for a right turn, and the left land has an arrow for a left turn. Sometimes people in the middle lane turn left. I never turn left, so I don’t care about that. But if I’m in the middle, I turn right into the outside lane. Along with all of the people in the right lane who also turn into the outside lane instead of the inside lane.

Every time I have to go this way I end up almost getting my car smashed into, and being the almost smashee, you’d think the almost smashers would wave or say sorry or something. No. They honk and/or throw up an “obscene hand gesture” every time.

I also have a peeve involving spelling, punctuation and grammar. I’m not a nazi about it. I recognize that people can misspell words, throw a preposition or two at the end of a sentence (hopefully not the same sentence though, because they are not good to end sentences with with) and sometimes when a person is in a hurry, spelling is less important than getting an idea on paper.

What bugs the everloving snot out of me is repeat offenders, people who should know better. Exspecially on social media. I’m not trying to offend anyone here. But did you see what I did there?

There’s a difference between a personal style of writing and a person who comes across as uneducated. I would expect it of a child – I lovingly correct my children’s grammar and they both continue to improve. But adults – please – PLEASE – stop just firing off your broken English, garbled and misspelled facebook and twitter updates about the neighbor’s dog or how they put too much whipped cream in your drink at Starbucks.

Now, the last few sentences show you how people can get about their pet peeves – we rant, we become irritated, we experience indignation. Righteously so – how dare anyone do these things!

It just seems like we step out of the house these days already prepared to be annoyed.

I don’t know what’s going on in the world these days. But I know this – we need to get over ourselves a bit and instead of going straight for our guns we need to start letting people off the hook.

Are you perfect? Yes or no?

To quote God here a bit – “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Have you ever commanded the morning to come? Have you ever shown the sun where to rise? Where is the snow kept? Have you seen the storehouses for the hail? Do you send lightning on its way, and does it report back to you, ‘here we are’? Can your voice thunder as mine does? Well then put on glory and beauty as if they are your clothes, and put on honor and majesty as well and let loose your great anger!”

If anyone has a reason to be peeved, it’s God. We were created to take dominion over his creation, to care for it, to tend it. To love and respect it. And that includes people, too. And what we have done is the opposite. We have ruined the earth, we are at war with each other and if there’s one thing this world lacks it’s love and respect.

If I was God I would not be so patient with us. I’d send the lighting. And some giant hail. To all those people who type “your” instead of “you’re” for a start, then I’d work my way up. Or down maybe.

I guess it’s good that I’m not God, and even better that God is love. God is love! And because of that, because he IS love, he is very patient with us. He must be, since we are all still here. Can you imagine God’s list of pet peeves? Since he’s perfect, it would include everything everyone ever has ever said, thought, done or not done.

Not only is God love, but because he is love, we should love one another – because anyone who does not love does not know God.

And, because God is love, those who are in Christ are no longer under a death sentence from God. We are now filled with his Spirit because of what Jesus did. Because he loved us! Because he loved us, we are free from the law of sin that brings only death – we are free to be who God created us to be!

So give me a break if I do my grammar wrong or forget the turn signal. And I will give you a break for your ebonics laden twitter updates. Maybe if we can all start to see each other as what we are – fallible human beings – maybe then we can start to turn this thing around. What do you say? I’ll give it a try – let it start with me, and let’s see where it goes from there –

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Trust And Obey

When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way!

I am bigger

I have never been good at obedience. Just ask my parents. Or teachers. Or bosses. Or friends…or anyone really. I have always chosen to go my own way. As a result, I have lived life going from one painful event to the next. But, oh the things I have learned! I know what doesn’t work more than most, that’s for sure.

Also as a result, I have never really learned to trust. Trust is earned and can also be lost. I never obeyed my parents, as a result they never trusted me to do the right thing, because I would not, and as a result, I never trusted them to allow me the freedoms that other kids my age had, so I just did whatever I wanted. Which earned me the reputation as a rebel. And I was in trouble all the time growing up.

I never did what my teachers asked, which resulted in grades much lower than I was capable of producing. I never did what my bosses asked, which resulted in me feeling like I was in dead end jobs. I could go on and on.

I am 48 years old, and just learning what children already know – obedience produces fruit. That fruit is trust. Between people, it is a mutual trust. When I am doing what I am expected to do, the person I am responsible to learns I can be trusted, and I learn they can be trusted as well – because I am given more responsibility, more authority, increased wages, etc.

Obedience where God is concerned is a little different. He knows who I am, through and through. He knows I am rebellious at heart. He knows I question everything. He knows the questions are deep and can’t be answered with pat answers – “This is the way things are; this is the way we have always done things; just do it this way.” None of those answers will prevent me from continuing to question everything. Not much will – not even a well reasoned, expertly delivered answer. I will peel back the layers and expose the weakness in your argument and expect more. And then even more.

With God, the answers are simple. Trust and obey. I am the way, the truth and the life. You are salt and light. Be a fisherman. Do the work of an evangelist. Love me and love others.

Hard to argue with any of that. But I have found ways. And it has produced a fruit in me that is rotten.

I do not trust God, because I have been disobedient. The fruit of disobedience is anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, not knowing who you are and where you fit or what your purpose in life is.

Obedience to God produces trust. And when we trust God, we will go anywhere, do anything He asks because we know that regardless of the circumstances, whether we live or die, He will be glorified, He will bless, He will give peace and joy. He will sustain us and we will finish the race.

So what now – what do I do different moving forward? I know the consequences of not learning to do things differently – I’m living those consequences. The path to trust is obedience, so that is what I will do. That is who I must become. I used to want all that life had to offer – great job, great family, awesome stuff…Now I just want the favor of God in my life. God knows me – He is not intimidated by my questions – because He has real answers. He knows me – and I want to know Him. So I will seek Him, I will obey Him. And I will trust Him.

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Healed

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

on earth as it is in heaven

(This is the part 2 of a 7 part series of posts on the vision of Gateway Church, which is to see people saved, healed, set free, discipled, equipped, empowered and serving.)

What do you think of when you hear the word healed? Or when you hear people talking about healing, or people who claim to have been healed by God? I’ll be honest – I used to dismiss it. Coming from someone who has led his fair share of Wednesday night prayer meetings, where we spent a significant portion of the time going over the hospital list, that should be shocking. I didn’t believe in it.

But, I found out that God does all kinds of God-like things, regardless of whether I believe or not. And I came to realize that there are all kinds of healing, not just physical.

There is plenty of evidence in scripture that Jesus spent a great deal of time healing people from all kinds of physical ailments. Just read any or all of the gospels. And his disciples did likewise. What I want to ask is, does that type of physical healing still happen today?

Think about it like this – in Matthew 6, Jesus tells the people that they should “pray like this.” And then He says the words from above – “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Does this mean God’s will is not being done on earth? No I don’t think that’s what this means. I think Jesus is saying that in heaven – in God’s presence – things happen in a certain way, for a certain purpose. That purpose is the glory of God. So, all things that happen on earth should be to the glory of God as well.

Is that they way things really are? And if not, what can we do to make it so?

Just taking a minute to think about my day, I can tell you I did not glorify God in rush hour traffic this morning. I’m just going out on a limb, but I’ll bet not many people did, or ever do. And that’s just one part of my day. I didn’t lie, cheat, steal or kill anyone today. But my thoughts wandered away from heavenly things.

I think as a Christian, it should be normal for us to encounter heaven on a daily basis, and to take heaven and the conditions that exist there with us wherever we go.

What do we know about heaven? And not from people who claim to have died and been given a back stage pass and personal tour of the place by Jesus. What is heaven like?

I think it is a wonderful, perfect, awesome, terrifying place – since we are talking about actually being in the presence of God. It should change everything. I think that since it generally doesn’t, it means that most of the time we Christians are not seeking to be in His presence at all.

On earth as it is in heaven. Revelation 21 gives a little insight into what that will be like. These verses describe a new heaven, a new earth, a new Jerusalem coming down as a bride, and God dwelling with man. Then there will be no more sorrow or pain or death.

We are not in heaven, but we are not of this earth either – as Christians, we are straddling two realities. We walk this planet in physical bodies, but we are spiritual creatures and God actually dwells with us right now! And as such, we have access, because the veil is torn, to things we would not otherwise have had access to. We have God’s attention. And He’s big enough to give each of us His full, undivided attention at all times.

To be in His presence is an awesome, terrible thing. We are to approach him boldly and humbly, believing that what we ask, we will receive.

On earth as it is in heaven – words Jesus said we should pray. I think it’s a lifestyle worth living.

And now back to my point – if there is no sickness, no pain, no sorrow where God is, and if He dwells within us, if we take heaven and His presence with us wherever we go, why do we encounter so much sickness, pain and sorrow? Is God doing it wrong? Are the ones who are sick or hurting or mourning the ones who lack faith? No! It is the ones who carry His presence – we are the ones who lack faith, lack boldness, lack humility. Nothing changes because we don’t believe, because we don’t pray, because we hide who we are and try to blend in and be just like everyone else. You don’t want to come across as weird or anything, do you? No. So you do what everyone else does – “Yes I’ll pray for you!” and you think those words carry some kind of power but you never take it directly to the One who can change everything!

I say “you” a lot above, meaning “me” actually. I don’t see healing on earth as it will be in heaven because of me. And I have actually experienced physical healing, and I’ve seen it happen with my own two eyes, and still I have disbelief. Why? I don’t know, maybe I haven’t worked all the “Baptist” out of myself yet.

But I do know this – in my head anyway – that wherever we go, there God is. And just like always, He loves us, and He wants to know us. I think as we learn who He really is, and as we learn to become His sons and daughters, we will also begin to see more and more of His Kingdom all around us. And I think that means people will be healed physically, both because of who we are becoming, and because of who God is.

What do you think? Does God still heal people physically? Have you seen or experienced physical healing? Tell your story below –

 

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Sometimes we will boldly approach the throne of grace. Other times we’ll fall on our faces before him trembling with fear and awe. He’ll let us know when it’s time for each.

http://www.freefallingonline.com/83/

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“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

– C.S. Lewis

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Zephaniah 3:17

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Strength through God

http://www.freefallingonline.com/63/