Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Never Lose The Hope That Is Ours in Jesus

A.W. Tozer devotional from today.

1 Peter 5: 8-9 NKJV

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

If unanswered prayer continues in a congregation over an extended
period of time, the chill of discouragement will settle over the
praying people. If we continue to ask and ask and ask, like
petulant children, never expecting to get what we ask for but
continuing to whine for it, we will become chilled within our

If we continue in our prayers and never get answers, the lack of
results will tend to confirm the natural unbelief of our hearts.
Remember this: the human heart by nature is filled with

Perhaps worst of all is the fact that our failures in prayer
leave the enemy in possession of the field. The worst part about
the failure of a military drive is not the loss of men or the loss
of face but the fact that the enemy is left in possession of the
field. In the spiritual sense, this is both a tragedy and a
disaster. The devil ought to be on the run, always fighting a rear
guard action. Instead, this blasphemous enemy smugly and
scornfully holds his position, and the people of God let him have
it. No wonder the work of the Lord is greatly retarded. Little
wonder the work of God stands still!

"Lord, show me Your power today. Increase my faith. Don't ever
let the enemy claim any territory because of my doubt and
unbelief. Amen."

Never think that the desires and prayers of our hearts in whatever congregation of the saints we find ourselves in, are not being answered in one way or another because our One True God who loves as much as He does would never not hear the prayers of His children, but He chooses the time and place to answer and sometimes that answer is not what we like but just what we need. Never lose hope, because our hope always must be in Christ and the finished work of the cross. What a glorious truth!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jason Upton

One of my new old favourite artists.....

For Clarification :)

The typical riches of this world are nothing to me.....more so every day.

Matthew 6:21,22 (NASB)

20"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Confidence in Him

Hebrews 4:16 KJV

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

From Tozer's on-line devotional.

You can have this confidence in God, and you can have this respect for His will. Do not expect God to perform miracles for you so you can write books about them. Do not ever be caught asking God to send you toys like that to play around with.But if you are in trouble and concerned about your situation and willing to be honest with God, you can have confidence in Him. You can go to Him in the merit of His Son, claiming His promises, and He will not let you down. God will help you, and you will find the way of deliverance.

God will move heaven and earth for you if you will trust Him.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Treasures Await

This is my last post on Authentic Relationships by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen. A great little find and probably a good study book for a group.

A quote from Larry Crabb similar to one that I like that is as far as I know anonymous.

"We are not our problems. We are not our wounds. We are not our sins. We are persons of radical worth and unrevealed beauty."

Not sure where I heard this but it has stuck. My treasure....Christ only, everything else dung.

"You, my friend, are an awesome spirit being of incredible worth and value, fully loved, no matter what."

Philippians 3:8-12 The Message

7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God's righteousness.

10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

Focused on the Goal

12-14 I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Freedom in Christ

"Our churches are filled with people who outwardly look contented and at peace, but inwardly are crying out for someone to love them... just as they are - confused, frustrated, frightened, guilty, and often unable to communicate with their own families. But other people in the church look so happy and contented that one seldom has the courage to admit his own deep needs before such a self-sufficient group as the average church meeting appears to be."

Keith Miller

From Authentic Relationships by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen

"Finding freedom from the tyranny of other people's opinions is one of the greatest joys of life in Jesus. As long as you live for other people's approval, you are owned by anyone who chooses to lie about you. We are to liberate people from the desire for approval rather than exploit it to get them to "act more Christian." Jesus did not come to train a generation of actors but to transform people to live authentically in the world."

"I love John Stott's definition of humility. In an interview with Christianity Today commemorating his eightieth birthday, this weel-known English author and theologian said that humility is "not another word for hypocrisy, it is another word for honesty. It is not pretending to be other than we are, but acknowledging the truth about what we are."

Living authentically is the freedom to be known exactly as we are - strengths and weaknesses rolled into one. People who understand God's heart love this way of life, while others less enlightened will expend their efforts trying to appear better than they really are."

Freedom is all about this to me but also all about knowing exactly who I am in Christ and who I am in and of myself. Thanking Jesus that He knows, He sees, and He is the One who has given me the freedom to live His life out as He lives in and through me, as me. Knowing this and understanding, appropriating this is true freedom.

Couldn't resist this clip.....Freedom....in country....a little different but what a motivational speech!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Oh Praise Him!

Inside Out

Answer to Prayer

Woo hoo!

My sister had an MRI last week and today we visited with the specialist in London to get the readings. As of today, there are no signs of any further cancerous growths, bits, anything in her body. She still has some strengthening to achieve and a few left-over issues from radiation but things are looking amazingly wonderful.

I thank all who have prayed, thought of and kept her in mind as you have read up on the progress or been reminded by Jesus at whatever times.

We as a family rejoice and I thank God for His Hand in all of this. The dynamics that have ocurred because of this event and the circumstances.....bring me to my knees and I am over the moon with gratitude.

I will take this gift and I share with you all that He gives and takes away but Blessed Be His Name, no matter what the circumstance and the outcome.

Praise You God!

His Compassion, His Doing

From Authentic Relationships by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen

"More than anything else, Jesus said our acts of kindness and sharing reveal the depth of our relationship with him. Those who are growing to know Jesus will find themselves giving to others in the same way he gives to them. That is why at the end of the age he can measure our love for him by the love we gave to others: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me" (Matt. 25:35-36). Those who didn't know Jesus questioned his words, asking when they saw him in need and didn't help. Jesus replied, "Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did ot do for me" (v. 45)."

"Our life in Jesus, or the lack of it, is demonstrated by our compassion for people in need. He looks at those actions exactly as if we are, or are not, doing them for him. His compassion is contagious. Once we have experienced it from his hand, there is no way we can hold it to ourselves."

This passage makes me a little uncomfortable in that it almost seems like it is what we are doing, or more so what we are doing for him. Terminology gets in the way of good thoughts some time.
What I prefer to think about what is being said is rather, that our Life which is Jesus, in Him and He in us, allows us to demonstrate His compassion for people in need. Also that our actions are from Him not for Him.

Have you ever been at a gathering of the saints and felt such an overwhelming sense of compassion, of loving concern, a depth of caring that you know is beyond yourself? I was at one such gathering on Saturday night. There was this real power of His Presence within me that totally took me by surprise. He was weeping for the people gathered, who were sharing some "issues", some of their stuff and He took over and priveleged me to feel what I am sure is a very small piece of what He feels for His children. It was awesome and real and it was His gift to me that night, tough as that is to hold on to because people are hurting. He also allowed me to let go of some of my stuff that night and let me only have a concern for others there. That is cool. Every person at this gathering was prayed for intimately.....that cannot happen at the OREC. Well, I shouldn't say can't because God can do anything. I have never seen or witnessed this power to this extent very often and it always has been in a small gathering. It blessed me and when reading this portion of the book, I couldn't help but relate this to that night..... kindness, compassion, and reaching out to people in need....strangers but not so much strangers as our brothers and sisters. God surprised me again as I took my eyes off of myself and looked at others with His eyes and His Love. What a wonderful life you can have when it is Life in Jesus and when He lives that Life in and through you. It is something you just know is happening because my concern in and of myself....never could be that deep.

The other cool thing was that we had some teaching on the passage in Luke 8:41-48, about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe and was healed. He felt power go out from Him to her despite the throng pressing in on Him. I began looking at this passage again and I think He knew who had been healed, don't you think? Why did He ask? She had to step forth once again, openly this time in faith, to acknowledge Him and His power. She had faith. She was healed. Not all are. But she was. She fell before the Lord, trembling it says but she approached Him knowing His power and having witnessed it. All the people around Jesus at this time and she was healed. He is an amazing God!

Just thought I would share!

Picture by Chad Bartlett

Down the Line

From the devotions based on the teaching of Ray Stedman.

From the start, the Scriptures take pains to point out to us that there are only two ways to live. There is the broad way, which many are taking, which looks so logical but leads to destruction; and there is the narrow way, which begins at the point where an individual stands alone before God and must make a decision, the narrow way that leads unto life, as God intended life to be lived (Matthew 7:13-14). Which way are you taking?

Young people are facing the siren call of the world, with its appeal to luxury, comfort, ease, achievement, and acquisitiveness. It is not that Christians cannot use these things. Paul tells us we are to use, but not abuse, the things of the world (see 1 Corinthians 10:23.). But throughout the Scriptures we are warned, "Do not love the world or anything in the world" (1 John 2:15). Do not make anything in the world the center around which you build your life. If this is all-important to you, you are doomed. Jesus said that if you try to save your life on these terms, you will lose it, but if you lose your life for His sake, you will save it (Matthew 16:24-25).

Let God heal the sickness of the human heart with its hunger for self-centeredness and self-exaltation through the working of the gospel, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ; then you can begin to live. It is the way that leads to life—life as God intended it. It may be that this life will not include in it luxuries and comforts, but they are down the line somewhere. God has these in mind for all His people. All that the heart hungers after will ultimately be supplied in Jesus Christ.

Lord, I choose to take the narrow path—the one that may not be the easy way, but it is the way that leads to life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Love, for the Day is Near

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law."

Romans 13:8 NIV

More from Authentic Relationships

"If we learn to love one another, we will need nothing more. We won't need commitment, we won't fall victim to expectations, and we won't be disappointed when others don't do for us what we have done for them. God's love demands nothing in return. What you will find is that for every thirty or forty people you love like that, one or two just might respond with similar concern for you. These are the ones with whom you will get to experience a depth of spiritual community that is unrivaled by anything else in this world."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sooo politically incorrect

The Incomparable Imperials

In other words .... It isn't about you!

Source: Authentic Relationships

"Jesus didn't lace his relationships with expectations, and he refused to be trapped when others sought to put their expectations on him. He disappointed Mary and Martha by delaying his trip to Bethany when they begged him to come and heal their brother, Lazarus. He didn't tell people all they wanted to know, nor did he heal people just to prove his power. Many misunderstood him, and others got angry with him, yet he just kept loving them as they were, gently pointing them to the truth and letting them decide whether to come or not. He refused to manipulate people even for their own good, and he was not crushed when they turned on him."

"The popular saying is true: "Expectations are resentments waiting to happen." We sabotage many of our relationships by imposing expectations on others or trying to meet theirs. It cannot be done. People who live with expectations will never be satisfied. Of course we can still love those who impose their expectations on us, but we will also have to find peace in knowing that we may never be able to love them in the way they demand it."

"Instead of letting your disappointment rage at whoever has not done what you thought he or she should, ask Jesus to help you trust him to bring whoever you need into your life without demanding that it come your way."

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Soft Place

From Authentic Relationships by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen

Some of this is what jumped out at me after a visit with "meeting of one" or "walking church" yesterday. There is so much stuff involved in being a "community". It may take us out of our comfort zone and it may make us have to share some of the unpleasantness of our flesh life and our journey thus far. Christ in us....knows all this and helps us continue to grow in that community as we listen to Him and extend His love, His forgiveness and His grace to each other.

I want Him in me to be that pillow, that soft place that safe place for people to fall.

1 Thessalonians 5: 14-22 CEV

14 My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn't living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone.

15 Don't be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else.

16 Always be joyful

17 and never stop praying.

18 Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.

19 Don't turn away God's Spirit

20 or ignore prophecies.

21 Put everything to the test. Accept what is good

22 and don't have anything to do with evil.

"Being a soft place to fall does not mean we become a doormat for everyone who wants to walk over us, nor that we ignore people's actions. Forgiving and accepting others simply means that we won't hold them accountable to us for their failures but will continue to respond to them with love and grace. Forgiveness frees us from the destruction others cause. It does not make us a further victim of it."

"We are a soft place to fall when we love people through their failures and hurts as God draws them closer to himself and transforms them from within. We will still speak the truth firmly but will do so with gentleness and patience. One thing that has helped me with particularly difficult people is the realization that hurting people do stupid things. Usually the more stupidly they act, the deeper their pain. When someone lashes out at me or treats me with contempt, I am tempted to respond in kind. When I realize that people who do such things are in incredible pain themselves, it helps me to be patient with them, hoping that my love and gentleness might open a door for their healing."

"For the body of Christ to stay relationally healthy, we will need to jump freely and often into the waters of forgiveness. We all are works of progress overcoming different weaknesses. The better we know one another the more we will need to overlook, but the rewards of doing so are great."

Let me listen to You

A Prayer from Tozer.

1 Samuel 3:10 NASB

Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for Your servant is listening."

Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to Thee, "Speak, for thy servant heareth." Let me hear Thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of Thy speaking voice. Amen.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Alison Krauss - A Living Prayer

My favourite song by this beautiful songbird.


More thoughts on Pagan Christianity by Viola and Barna.

This book is putting to death a lot of notions I have had. Even at the place of this process that I am at (very slow moving child of God) and knowing that "Church" and "church" are different and "Christ's Body" and what that looks like and all the "Truth" that I have thought that I was coming to understand and have been revealed to me. I am blown away by the things this book presents. One of my favourite passages so far....and I have a few....follows. I don't know if I am exhilarated, disillusioned or disgusted. I ask Father to take me through this book and open my eyes to what He wants to reveal to me, because on my own....I feel like getting back into the cave.

"The fact is that we do many things in our culture that have pagan roots. Consider our accepted calendar. The days of our week and the months of our year are named after pagan gods. But using the accepted calendar does not make us pagans.

So why is the Sunday morning order of worship a different matter than the type of chairs and carpeting we use in the place we worship? Not only is the traditional order of service unscriptural and heavily influenced by paganism (which runs contrary to what is often preached from the pulpit), it does not lead to the spiritual growth God intended. Consider the following.

First, the Protestant order of worship represses mutual participation and the growth of Christian community. It puts a choke hold on the functioning of the body of Christ by silencing its members. There is absolutely no room for anyone to give a word of exhortation, share an insight, start or introduce a song, or spontaneously lead a prayer. You are forced to be a muted, staid pewholder! You are prevented from being enriched by the other members of the body as well as being able to enrich them yourself."

Is this what I have felt for so long in the organized church? This prompting to stand up and be apparently out of order and reach out to the body of Jesus and Jesus, Himself. Why has He always been manifested in small groups and amongst few saints gathered together in my experience. The answer I believe is crystal clear. Sadly, I wonder where is the authentic church lead by Jesus and focused on Jesus and full of the Life of Jesus? Might it be in these small gatherings......?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Reign now

From the devotional based on the teaching of Ray Stedman...The Power of His Presence.

Reign in life--not in heaven--in life, now, at this present time. That means to control events, to govern the effects of life around us, through fulfilling the program of the Father and moving in the direction God determines. Redeemed man is never to be a helpless victim of circumstances.

If you read the events of our Lord's last week in Jerusalem, you will see exactly what I mean.

There He is, moving toward the goal that the Father has ordained, that He should die upon a cross. He sets His face like a flint to go up to Jerusalem and is constantly aiming at that moment He knows to be the Father's program for Him. But notice how He goes toward it in full control of every circumstance. He sends out the disciples to do the work that leads to His arrest. He dismisses Judas to go out into the night. When the soldiers come to take Him, He rebukes them, and they fall to the ground in fear. He could easily have turned and fled, but He waits quietly for them to take Him. The only untroubled person in all that troubled account is the person of the Lord Jesus as He walks in solitary majesty through all those tumultuous events. He was reigning in life. And that is what the Christian is called to do. The circumstances of our lives are sent by the Father--they are the program God has picked out for us--but our attitude in them is to master every event, not being taken by surprise.

How often we live defeated and crippled by life's challenges. Might we all reign in life through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Where are these one-anothering people?

How great this would be and where are they? Again from "Authentic Relationships".

"Please notice, however, that Jesus didn't say to "get love from each other." He told them simply to love one another. Whenever we focus on what others can do for us instead of what God might ask us to do for them, we allow self to rule the relationship, and doing so will ultimately bring disappointment and pain."

"Perhaps the greatest freedom of one-anothering is the freedom god gives us not to be focused on ourselves all the time."

"The more you experience the reality of God's love, the more you will find yourself sharing it with others. The last thing I want this book to do is to add to your list of ways a good Christian should act toward others. That misses the point. God doesn't want you to pretend to love others or to make you act like it. He wants to set you so free in his love that it spills out of you and touches others. It is an amazing process."

The last paragraph really sums it up for me......nothing in me or about me....it is all about His love and His Life in me overflowing and lived out to others.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

If He lives in and through us.....

Again from "Authentic Relationships".

"Healthy relationships, however, are not created by sitting together in the same building or participating in the same activities, but by capturing Jesus' heart for life-changing relationships. Throughout Jesus' ministry he demonstrated that the simplest acts of love and friendship could reach the most hardened souls and transform them."

"The early believers didn't see themselves as an institution; they saw themselves as a family. Church wasn't something they went to; it was a way of living in relationship with the Father and his other children. Indeed, having learned to love one another, they were unable to restrain themselves from treating others in the world with that same love. It marked them exactly as Jesus said it would - as children of God in a hostile world."

"The world marveled at the early church's ability to live selflessly. They had become others-focused like Jesus, and the world was transformed by it. When the apostles summed up the early believers' lifestyle in their letters, they didn't mention much about their organization or their meetings. Instead, they wrote about their relationships and the joy of treating one another the way God had treated them."

Why is this such a rare thing to find in today's world, church, .......?


Again from Authentic Relationships by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen'

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People need help but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

From a sign on the wall fo Shishu Bhavan, a children's home in Calcutta.

Sharing Relationships With Believers

Not about what we "do" out of obligation but what we love to do out of Love. Realizing the difference between going to church and being the Church.

One Anothering (Taken from Authentic Relationships by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen)

Loving one another - John 13:34
Forgiving one another - Ephesians 4:32
Accepting one another Romans - 15:7
Bearing with one another Ephesians - 4:2
Being devoted to one another Romans - 12:10
Honoring one another above ourselves - Romans 12:10
Greeting one another - 2 Corinthians 13:12
Being hospitable to one another - 1 Peter 4:9
Being kind and compassionate to one another - Ephesians 4:32
Sharing with one another - Hebrews 13:16
Serving one another - Galatians 5:13
Carrying one another's burdens - Galatians 6:2
Building up one another - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Encouraging one another daily - Hebrews 3:13
Comforting one another - 1 Thessalonians 4:18
Stimulating one another to love and good deeds - Gebrews 10:24
Instructing one another - Romans 15:14
Admonishing one another - Colossians 3:16
Praying for one another - James 5:16
Confessing your sins to one another - James 5:16
Being of the same mind toward one another - Romans 12:16
Submitting to one another - Ephesians 5:21

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Simply Worship"

I attended a "Simply Worship" night at the Capital Theatre here in town on Friday night. The event is being pushed by Pastor Kyle Rolph(Eastwood) and our very own Kelly (Knox and Bible Club). The Youth Network of Elgin County is really the hosting body and it went over fairly well, however it is not just meant for youth, all are welcome. Let's say I enjoyed it. Two bands played. "Not Home Yet" and the Eastwood Youth Worship Band. No sermon....a little scripture, a few statements of how wonderful our God is and just music to worship by. The youth were tentative but hopefully it will stir their hearts to continue on with this. To be decided but probably the fifth Saturday of any month that has a fifth Saturday. There were probably 100 in attendance give or take....and the theatre could hold 250. Pray that this may evolve into something that God can use as an instrument of His Glory and that more "churches" across the city and county would step up and worship together as His Body in Spirit and in Truth. There were maybe four represented Saturday night. May this be something that walls and denominations are never thought about and that all children of God could enter into without agenda and without fear.

Colossians 2: 2-4 The Message

I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we've been shown the mystery! I'm telling you this because I don't want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or "the Secret."

Spoken For

Imagine Me

Kirk and Bono....Lean On Me