Tag Archives: Desires

What are you hatching in 2018?

I’m forever and a day plotting and planning life. Likely at least 99% of the time my plans never come to fruition. I’m a dreamer and a planner. But the question is, “Do they line up with the Master’s Design?” The one from the foundation of the earth. I tend to omit that theology when I’m in my scheming mode? Opting for the Shari approach of design and destruct.

The verse to follow in Isaiah caused this to come to mind as I was planning for the adventures of the Jesus Chick in 2018.

Isaiah 34:14-16

The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate. Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

God’s got a plan. He has one for the wise owls and even the nasty vultures that lay in wait to eat the spoils of the dead. He has mates for both and a life span of days, months or years. Only He knows.

So how does our planning and hatching of schemes come into play with God’s design? Does it matter? As we’re nesting, hatching and gathering, what’s God’s role? Good questions…

The Nest (Where we reside)

Funny thing about the nest building birds, they don’t need credit cards to get the job done! They’re not concerned with the latest trends or whether or not the carpet and drapes match. Without a plan, they just build with what’s on hand and God never fails to provide.

As 2018 stands just a few days away I’m thinking about where I reside in life right now. What has God placed within a hands breadth to make myself home where I am. Apostle Paul said that “ in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil. 4:11 and he told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Contentment doesn’t come easy in my nest. I want stuff… lots of stuff. I’m a gatherer of bells and whistles, also known as basses, guitars, fiddles and such. Songbooks galore and a coffee cup with the reminder of an adventure gone by. Stuff. But none of that stuff makes a nest or makes me content. It quite often clutters the nest and makes me feel claustrophobic. So what is it that I need in my 2018 nest to make me content? I ask God that very question. For me the answer was “security.” It’s what I have lacked since God put me in full time ministry without even so much as part time money. The is no money for stuff… or sometimes even bills.

The Hatching (Where we plan)

This is where I must seek God’s guidance. I need to feel productively satisfied. I need to see the fruits of my labor.  That sometimes comes in the form of web statistics. I love knowing that I have reached people with the gospel and encouraged their spirit. But counting isn’t always healthy psychologically; numbers do not always prove the fruit.

When I began to plan for the Minnesota mission trip, I didn’t even seem to have the support of many in my church family. As the time quickly approached and I wasn’t funded it left my heart sickened that people didn’t believe in me. The funding ended up coming from outside sources that were a huge blessing in the end.

As I begin planning for the 2018 mission field, that faith test is a reminder that it is God who provides, not people. If God says go and do, I have to leap forward believing it will be done, because His will, will be done.

The Gathering (Where we reap)

As the year came close to an end, I sat in church on a Wednesday night and my eight year old nephew looked up and me and said, “I want to be saved.’ I went through the plan of salvation, just as I had with his ten year old sister a few months before. I reaped the reward of seeds being sown in his life. That feeling never gets old. They are young and who knows who might be saved through their lives serving Christ.

It’s my prayer that my 2018 mission field is filled with souls along the path that God will design and the path that I follow will be without detour so that no soul, blessing or intent of God goes un-gathered. I pray that my ministry gathers support, so that I may freely serve without a financial burden. But if it does not, I pray that I will understand and believe in God’s design to go in faith and watch Him provide.

Ministry needs/desires (God knows which):

Three things that you can pray about for God’s provision for my ministry.

  • Recording equipment for podcast and music recording that would expand my ministry reach
  • A new computer that “thinks faster,” my HP has brain damage most days causing delays, reboots etc. Mainly frustration.
  • A new iPad… mine I fear is is on the verge of crashing and I use it often as a source of speaking notes and music.

What about you… What’s God hatching up for you in the coming year? I’d love to hear, I’d love to pray and connect to even more with people serving the Lord, or desiring to know more about Him.

 

 

 

I Settled for a Creek when I could have had the Sea

DSC_0048I’m never any more shocked at the depravity of man than when I look in my own heart. The selfishness and continual desires to feed my own will always amazes me. I wonder why I’m not spiritually satisfied until I realize that I’m too carnal minded to obtain it. I want “stuff”, to be entertained and to certainly not be inconvenienced. I want quick understanding of the Word so that I can get back to the business of the day. Ah… I can put God first and look holy so long as it doesn’t take too long. Yes… this trip has been a reality check for me. Our couple of day get-a-way served to remind me that I can experience that same feeling of rest in the arms of Jesus, from Calhoun County, West Virginia. And the view is every bit as nice.

Isaiah 48:16-17

16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me.

17 Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.

Get Close

Come ye near unto me… You won’t hear God from a distance. He’s not a shouter. There’s a reason that scripture has God speaking in a “still small voice because it is then that you have purposed to hear what He has to say. God is not going to vie for your attention.  Satan will yell and distract from afar, but God will speak as a friend who’s telling you the greatest secret on earth except it’s not a secret.

Get Real

God’s message (although tailored to our soul) is a universal message. He’s not an exclusive God He’s an inclusive God; He wants everyone to come to Him and hear what He as to say. From the beginning of time He’s been the creator of knowledge. Whatever it is that man discovers, God created it… how much better is He! He sends a message through preachers, teachers, friends, even the wind so that we may know what it is He needs us to know, He not only controls the message, He controls the messengers… He’ll make sure it’s delivered, but we have to be in a mindset to receive it.

Get Ready to Go

The plan’s been established and everything is in place for us to profit and receive direction and yet there always seems to be one thing standing in my way; complete obedience.

18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:

I could have had an endless sea of goodness from the Lord, but I’m willing to settle for a shallow creek. Oh the water is pretty, cool and good… but how much more God had instore.

On the Brink of Possession

Deuteronomy 2:31-33

And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land. Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz. And the Lord our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.

The children of Israel, after 40 years of wilderness wandering were on the brink of entering the promised land, and earlier on in chapter 2 God begins the journey with instructions to pass through certain parts of the country that are not intended to be theirs, but then came Sihon… and the Lord said it’s already yours, but not without a fight.

There are some beautiful things in life that I’d like to have. My “wanter” is alive and well. But for reasons, some known and some unknown, I have yet to achieve or receive. So this morning as I read through this chapter and heard God tell Israel, “move along, this isn’t your stop.” my heart sank a little. I’ve had to move along a lot in my 30 some odd years of adulthood. Most of which was for the same reason Israel wandered in the first place, rebellion, plain and simple. But now Israel is about to possess their portion of land, the day is finally arriving that they’ve longed for, but not without a fight.

My first thought was, “Why didn’t God strike fear in the enemies hearts and cause them to run, as He had others, why did they have to fight?” God not only didn’t strike fear in them, in verse 30 it says “But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.” God stirred up a ruckus.

A Battle Strengthens the Mind

God told them in verse 31 to “begin to possess” the land. It was mindset they needed to have before the battle ever began. I’m not a ‘name it and claim it’ gal, but I believe there are some things that God intends His people to have and before we get it we have to make up our mind that it’s ours. It may not be a tangible something, perhaps it’s a position in life, or a victory over an issue, but whatever it is you’ll know. Because God will give you clues in advance. It’s those desires of the heart that are for His glory.

A Battle Strengthens the Man

Much like the physical battle strengthens the physical man, a spiritual battle will serve to strengthen the spirit of man. If God gave us everything we asked for, we’d be weak and puny Christians; but knowing that our adversary the Devil strikes against us every day, I believe that God puts some training maneuvers in our lives to build us for the battle. The battle we’re in may just be boot camp.

A Battle Strengthens the Memorial

How many movies have been made from the wars America has fought? We love reliving those time of Victory. The victories of Israel according to history occurred in 1422 BC, and here we are in the year of our Lord 2014 remembering their Victory. It’s good to remind ourselves of the sweetness of a battle won, it encourages our hearts.

My ‘wanter’ still wants. There are desires in my heart that just may be on the brink of reality, but I may still have to fight. You may too… get your boots on soldier…

But I want That!

I-want-that-cookie

How many times have we said it? We know it may not be the will of God for our lives, but we want it. We’re not sure we can even afford the maintenance, but we want it. We have two similar, but not exact… we want it.  Color me guilty. We’re a spoiled nation. I’m never any more aware of it than I am when I speak to my friends in other countries whose idea of luxury is more than one meal a day; those whose meager belongings would likely fit in a grocery cart and I’m complaining because I don’t have the latest and greatest of some new trend that I’ll tire of tomorrow.

That wasn’t necessarily the case in Sarai’s day. What she wanted was a child, not an unreasonable request, especially for the culture of the day. But she grew tired of waiting and tried to fix God’s problem for Him.

Genesis 16:2

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

I posted a quote yesterday that I heard on Sirius XM radio on my way to work in the morning.~ “Worry is not believing God knows what’s best, bitterness is believing He was wrong.” I don’t know who’s thought it was, but I thought it was profound! And then when I added the story of Sarah to the equation later on in the day, I thought God may have just been trying to tell me something. Possibly He’s trying to tell you too!

It wasn’t that God didn’t want Sarah to have a child, but her timing was off. So in her attempt to fix God’s problem she created a problem for the entire nation of Israel. (Ishmael, the son of her handmade) is the root of the Arab nations which continue today to be a thorn in Israel’s side, and ours! Ahhh, but surely your decision won’t have a lasting effect? After all, yours is not a child, it’s a car, or a stereo, or cute shoes. As with most issues in life, it was Sarah’s heart issue that was the problem.

She had told Abraham, “the Lord hath restrained me from bearing.” To restrain is to “keep something under control.” It wasn’t that Sarah couldn’t have children, it was that the Lord was preventing it and Sarah knew that. She was in a sense saying “God says it’s not my time, but I believe it is.” Timing is everything, whether it be a child, a job, or something materialistic.

Sarah’s decision didn’t please God and it didn’t please Sarah. We find her later complaining to Abraham in verse 5 “And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.” If I’m reading that right Sarah still had quite the attitude and her relationship with the Lord may have been a little skewed. In my mind the phrase “the Lord judge between me and thee,” is the equivalency of saying “If you don’t believe me, just ask God.” Had either of them done that, we’d not be in the fix we’re in today in the Middle East. Sarah now expected Abraham to fix the issue.

Times haven’t changed much. We still play the blame game and wait for someone else to clean up our aisle. We need more prayer prior to our decisions for less problems afterwards.

Are you trying to rush God? Stop. Are you angry because it didn’t go as planned? Stop. If a wrong decision’s been made, repent and allow God to walk you through. If you haven’t crossed the line yet, now would be a good time to reflect back on Sarah’s story and consider the far reaching consequences of your decision.

If someone else’s bad decision is the issue, forgive and allow God to work through both of you.

If this message encouraged you, I’d love to hear about!

8 Words that Describe Life

baby feet

If you were to describe life in just 8 words what would the words be? That was the question I posed to my teen class yesterday morning in Sunday School. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Would those words change if circumstances changed and what might some of the words look like to describe God in the bad times? It was a great conversation starters! Word’s stir us. If I mention a word, like “fear” and ask you to think on it, it usually calls to remembrance a time in your life when you were afraid. The Word of God is greater than any word I could use, and has the power to stir your soul with ever jot and tittle. That’s God.

So when it comes to the Bible, why do you think we hesitate to read it? … not enough time, lack of understanding, conviction, you just don’t want too? I think that’s called rebellion. God created each of us in His image and for the purpose of having a relationship with Him. For me it’s an overwhelming thought sometimes to think that the Creator of the all the universe created me for Him. To have a relationship with Him in the manner that I have a relationship with my children. Parent/Child. But that’s how it is, and His word is the greatest and most easily understand way of communicating with Him and yet we take if for granted.

The beginning of our relationship with God began in Genesis

Genesis 1:26a

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

It was as if God was saying – They’re going to look like Us, and they’re going to like the things We like. What kind of things do you and God have in common? Did you ever think about that? It’s amazing when someone who wasn’t raised by their parent discovers that there is commonness that can’t be denied; looks, mannerisms, likes and dislikes. It was amazing to think that God placed certain things in me that He too likes, it was like He had a purpose for them…

Genesis 2:15

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

I’m pretty sure the garden didn’t have to have Adam’s attention. It was self-sustaining and no doubt glorious. So why would Adam have needed to “dress” it? When we get dressed we put on things. What could Adam “put on” the earth to make it better? God had made Adam in His likeness, to take care of things. That was Adam’s purpose, He couldn’t improve upon what God had given him, but He could take care of it. It’s true with us as well. We cannot improve upon the things God has given us to work with, but we can use them for His glory.

Romans 13:14 says “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” We’re not going to make the world better with man’s ideas. God put within us His ideas, but we often choose to ignore the very thing that would make us happy.

 Remember my question to the kids “What eight words would you use to describe life, well I’d use the first eight in Psalm 100:3

Psalm 100:3 says – Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

He is the Creator of life.

Much of the trouble we have in life comes from the fact that we’re always searching for “something” or “something better.” We’re never satisfied with what we have. God gave Adam and Eve everything they needed in the garden, and yet still they chose to search for the one thing they could not have. Satan has a way of distorting what we think we want. People question why God gave man the free will to make a choice of sinning or not. It was the gift of free will that made love possible, otherwise it wouldn’t have been love; it would have been an order.

If I were to ask you what one thing would bring happiness to your life what would that be? Have you forgot the things you once liked? Have you talked to the One who created you? He has a way of reminding us.

Consent to be Happy: Permission Required

 

If I asked if you had a desire to be blessed, I’m sure you’d say yes! I’d be concerned if you didn’t, but then if I followed that by asking what you’d be willing to do for the blessings of God, would you answer me? After all, we’ve listened to enough sermons to know that’s a trick question! It’s likely going to be followed by some “fun sucking, life altering, righteous living advice that requires way too much effort.” Or so Satan has told you.

I don’t believe that God places desires down in your heart without purpose. That is not to say that every desire is from the Lord. But…There is purpose in passion! Psalm 37 is a psalm of prophetic instruction. It does not say if you do this or that, you will live a life without sorrow or frustration; those who preach that have a lot of explaining to do to folks like David, Abraham, Paul and others who served the Lord with great sacrifice. But what it does promise is that there is a threefold provision to the Saints of God that is well worth every second you put in to service.

Promise 1: The Desires of your heart!

Psalm 37:4 ~ Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Who doesn’t want that? I have desires that I have yet to see fulfilled, but I believe they will be because they’re passions with purpose. They’re not fed by vanity or pride, thus they would be of the flesh and God’s not in that; they are instead fueled by a passion for people and to make a difference in lives. But even those could fail to come to fruition if I put even good intentions before God, which I’ve done many times in my life. But as I’ve grown spiritually I’ve realized that it’s all in God’s timing. Verse 7 instructsRest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him:

Waiting… not something I’m very good at, but it’s a prerequisite to faith. Faith is the evidence of things unseen; that’s waiting! And it’s not waiting begrudgingly, but instead like a child on Christmas morning, who knows those packages they’ve been staring at for 24 days have within them the desires of their heart! Woohoo!!!! That’s the kind of God I serve. He knows what I want, and for His glory He’ll provide it, in His time.

Promise 2: An abundance of peace!

Psalm 37:11 ~ But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

I will never be convinced that the unsaved have peace. They may have a false peace or sense of security from earthly wealth, but deep within them their soul is unsettled with God and there can be no peace. But to us who are saved – oh goodness and glory, we are given an abundance of peace! Even in the worst of times, when the world is crashing down around you and debt is around your neck trying to choke the life out of you, there is peace to the saint of God that is more valuable than the gold in Fort Knox. How? From meekness; the submission and humility in the life of Christian that does not show themselves arrogant in their nobility as a child of the King, but humbled that they’ve been given such a great position.

This takes an understanding of who you are in Christ. He preached it Himself in His sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:5 ~ Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth. He spoke it of Himself in Matthew 11:29 ~ Take my yoke upon and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. There is rest to your souls by allowing the God of the universe to handle the affairs of your life. It does indeed require humility to let loose of something you’re passionately concerned about, but it’s the only way to know if it’s a part of God’s plan.

Promise 3: Direction

Psalm 37:23 ~ The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.

The providence of God is a wonderful thing, if we allow it. Matthew Henry said it well when he said “By his grace and Holy Spirit he directs the thoughts, affections, and designs of good men. He has all hearts in his hand, but theirs by their own consent.” The Direction’s there, but only when we allow God to provide it. I won’t say it’s easy. I’ve had more battles with the flesh than I care to admit. But the truth is, and I know it to be, God’s ways are so much better than ours.

Are you struggling with something today? It fits in the bounds of Psalm 37… Give it to God, He’s way better at handling it than you are.