Tuesday, March 24, 2009

American Dream or Eternity

God is good! Tonight at service God showed up in a mighty way. I haven't felt His presence like this in a long time. He spoke tonight and I have to blog it before I forget it. He said "American Dream or Eternity". Pastor Stacey was behind the keyboard singing prophetically and it came out via song...."I don't want to live the American Dream, I am living for Eternity."

God quickened my spirit....what is the American Dream. To sum it up by the Bill of Rights it is "life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness." While this is all well and good....there are a few loopholes. Yes, loopholes....follow the train of thought that came to me if you will. Life per the American Dream is living to the fullest, but it is a brief fleeting thing. It can be snuffed without a moment's notice. It's living the dream of success and fortune....take a look at the news these days and you will see fortune and fame fade.

Jesus, on the other hand, left this home in heaven and died so we could have life abundantly. I have only tapped into a portion of the full meaning of this and I lead a pretty good life so far! I haven't gotten the fullness of the "abundant life", but I can assure you I live in a comfortable home and I haven't missed a meal. I have everything I need and nothing I want, but I am quite happy and content.

The American Dream says liberty...well what is liberty. Loosely translated, liberty is freedom. Yes in American thanks to others laying down their lives to fight for it, I presently have freedom....but again take a look at the book of Revelation & the news. The freedoms I have now are slowly but surely fading away. Soon it will be a one world economy and religion. Oh so soon we will all be forced to choose...take the mark or loose your head...I choose Jesus and refuse the mark right here and right now.

Jesus gives me boundaries yes...but oh the freedom within those fences! He gave me freedom from my sins. He has given me freedom from past hurts and disappointments. He gives me daily freedom from my flesh! The American Dream's freedom is fleeting away, but Jesus' freedom is a lasting freedom.

The American Dream says "pursuit of happiness"....did you get that...pursuit of happiness without the guarantee of happiness. And what exactly is happiness, is it just a feeling of joy? A brief moment of being content as when we get something we have wanted for a long time? Is it achieve by acquiring things to fill the void, the hole in our soul?

God promises that His joy will be our strength....note that joy! Joy is much more then a brief moment of feeling good. It is an internal knowing of the eternal promise of God's love & protection, of His provision and guidance. Joy is a lasting thing that can't be bought or sold, bargained or traded for. Joy is a free gift from God that has no limits and bounds.

I hear the Lord say, "choose you this day whom you are going to serve!" So serve the American Dream or the Eternal for eternity.....it's a no brainer choice for me. As for me and my house, I choose to serve the Lord, the Eternal One. Be blessed dear fellow bloggers and seekers of the Lord! May you as well choose well!

Two No Three Things I Learned About Me"

This week has been an interesting week for me. I learned 3 things about me...#1 I am a passionate person, #2 I am a sassy person, #3 God still loves me anyway! I am a passionate person in the fact that I love deep and when I commit myself to something I am one that sticks with it. I am passionate about my Lord. I also am passionate about helping those with addictions getting free, helping the homeless and feeding the hungry.

I am sassy....I don't hold back (to my detriment sometimes) with what I have to say. I say what I mean and I mean what I say...I don't mince words. Now sometimes that can be a good thing....especially in prayer dealing with the enemy. But sometimes it can be harmful to those around me and to me.

God still loves me anyway! God loves it that I am passionate about Him and the things of His heart. Matter of fact He delights in my passion and willingness to help others. God delights in the fact that I am sassy, that I don't back down when the enemy slings attacks at me. God delights that I use my sassyness for His kingdom.

There is a fine line that I am learning not to cross. I am learning who I am in Christ and what I was created for. Yes it kind of hurt when I was told I was sassy & passionate and how God wanted me to bridle that passion & sassyness so I can be bridal with passion & sassyness....there is such a subtle fine line. But then God used Oswald....isn't it interesting God using a gentlemen that wrote his own revelations many years ago to inspire and help me today. Oswald said "If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn't ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and HE will make it right." I just have to confess that "yep that is correct" and then just BE. I have to confess my weaknesses and faults and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.

So world....my name is Bert, I am a child of the Most High God, Yaweh, and I am passionate as well as sassy. I confess that there are times in my life my passion gets the best of me and I tend to be sassy. I ask You, Holy Spirit, to redirect my passion & sassyness so I can be affective for my Father, my King, my Lord.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yield the right of way

Gracious I have felt so out of control this past 2 weeks...I mean majorly out of control. It seems utter chaos at work, at home it seems like nothing I do or say is right with my spouse, & I have even been questioning my internal motive of following my Beloved Lord. So out of control to the point of tears & utter exhaustion physically & spiritually. And then Oswald.

I have an Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest" calendar on my desk. It gives me a scripture and Oswald's perspective of what he gleaned from each scripture...quite good yet quite piercing. It cuts me to the quick so many times but it is an exquisite hurt. The kind of hurt that hurts your heart that is so following God, but it isn't a physical pain such as a paper cut. This kind of hurt is a good hurt because it makes you question your own beliefs....do they really line up with the word & will of God or you own agenda.

I borrowed the book "My Utmost for His Highest" from my beloved shepherds & friends. They are such gracious Pastors....they love me unconditionally like Christ....still can't quite fathom why, but they do and they are always there to hear me out when I am out of control and help ground me and regroup me. I find myself thanking God for these 2 in my life. I pray everyone that reads this finds their own spiritual father & mother.....there is such a life of blessing when you do.....ah but that is another post....back to the one at hand.

Friday at work I discovered thanks to Oswald why I felt so out of control. Then I borrowed the book and got further insight....Thursday 3/12 was TOTAL SURRENDER - Mark 10:28 "Peter began to say to Him, 'See we have left all and followed You.'" Total surrender will always go beyond natural devotion. If we only give up, God will surrender Himself to embrace all those around us and will meet their needs, which were created by our surrender. Beware of stopping short of total surrender to God. Most of us only have a vi son of what this really means, but never have truly experienced it.

Friday 3/13 was GOD'S TOTAL SURRENDER TO US - John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave..." In our surrender, we must give ourselves to God in the same way He gave Himself for us -- totally, unconditionally, and without reservation. The consequences and circumstances resulting from our surrender will never even enter our mind, because our life will be totally consumed with Him."

Then came Saturday 3/14 YIELDING - Romans 6:16 "..you are that one's slave whom you obey.." The first thing I must be willing to admit when I begin to examine what controls and dominates me is that I am the one responsible for having yielded myself to whatever it may be. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame because somewhere in the past I yielded to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because at some point I yielded myself to Him."

So I haven't surrendered myself to Him, but I have yielded myself to myself. Ah the tricky "self" thing reappears in my life. Several years back the Lord prompted me to H (representing Him/Her) SELF....ok put it together HSELF....now spell it backwards FLESH....yep when we are working, operating in him/herself we are operating in flesh....but when we operate in Him we operate in Spirit....ugh...that flesh thing again. Somewhere I had yielded myself to my flesh again...the very enemy of my soul & spirit man! Where did I give into the wiles of my flesh? When? How? Then I read further.....

"No release or escape from it will ever come from any human power, but only through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. " So here I am, back at what seems square one....back at the altar of sacrifice. You can't get to the Holy of Holies without first passing the altar of sacrifice....to lay your bull on the altar. Then it is onto the brazen laver, to be washed and cleansed. Then it was to the entryway into the Holy Place where the priests would put on their clean garments and enter in to minister to the Lord.

Back to the altar to lay my bull upon it. My independence, my pride, my self preservation, my fears, my need to feel superior..and so on and so on. Lord forgive me for selling myself so shortly by yielding to my flesh yet again. Help me Holy Spirit to die out yet again to my flesh...but this time help me to really kill it, not just to stun it. Help me to yield MY right of way for HIS will of way which is the right of way.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Is This True of Me?

Still walking and talking with my King daily. Last night's word came out His mouth piece, my Pastor, out of the Song of Solomon 2:10 "Rise up my love, my fair one". God has been and still is calling His bride to arise & shine....to get up from slumber and to get back to His business. He said "prepare it, be it". I have been hearing the Lord call me, not by my earthly name of Bert, but He has been calling me "Esther". Like I have stated before, He has been calling me that off and on....now it seems more on then off! I have been asking the Holy Spirit daily, "what pleases my Lord today?"

The Lord in essence last night was calling His corporate bride "Esther". We need to stop seeking what pleases us, what is "comfortable" for us and to heed His word....to "rise from our 'comfort zone' that we have been building and residing in...to shine forth HIS light, not our own glory stealing agenda & works. Time to stop building our own comfy kingdoms and get back to building His. Tough word, but a most definitely needed one. The time my friends & fellow journeymen is getting oh so short....time to quit playing games and thinking there is yet another tomorrow!

So....today's Oswald caught my eye. "Is This True of Me?" "None of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself...." Acts 20:24. Oswald writes "If I have not been seized by Jesus Christ and surrendered myself to Him, I will consider the time I decide to give God and my own ideas of service as dear. Never consider whether or not you are of use -- but always consider that "you are not your own", you are HIS (1 Corinthians 6:19)."

Wow there is that word once again resounding, I am not my own. Lord let me get this head knowledge planted deep within my heart. Let me not consider "my" ways above Your majestic ways. Let me not consider "myself" above You. Help me Holy Spirit to be totally committed & submitted to my Lord, Savior, Friend & Bridegroom in the mighty name of Jesus.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tidbits on the Journey

I have been thinking about my engagement to the King of kings...wondering where did the time go, how did the transition happen and why did I miss it? Been getting a few tidbits here and there...what a better way to spend your Sunday then pondering those tidbits with Him!

I have looked at what it means to serve, but what is a friend. Yep consulted my friend Webster...don't you just love him and all his information....any who a friend is: a person attached to another by affection or esteem, a favored companion. His favored companion....yep sounds good to me. Favored -- having an appearance or features of a particular kind, endowed with special advantages or gifts, providing preferential treatment. Having an appearance or features of God, endowed by God with special advantages or gifts, provided by God preferential treatment. Aren't you glad you are God's favorite! Of course His word says He doesn't have favorites, but in an essence He most certainly does....His favorite is each and everyone of His created people...and God created us all so we all get to be His favorite...cool thought huh?

When we have a favored companion or friend we go out of our way to bless them. We do little things to make them smile and show them that we care. We look for and do things to help our friends. We are faithful and loyal to the things our friends put in our care....their thoughts, emotions, secrets, and sometimes personal possessions. Father God & Jesus take that same care for us, does little things to make us smile and bless us....a beautiful sunset that takes your breathe away, pinpointing out to us the Father's wonderful creation in the sight of a lone deer in a field on a foggy morning...ah majestic. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for His friends....He laid down His very life for them/us.

Somewhere I went from just a servant of God to being His friend. I didn't realize it but I was searching out the scripture to find things that He takes delight in like Esther. You know Esther went through 1 year of preparation for her one night with the King....she could wear whatever she chose to wear on her one night with the king....she could select the meal to be served...choose which jewelry to wear, what perfume to scent her bath with....but Esther chose only to wear what pleased the King, chose only to eat what pleased the King. Somewhere on my journey of serving Him, my desires and choices took a back seat....I started seeking out what pleased my Lord and Savior. I still seek daily ways to bless Him....I search my heart and sing the praises I find within...sometimes it doesn't sound much more then "I love You Lord" over and over and over again, but somehow it still manages to catch His attention, to bless Him and make Him blush. I was so focused on my Lord I missed the transition!

Now I am on the leg of the journey like Esther, the bridal preparation. I am reading a good book..."Completely His, Loving Jesus Without Limits" by Shannon Ethridge and I came across a passage that made me look upon communion with different eyes....from the eyes of the engaged. Ms. Ethridge writes "I saw a video series produced by Focus on the Family and narrated by biblical scholar Ray Vander Laan. Mr. Vander Laan explains that in biblical times a bride-to-be had a say in whether she would marry her potential groom. After he had negotiated a bridal price for her, the groom would seek her approval of the arrangement by pouring a cup of win and handing it to her. By this act, he was saying 'I offer you my life'. At that moment the potential bride had a decision to make. If she did not care to marry the man, she could refuse the cup. But if she was willing to marry him, she would take the cup and drink from it. By her actions, she was saying, 'I receive your life, and I give you mine in return.' Then preparations would begin for a wedding celebration, which included the grooms returning to his father's house to build an additional room where the marriage would eventually be consummated."

Think about the Last Supper....Jesus served the first communion. Jesus when offering the cup to His disciples was in essence saying "will you marry me?" I now look at communion from a different perspective....Jesus is asking me to marry Him and the cry of my heart is YES my Lord, YES. Jesus promised the disciples that He would prepare a place for them & you in John 14:1-3. How awesome is my Lord, that I am my Beloved's and His desire is towards me.