Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hunk a Hunk o' Burnin Love (Part 2)

 
 
 
We started this study in Exodus three and discovered right off the bat (southern for start) that while the children of Israel were crying out to God, that He was preparing Moses as an answer to their prayers. This is encouraging in itself, because it demonstrates to me that in the times that I am crying out to God, He is in the process of preparing my answer as well!
 
 
We looked at the first bold thing about this passage:
 
GOD PLANS FROM THE BEGINING FOR US TO BE WITH HIM.
 
As we continue in our study of Exodus three we immediately come face to face with something that we battle between our head and heart on.
 
2.GOD'S PLAN IS ONLY HEARD WHEN WE TAKE THE TIME TO LISTEN.

"And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;  And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt." ~Exodus 3:3-10

 If you will notice, from verse 5 on, God does most of the talking.

When we start telling God what we think He ought to do, we start listening to our own plans. Moses looked, surrendered, and listened. When Moses stopped to listen, he was able to hear a greater plan than he had for himself.

He had a job, lived close to family, a little coin in the can. I mean what more could you ask for right?

God did not spare Moses because there was a shortage and need for good, solid, God honoring sheep herders. He was spared for a greater destiny than the backside of a desert. By the way, so were you, and so were the names of those in bondage, that came to your mind on Monday as you prayed.

Goes back to workmanship by the way.

Like a radio frequency, when you tune God's voice into your life (Proverbs 3:5-6) you discover that this was a steady broadcast that has been going out over your airwaves since you were born. He spoke in the people that you have met, things you have done, and places you have been.

I remember when I was a kid, my family and I would go on these long trips in the car. Dad would turn on the radio and it seemed like he found the one station that never really came in clear. It was static filled and fuzzy. It annoyed the mess out of me (Southern for got on my nerves). God's voice was like that for me growing up. It came into tune for just a bit, then I lost it to the static of life. Then one day, God crossed my path with a person who helped me tune in the frequency!

When was the last time you remember hearing God speak to your heart? What did He say? What method did He use to speak?

Over and over again in Psalms chapter 119, we find the psalmist asking God to "Teach me", "Instruct me", "speak", and "help me know" your ways!

Don't believe me? Read that chapter and I challenge you to mark, or highlight every time the writer asks God to make His voice in the writers life to be known. It is really something powerful! The writer asks God to teach him to understand His plans.

I love that in Exodus three, when Moses turned aside to, "See this great thing" that God saw Moses turn and then spoke.


GOD'S PLAN IS ONLY HEARD WHEN WE TAKE THE TIME TO LISTEN!

3.GOD'S PLAN IS ABLE TO BE DONE ONLY WHEN WE ALLOW GOD TO LEAD US TO A PLACE WHERE WE CAN OBEY GOD'S PLAN.

As long as the children of Israel were in bondage, they could not be for the Lord to the fullest that God planned for them to be. There is a tremendous freedom that comes with serving the Lord from the heart.

Sometimes that freedom is something that you have to be led to, and being led requires you to admit that you need directions.

God's plan for His people conflicted with Pharaoh's plan. Until they were led away from Pharaoh, they were unable to fulfill God's plan. Pharaoh can be pictured as pride I believe. It is a "My plan is better than God's" mindset.

Let me just tie this study together. There are only two types of people in this world. Broken or Repaired. If you are repaired, then that means at one time you were broken.

Remember the names you prayed for last Monday? Would God let you play a part in leading them out of bondage? I would invite you to "Turn Aside" sometime today and let the Lord know that He has you if He would like to use you for that purpose.

The bush burning is an awesome expression of God's love for both Moses as well as His kids that were in bondage. It reminds us that God is very aware of our state, He hears our cries, He holds our destiny, and He longs to have us all to Himself!

Climbing with you,
~Dan


PS. Could God start a church from a divine appointment? You have to see this Saturday's post! see you then!

 


Monday, January 28, 2013

Hunk a Hunk o' Burnin Love (part 1)

 
There are many people in the Bible that I find identification points with, and one I had never really looked at before was Moses. I am absolutely in love with the story of Moses, so much that I may even re-watch the movie “Ten Commandments”.

I was able to have the incredible opportunity to teach an adult Bible class this past Sunday and right from the get go (Southern word for start) the Lord put this passage and event on my heart. There is a lot to it but if you go with me through this thing, I promise you that you will be challenged, strengthened, and edified. I would also like to invite you to read this passage with me over the next several days, and if something stands out to you, by all means post a comment and share!

We need to start with a brief introduction to Exodus chapter 3.
The nation of Israel was in bondage in Egypt. There was persecution, pain and suffering; and there was plenty to go around. Chapter 2 allows us to see that it was so intense that children were being murdered for population control. 
God spares a boy from the house of Levi, and this boy had an incredible destiny that awaited him. He is rescued from the Nile river and raised as an Egyptian prince. He grows up in the schools and courts of Egypt and appears to be settled in just fine until one day while out walking like an Egyptian, he spies an Israeli being beaten by an Egyptian taskmaster.
He "interrupts" the beating, and in fact interrupts so hard that he kills the Egyptian. You see what was in his head just crashed straight on with what was in his heart. Ever been there?
He was schooled in Egyptian schools. This guy took the course "Slavery 101", and read the book "Slavery for dummies". I mean this guy was raised to be Egyptian, but in his heart, he knew he was different. So much so that the message in his heart over ruled the teaching in his head.
So here he is, grown and alone running for his life. We find him in exodus three somewhat settled for the time being. Herding sheep and a family man. Was this why God spared him? Was there a tremendous need for good, solid, God loving sheep herders?
Lets look at something truly amazing!
"Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb." ~Exodus 3:1
I smile because the priest was kind of like the pastor figure. Moses worked assisting the pastor. "Here are the sheep I have been given Moe, you take care of them while I devote myself to priestly things". I am sure that was never said, but it made me smile :)
He is in the backside of the desert, and I am reminded here by the mention of Mt. Horeb that even in a place like this, God has a place where He will be manifest.
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt." ~Exodus 3:2-9
What an awesome encounter!
The burning bush was not just an amazing tourist attraction, this was GOD'S LOVE ON FULL DISPLAY!
You see God had a plan for His people! Did you know that God has a plan for you?
You see, while Moses was leading sheep what he did not see was what we can see in Exodus 2:23-25
"And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them." ~ Exodus 2:23-25
While Moses heard himself talking to sheep, God heard sheep talking to Him!
Both Moses, and the people of God were going to see front and center that:
1.GOD PLANS FROM THE EVRY BEGGINING FOR US TO BE WITH HIM
The children of Israel were crying out to God, and were completely oblivious to the fact that God was talking to Moses about how He was going to answer the cry that He HEARD.
God had a plan for His people. Exodus 3:7-10.
From the very beginning God plans for us to be with Him.
One of my all time favorite passages is found in Ephesians 2:10

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

Workmanship. I love that. I am an artist, and I love to use the talents I have been given to produce "Workmanship". It is a reflection of who I am at the core, by what I create.
I love Genesis 1:26-27
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." ~Genesis 1:26-27 
So God personally created us. Everything else he spoke into existence, but we were special! Workmanship...

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." ~Genesis 2:7 
 This was a personal, hands on creation. Can you see the angels watching this take place? I can almost see them peering over the portals of heaven and watching The Holy One personally form His creation. Workmanship...
 
"This looks nothing like the rest of what He has made!" I can imagine them saying.
"Look at the cheekbones and nose", they might have said, "This one looks like, well it looks like Him!!!"
 
And God called us, VERY GOOD!
 
Workmanship...
 
God planned from the very beginning for us to be with Him! I have to admit that I have trouble with this concept. I guess I have trouble with this because I know me. I know my failures, and the ways and frequency that I fail.
 
I am amazed at a God that knows me, and can still make statements like Ephesians 2:10, and Psalms 139:1-18
 
"O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." ~Psalm 139:1-18
Workmanship...
 
God designed Moses to lead His people out of bondage so they could be for Him what He made them to be, and do that unhindered by the oppressor.
 
God's plan for you and for me is to be freed from bondage and be for Him what He made us to be, unhindered by the oppressor!
 
On Wed I would like invite you to look with me at the second part of this event. As you read through Exodus chapter three, I invite you to ask The Holy Spirit to remind you of how He set you free from bondage. I also invite you to ask The Holy Spirit to bring to mind those you know that are in bondage to the oppressor. When He does, I would invite you to place their name in this phrase as you pray for them.
"Lord, I know that you desired from the beginning for _(NAME)_____ to be with you, and I ask even today, in Jesus name, that you would bring about their freedom! Keep me sensitive to your word and your voice and allow me an opportunity to help them, or another find freedom in you."
I cannot wait until this Wed as we look further into this chapter of Moses life! Until then...
 
Climbing with you,
~Dan
 
 
 
 Ok brother Dan, the devil has really been fighting me to respond to your post and I have decided to give God the Victory through this! First of all thank you over and over again for this blog. I have been following day one as you started this and can only say have been blessed from the words God has delivered through you. I have hit the Wall in my life and I'm sure there will be many more to come until the Lord returns, but to say that I must continue to trust in him. As I have been facing problems with certain circumstances in my family life with my husband always working, my children drawn away from the Lord and hear I am standing hear pitting myself knowing that God is hear with me at all times. All I can say is shame on Me! In this these times God as brought me to my lowest point and now I'm facing him in that burning bush, why is it that we know we should be going about it Godsway and we always think we can handle this ourselves? Well to be honest with God and yourself I have finally given this all to the Lord and know he will take care of each need I have given to him in his time Not Mine! If you could continue to pray for our family I would surely appreciate that. And thank you for the Awesome example you and your family had been in our lives. We love you and thank you for the friendship you have given us for all these years. Our prayers are with you on each devotion sent out and looking forward into what God has in store for you and your family. Love you all. In Christ Mrs. Brydon

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, January 26, 2013

What a way to die!




It was Steven Covey who said, "If you want minimum results in your life, then seek to change your actions or behaviors. If you want maximum results in your life, then seek to change your paradigm."

A paradigm is simply a lens through which you view things, circumstances, people, and actions. I have to be completely honest with you when I tell you that the paradigm through which I saw God and His working through me was pretty warped. I grew up in a very good Christian home, and my life was centered around very good Christian things. I memorized my bible, read through it every year, and even quoted it from time to time. Church was a main staple.

I used to think that my mother and Samuel's mother Hannah had a lot in common. Both of these mothers decided that church was where they wanted their kids to grow up. I have seen just about every "Flannel Graph" that there is. What is a "Flannel Graph" you ask? That was the old fashioned power point!

Despite all of these incredible blessings, my paradigm of God was severely warped. You see I knew about God, but I did not really know God. God was someone to be feared, because even though I knew He loved me, I had this skin crawl type of feeling that He was just waiting for me to mess up so He could pounce and make an example of me. As long as I kept my head down, we were ok God and me.

I am not really sure where I picked that up and that is the weird part. I just always saw Him as a background kind of person who was really disappointed in Dan, and chose to pour out His blessings and power in the life of those who took their devotion  to Him seriously.

That explains why I had spent most of my life really trying to win Him over.

 "If I can do enough things for Him, then He will love me more."

I know, crazy right?

I would look down on others who had "Lower standards" and automatically deem their counsel and views of the divine as low in value. After all, I did not do those things, and I constantly worked to keep myself spotless.

But deep down in my heart, very deep down, it seems like I always wanted to know God. I knew that I did not know Him beyond a mental ascent that He was who He said He was.

One day, I just decided that if He would let me get to know Him, then I would do it. Not as a boss, but as a friend. Not as the godfather, but as God The Father.

I asked Him if He would let me get to know Him.

This is where it gets a bit crazy. He did!

I will never forget the day that I came across this passage in the Bible.

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6

I sat there stunned. Here it was all along, right in front of my nose. I had even memorized this verse as a kid to get a pack of  fruity flavored certs in Sunday School. How was it that I had this memorized, and I had missed it? God had been personally inviting me to know Him, and been wanting to be an intimate part of my life...all my life.

In all thy ways acknowledge Him.

Acknowledge is a heavy word. My wife has used this big one on me many times. Usually it would sound like this, "Honey, would you just please acknowledge that you heard what I said?" or "Would you please acknowledge that was a red light you drove through?" The word means more than just a head nod. In Proverbs, God says that if I ACKNOWLEDGE Him, then He will personally direct my path!

The word Acknowledge means to search out, to discover. God says, "In all of your ways Dan, search for me, discover me, and I WILL personally direct your path.

What are my ways then?

I found where this word is used again in the same context.


"O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways." ~Psalms 139:1-3  Where I go, what I do, who I meet, what I think. Basically, every aspect of my life.

I can remember the conversation I had with God the day I read this. "So, if I search out and look to discover you in every place I go, everything I do, everyone I meet, and in every circumstance, you will personally direct my path??? This I got to see!"

That is when God let me see my path.

I was very happy to walk on the path that God gave me. It was designed for me. Father designed it, no you can't have it, don't even ask. It is mine.

As I walked on the path that God gave me, I came to a wall. Not literally, but it was there. Right smack dab in the middle of my path. I had come across these things before, and there was some times I got confused at them and why they were on my path. I had a routine I would go through when I came to these walls, some people refer to them as a pattern. I would become frustrated with God for putting them on my path, and I would just stop walking on the path that He gave me. But this time was different. I began to search out God in this wall. I did not understand Him and why He would put it on the path, but I trusted Him. God responded to me, and He helped me climb the wall.

When I got to the top of that wall, you are not going to believe what I saw!!!

Can I just show you?


video

There it is. Paradigm shifting stuff huh? The walls that were on my path seemed like a mistake, or worse yet, an intentional cruel infliction of pain. When you and I begin to search for God in every thing that is connected in our life we see His complete direction was flawless.

When my son was four, we had just moved to Alabama to work in full time ministry. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, and this was a wall. I remember that my son would pray for his "Guh-Guh" (four year old for grandma) every night. You have to hear him pray to fully understand this, but then if you have children or grandchildren, you probably understand just fine.

I would walk out of his bedroom after his four year old prayer meeting and have one of my own. "Father, how am I going to explain to him your plan should you decide to take Carol home? How do you tell a four year old that God loved his grandma, hears his prayers, and still allows this to reach it's intended conclusion?"

God gave me "The Man and The Wall". It was so simple. The step that does not bring us to Him is the step that brings us closer to Him!

Our response determines our future!

 I have not reached the top of the stairs yet, and if you are reading this, neither have you.

Stop for a just a minute and look back down the stairs. What have you learned about God? What has He shown you by drawing you closer to Him? What would you have missed had you walked away?

My son was four at the time. We had just sold our home in Illinois and moved across the country to Mobile Alabama. I had been asking the Lord to PLEASE let me serve Him full time in the ministry. We got a call from a church here, and I was thrilled. Finally I would be able to put all my time into full time Christian service! God did not bring me to mobile to live, God was bringing me to Mobile to die.

Seeking God, yet serving self can be a popular way of life. What I did not realize is that through this portion of the path, God wanted to teach me how to die to self.

I was very excited about paths and walls and steps with God, but I was still hung up on what I would be now able to DO for God.

God used Mobile to teach me that He did not want me to DO anything for Him. He wanted me to BE something for Him. The flesh is not always bad things. It can be good things as well. He brought me to a place where I could see the flesh operating in good ways, and die to it.

The flesh is simply this:

FINDING MY IDENTITY IN :
       A) WHAT I DO
       B) WHAT I HAVE
       C) HOW I APPEAR TO OTHERS

When you properly identify the flesh, you can see it just as heavily in the church as you can in the street. God taught me through an Friday night program, how to die to that. That program was one of the most important spots on the path God gave me to walk on. When I found my identity was in Christ, I found myself again, at the top of another wall.

Looking back, Mobile was a divine part of my path. God directed me here, and from here...who knows? But I will tell you this, I am having the time of my life searching and discovering Him. Not just my God, but also my closest friend!

I have not reached the top of the stairs yet, and if you are reading this, neither have you.

Climbing with you,

~Dan


*The video on this website has been published into a Children's book format and is availible for purchase. Please contact themanandthewall@gmail.com for pricing details.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Microwave better than i cook"





 
I think one of the greatest life sustaining inventions would have to be the microwave.
 
My wife has a little sign in our kitchen that reads, " I microwave better than I cook". I am fascinated by how the heat intensity can change what has been placed within the microwave. One of my favorite things to microwave is a marshmallow circus peanut. At ten seconds, it grows to the size of a loaf of bread!
 
I was sitting across the table from a couple who were going through some really tough issues. As they poured out the contents of their heart all over the table, I silently poured out my inability to the Lord. They did not need a patent, "God is with you" answer. They needed God to show up.
 
As soon as they finished speaking, I laid my Bible on the table and just opened it. Here is where God let it open to.

Matthew 5:43-45

VS 43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy."

This is not a love like we see love, this is a love that is only possible to give through the Lord Jesus Christ. We think of love for others through the traditional lens of "You love me, and then I will love you".
Some are even more mature and see love through the lens of, "I will love you, and then you love me in return."

God says, "I will love you, even though you don't love me. I will love you knowing that you won't love me!" This is the framework   for love that this passage is laid out in.

VS 44 -45 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. "

I read this passage to the couple and the reaction was immediate. Frustration mixed with brokenness.
Life had hit them with the unexpected… Have you ever been blindsided by life? I mean just slapped with something that absolutely stunned you?

 “Why would God do this?”

What the Holy Spirit helped me notice in this passage was absolutely stunning!

"God’s purpose not his fairness settles the circumstances of our lives!"

 It is the Apostle John who records this conversation with Jesus: 

"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." ~John 15:20 

Life is unfair by nature. It was not fair when Jesus went to the cross, but it was the will of God for Jesus that he go.

I want to do my best to illustrate the truth of this passage to you by making four statements about three very special people. These are people for whom Jesus Died. In fact, as we look at these three people I want to invite you to look for the choices they made to handle the hurt that God allowed into their lives.
 
1. God may bring Hurt into our lives, but our responses are what causes us harm.
 
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" ~Matthew 5:44 

If you could imagine a clear glass filled with water. It represents how we start in life. Innocent, pure in the sense of life's experiences. I think of children who need to be told about watching out for strangers, and not taking candy from strangers. They lack experience, and are innocent to life's hurts.

If we were to place a tea bag in that glass, it would represent hurt and pain. The glass becomes cloudy. What was once clear, now looks anything but clear. Hurts come, and disappointments come. The fact is, a clear glass will not stay a clear glass for very long.
 
2. We can choose to be bitter
The first person I would like to look at is this man Ahithophel.

"And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom."        ~ 2 Samuel 16:23

This Ahithophel was absolutely a valuable man to have on staff. He was trusted. He was trusted because he was proven. If you have acess to a person like this in your life, you are truly blessed!

Something happened in the Life of Ahithophel. Some of that Matthew 5:44 and 45 stuff. Something was allowed by God onto his plate. He was, like many of us have been and possibly some of us may be, stunned and angry.
 
"Moreover Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Let me now choose out twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue after David this night: And I will come upon him while he is weary and weak handed, and will make him afraid: and all the people that are with him shall flee; and I will smite the king only:" ~ 2 Samuel 17:1-2 

I will scare everybody but David… This guy I want to Kill!!!

What happened? David went from praying for his men I am sure to a recorded prayer asking God to confuse the counsel of this man?This was family? What happened?

More of this Matthew 5:43- 45 stuff. you have to look in the genealogies to find the answer for Ahithophel's hatred for his one time friend.

"Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,"  ~2 Samuel 23:34
Please notice Ahithophel's son. Got it? Alright, now look at the Matthew 5:43-45 stuff.

"And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"  ~ 2 Samuel 11:3 

David Sinned! God did not condone it, but He gave David the ability to make a choice. The choice had powerful ramifications. It tore Ahithophel's world into pieces. Bathsheba was his granddaughter. What was going through the mind of Ahithophel?
"David, you knew before you acted. How could you do this? This was my family! It was wrong, and it was unfair, and I did not invite this to happen in my life."

When the microwave started Ahithophel somewhere along the way said,  “God, open the door and let me out.”
You see, God's microwave is an uncomfortable place to be. It is constricting, and it is intensely hot. You feel like you are in a circumstance that seems to go round and round, and you feel like you are changing form so rapidly that you cannot stand it. The heat is turned on, and the tea within the glass begins to boil. Most people react to the heat, by demanding God open the microwave door, or forcing the microwave door open to escape the pressure. This will produce a glass of lukewarm tea at best. Bitter to the taste.
 
We can choose to be bitter, or...

3. We can choose to be better
There is a second person I would like to look at.

"And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. "  ~ Genesis 39:2-3
Joseph had the glass clouded with his brother's betrayal, his father's oversight, and the wife of Potiphar. He was thrown into a prison, or for sake of our thought here, God's microwave.

"But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison."  ~ Genesis 39:21
As the microwave tray went round in circles, notice the effect of the tea in the glass.

"The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper."   ~Genesis 39:23

When the timer for the microwave dinged, the tray stopped and the door opened, you  can almost smell the sweet savor that came from the glass called Joseph.

"And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house."
~Genesis 41:50-51
 
When he had the power to hurt back, the flavor in the glass was absolutely DYNAMIC!

 "And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them." ~Gen 50:19-21 
I started this post by wanting to do my best to illustrate the truth of the Matthew 5:43-45 to you by making four statements about three very special people. These are people for whom Jesus Died. In fact, as we looked at these three people I wanted to invite you to look for the choices they made to handle the hurt that God allowed into their lives.
 
A) Ahithophel became bitter in God's Microwave.
B) Joeseph became better in God's microwave.
The third glass belongs to you and to me. The glass started out clear, but over the years, contents have been added that we did not ask for, and the microwave has started to hum. The timer (That we cannot see) has been started, and the 4th statement is ready to be looked at.

4. Ultimately the choice is ours to make…. Bitter or Better

 Matthew 5:43- 45 is impossible to perform outside the person of Jesus Christ in us. God never promised easy, but He always promises possible!
I wish I could say that I have handled every microwave experience better than I cook, but I cannot. It is my goal to stay in until the timer dings, so that, through Christ I can emerge Better not bitter!
 
Climbing with you,
~ Dan

 p.s. I cannot wait until you see the post this Saturday! "What a way to die!"

Sunday, January 20, 2013

God's created picture of us


I wanted to start this blog for several reasons.

 One of the main reasons is that I wholeheartedly believe and claim Ephesians 2:10 as my life verse, and one of the most revealing passages of scripture in the Bible about the heart of God.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

I have been given a gift.

I have had the incredible opportunity to sit across the desk of some of the most incredible people that God has created.

No, they had never composed a world renowned piece of music, or created classic art. They had in fact never achieved what the world would considered any success. In fact, at one time they would answered to any of the following names in a family get-together: "Loser, drug addict, drunk, hopeless, down and out, burden, waste, trash, loose, shame, or black sheep."

I consider them to be some of the most incredible people God has ever created because they were able to finally come to the end of themselves and see the colors on the canvas of their life as God saw them when He allowed them to be applied. Additions and blends that He used to create His workmanship!

I created the picture posted to this blog as an act of love for my, at the time I drew it, two year old son. I wanted to capture one of my favorite moments with him. I wanted to remind myself that he was MY son. He was mine regardless if his actions pleased or displeased me. He was mine in the successes and he was mine in the failures. I also wanted to capture this moment to remind him, that I was HIS dad. I was his dad regardless if his actions pleased or displeased me. I was his dad in the successes and I was his dad in the failures.

What I have found in my journey in Christ is that our life is very much like a picture of a father and his son or daughter. God allows colors (Circumstances) into our life through our free will and the free will of others. Notice I used the words free will, this is not always the same as God's will.

God allows color to our canvas (Life) in order to show us His desired picture, A Father who carefully and attentively holds us close to Him.

As I would sit across from people who were finding freedom from addictions, I was able to see people who for the first time, looked at the colors God allowed on the canvas, not as careless slops of paint, but careful deliberate additions to bring about a picture that reflects a Father's heart to His child.

The more I would minister to these "Lost Sheep" the more the passage in Ephesians began to stand out to me. I began to become consumed with the pursuit of identifying God's brush strokes in our lives. I was reading the book of proverbs one morning, and as I entered the third chapter the bottom fell out. Here it was, the story of our lives, and it was right here all along.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6

God gave us a path to walk. The problem however is that as we walk the path that God has given us, we find that we come to a wall. Walls are circumstances and difficulties. You see, God never promises easy, but He does promise POSSIBLE!

The walls on our path seem wide and impossibly high. Most of us look at the wall and then look up in frustration at the God that allowed it and decide that since we do not understand the wall on the path or the God that allowed it, we will stop walking on the path. The incredible thing about this wall is that if we simply ask God for the strength to climb the wall, we discover that it was never really a wall after all. It was a step. It was a step that was designed to bring us closer to God!

I wanted to start a blog to specifically deal with those walls. I want to help people identify the brush strokes of God in their life!

Climbing with you,

~Dan