Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is God Worthy?

Before answering that question, one must make a decision about determining worth.  If I want to assign worth to an object, I would ask myself questions such as:  What is that object good for?  Is there a use for it?  How easily can it be obtained?  —the rarer the object, the more value it might have. 

The revelation I received had to do with a simple scripture in Leviticus 22.  That chapter contains instructions about proper offerings to the Lord.  Nowhere in the instructions did God say sacrifices needed to be done in a particular way because He is worthy.  There is nothing that says that God deserves the best.   Nothing about why sacrifices needed to be without blemish. 

We tend to do things quid pro quo.  If God does things the way we like, He becomes worthy of our praise.  He, then, deserves our worship.  We offer sacrifices to God based on how we judge Him to be.  If we see Him as weak, we give defective offerings.  Why not--what has God done for me lately?

The best analogy I could think of is the coronation of a king or queen.  Say that Queen Elizabeth retires and Prince Charles is crowned King of England.  Whether people believe Prince Charles is a worthy monarch or not makes absolutely no difference.  Prince Charles would receive a royal crown, not a paper crown from Burger King.  It has absolutely nothing to do with credentials, experience or even capacity for ruling.  Simply being king is enough.  Period.  Isn’t God due at least as much?

In the church, there is a warped perspective.  People stand in judgment of God to determine His worth.  God’s worthiness of praise or worship or honor is not based on our determination of how He has lived up to our standards for a god.  That is completely immaterial.  Neither does He wait for us to decide what we should give Him as though we are sitting in the seat of judgment. 

As ministers, we tend to try to prove to the people that God is worthy.  We tell them all the great things God has done or even share His attributes.  The people respond by making a judgment based on their carnal thinking of what God is worth. 

Throughout Leviticus 22, God tells why people are required to give their best.  It has nothing to do with what they think about God.  He simply says: “I am Yahweh.”  “I am God”  “I am the Lord” 

Leviticus 22:31-33:  “You are to keep My commands and do them; I am Yahweh.  You must not profane My holy name; I must be treated as holy among the Israelites.  I am the Lord who sets you apart, the One who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the Lord.”

The church needs to stop trying to defend the Lord God as if He were up for election.  When we do that, we waste our breath and demean God by bringing Him down to the judgment of man.  Instead, we must declare His Holy Name and let the people suffer the consequences if they choose not to reverence Him.

In this apostate age in which we live, humanity expects God to be at their beck and call.   But that is not how any kingdom works.  When the king calls, his subjects must respond, or else!  How much more so with the Heavenly Kingdom.  Yes, we walk boldly into the throne room of grace but we must never forget that we are in the presence of GOD!

In sharp contrast, there is one place in scripture that loudly declares the worthiness of the Lord that is completely based on works.  [I see a coronation correlation]  I think that should be enough for anyone. 

Rev.  5:9-10:  And they sang a new song:  You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed [people] for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.

My prayer:

Lord, I have heard the report about You;  Lord, I stand in awe of Your deeds.  Revive [Your work] in these years; make [it] known in these years.  In [Your] wrath remember mercy!             Habakkuk 3:2


Monday, May 16, 2011

Why, Lord?

The marriage fails. The child dies. Cancer claims one more victim. What does one say in the face of tragedy?

As Christians, our hearts scream that we must say something. We look for answers for the hurting souls and there are none. Does it help to say God loves you? Does it help to say the devil is trying to destroy you? Does it help to say anything? Before we can comfort others, we need to see how the Lord brings comfort to us.

Scripture is full of stories of people who had terrible tragedy in their lives. Job lost all of his children and everything he owned. David's child died. Jephthah lost his daughter because of a rash vow. The New Testament was written by men who were martyred. Obviously, being a believer does not make one immune from tragedy.

Knowing that others have suffered tremendous loss does not bring me comfort. Even if I have suffered the same devastation as you have, you are not at all comforted by my loss. In fact, the magnitude of suffering in the world only adds to our frustration. Unlike the unbelievers, we know we cannot shake our fist at God. We know that He is sovereign and is in complete control. We know that He nevers leaves us forsaken. Yet we feel that circumstances are out of control and we feel alone in our grief. In our hopelessness, we look to heaven and say through our tears, "Why, God?"

That was the question of Jesus on the cross. "My God My God. Why hast Thou forsaken Me?" If anyone knows the Father, it is Jesus. He knows all of the scriptures and the right words to say. Yet he cried out, "Why God?"

Lately, I have considered the earth-shattering circumstances around me. My friend died of cancer. I watched people make absolutely stupid decisions that led to the destruction of marriages. Alzheimer's steals the minds of my friends. Children die in a fire. Bad things happen to good people. As events pile up, I sob in anguish because of my pain and loss.

I replay each incident in my mind. Was there something that I could have, should have done differently? What if I had prayed better, more, or at all? In my frenetic thoughts, there is a peace within that tells me there is nothing I could have done to change the outcome. In that moment, I feel the words rising up within me, "Why God?"

I am not accusing the Lord I love. My fist is not shaking in anger. With broken heart, I am looking for an answer that will give me the hope to continue standing in faith. 

The answer comes in the reassuring still small voice that simply reminds me that God is God.  Remembering His attributes tells me:  "I more than have it covered.  Just sit and rest in Me and wait.  Take this moment to know that I have not left you alone to fend for yourself.  Take this time to allow My Spirit to breathe over you.  There will be another day for fighting but today is Our day."

So today, I won't try to answer the questions of those who are suffering.  That doesn't mean I don't care.  That just means that I will allow God to answer for Himself.  And I will enjoy the presence of Abba Father.  Perhaps I should hang up the "Do Not Disturb" sign.   

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Shaking has Begun

On July 7, 2010, the Holy Spirit gave a word of prophesy to me. Since then, my life has been a continuous earthquake as I have watched my family get shaken. My knees have weakened. My soul has become downcast. The weight of discouragement has nearly crushed me. "Yet I will triumph in the LORD; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation" (Hab. 3:8. HCSB) It is time now to shake off the dust and ashes and rejoice loudly for MY GOD REIGNS! Even now, the enemy has been defeated and we can shout VICTORY IS THE LORD'S!

The Shaking Has Begun...
July 7, 2010

Whatever a man places his trust upon--that will I shake. If a man places his trust upon a relationship, that will be shaken. If a man places his trust upon worldly wealth, that will I shake. If a man places his trust upon a government, that will I shake. If a man places his trust upon worldly wisdom, that will I shake.

The earthquake has already begun. The shaking will effect every man, woman and child on the earth. I will bring out of this shaking a pure spotless bride who puts her complete trust, faith, honor, and glory in Me and Me alone.

As an earthquake causes a great divide on the surface of the planet, so this shaking will cause a great divide in humanity: those who trust and serve their God and those who curse Him.

Do not fear the shaking. Every person's crutches will be revealed. Do not say to yourselves "I trust only God" for all have fallen short of the glory that I would display among my people.

Be ready to gather those who have been freed from their worldly connections. Although they are free, it will appear to them as devastation. Do not try to fix what is being broken. Trust in Me and My purpose for all things are being formed, shaken, and reformed for My good. Watch, my child. Watch, my children. Do not fear in this fearful time. As I said "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also heaven." [Hebrews 13:26]

Look for the signs of the shaking and rejoice. when you are shaken, rejoice. My glory is near at hand and will soon be revealed. the trump is at My lips and will soon sound. The Bride is making ready for Her Groom's return.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quick Plants for the Harvest

For the past few days, I've been thinking about the need for quick-growing seeds. No, I am not doing any gardening. [In fact, I planted my garden plot with grass seed this year so I don't have to take care of it.] I'm talking about kingdom planting.

Today I did some research on a fast-growing seed. This plant goes from seed to harvest in 30-60 days--the dryer the soil, the quicker it grows. Within a few weeks, it grows from seed to more than 3 feet tall. Are you ready for this? Its new seeds grow in a pod that explodes and casts the seeds far and wide so it spreads like crazy. In fact, growers are warned to collect the pods before that happens or this plant will completely take over their garden.

It was this seed that Jesus compared to the Kingdom of God:

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It's the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, it's taller than the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches." Matthew 12:31, 32

When gardening, we usually don't want our plants to go to seed. It is possible to grow mustard that way. Carefully trimming the shoots, we could make wonderful mustard greens that are yummy to eat but do not reproduce. I think we have enough beautiful greenery around in the church today. We need stalky seed producers that reproduce so quickly that nothing can stop them. I need to plant quick seeds and let them grow. The land is very dry so the growing conditions are perfect. I can’t control where they are planted either so I won't try to collect the pods before they explode. I want them to grow and spread as far and as fast as they can.

What’s the hurry? It is not a far stretch to think we are in the end of the last days, as described in the Bible. It seems as if the Apostle Paul took a time machine to our present day when he wrote to Timothy:

But know this: difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of religion but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

There was a time when a Christian could be born again as a child, grow and be discipled for 20 to 30 years, then they "went to seed" and reproduced by sharing the gospel. The seasons for growth were long and there was much tending to do in the garden. I think those days are gone. God wants us to be planting His quick growing seed--the way it was in the early church: Today a person is born-again... Tomorrow they are baptized... The next day they are ministering... Do they have all of the right doctrine and knowledge? Hmm. Maybe, maybe not. But is God looking for the wise and cultivated fruit? Or is He looking for a quick harvest in the little time we have left.

Hear this! The days are coming- the Lord's declaration- when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the one who treads grapes, the sower of seed. The mountains will drip with sweet wine, and all the hills will flow [with it]. Amos 9:13

That is faster than I can fathom. Someone is out collecting the harvest and the plowman is already preparing the field for new crops. Run, reaper!!! Get your harvest before it gets plowed under. The seed is growing so fast that the fruit is being processed before the seed gets in the ground. This is Kingdom growth completely out of our control--very different from the slow, laborious process we usually take in discipleship.

There is work to do! We don't have time now to slowly digest what scripture the pastor used in his message last Sunday, savoring the options for our lives. We must be ready to work at the last-days pace. We have to eat on the run--we need the word of God and His presence every minute, wherever we are. With eyes of faith the size of that mustard seed, I am ready to see the Lord’s Kingdom come. Lord, give me the strength to keep up the pace!

First, be aware of this: scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, following their own lusts, saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation." They willfully ignore this: long ago the heavens and the earth existed out of water and through water by the word of God. Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded by water. But by the same word the present heavens and earth are held in store for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. Dear friends, don't let this one thing escape you: with the Lord one day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years like one day. 2 Peter 3:3-8

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ready for Battle

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to be a soldier in the Lord's army when the body of Christ united in prayer via the Facebook site "Pray for David Camp", a young man who was seriously injured in a car accident. More than 7,000 prayed in one accord and saw miracles happen. There were common visions and words of scripture shared. Even David's passing and funeral brought glory to God.

Since then I have taken what I learned about prayer and retooled my old mindsets. Intercession is really all about obedience, not just praying what I want to pray nor applying my hand-picked scripture passage. Intercession is praying what God shows me and then I doing what He says. Small obediences, step-by-step, grounded in prayer allow His will to be done on earth. As we take small steps by faith, angels go forth in power.

In the spiritual battlefield of the last days, the souls of men are in the balance. How we wage war determines how God's glory will be displayed. Although in my own wisdom, I can conjure up a "battle plan" that will save myself, my family, my friends and many others, God's glory will not abide in the plans of man. God is the only One that knows the best course of prayer and action.

In the days ahead, we need to be ready for battle, but not for a carnal war:
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and very high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." 2 Cor. 10:3-6

As a foot soldier in the Lord's army, I need to be ready for battle, taking to heart every word my King speaks--by His still small voice or through the scriptures--and then fulfilling them step-by-step. Active listening through prayer and then obedience: I need to practice it again and again so it becomes second nature to me.

In order to practice prayer and obedience, I first need to be available. So today, I am available, Lord. I turn my thoughts away from the list of pleasures and distractions of life and I listen carefully to Your voice. As I practice today, I am confident that You are making me ready for Your battle. Just like I saw victory as the army of God prayed for David Camp, I will see Your victory in the battles ahead of me today. Amen

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Missing Out on the Good Stuff

I'm not a very daring person. Even if I'm not the first one to step out of the boat, I like to be where things are "happening". I must admit, I love Holy Ghost goosebumps. I like experiencing the manifestations of God's power first hand. Maybe I'm not the one that starts the activity but I sure like being on the edge of excitement.

Today God was teaching me about my fear of missing out. I had no idea how much of an issue it is for me. When I hear about what the Holy Spirit is doing in my absence, I feel like I totally missed out. Down deep in my flesh, I'm sorry to say, I actually get a bit resentful and jealous because others got to experience something with the Lord that I didn't. My face may look smiley but when I hear the words, "You missed a great service!", my heart sinks. (Isn't it amazing that the services you miss are always the great ones?)

Today I had a choice to make. On the calendar, there are two meetings scheduled for the same time 15 miles apart. One meeting is guaranteed to be full of revelation and Holy Ghost goosebumps. The other is most likely to be mundane and possibly even boring. Of course, I chose the prayer meeting. I had told people I would be there and I was all excited to go. Last night, the Lord woke me up and impressed on my heart that I needed to go to the other meeting. I tried to ignore Him, pray His urging away, and even sleep through it. Nothing worked. So today I was inwardly moping, thinking about all I would miss by begrudgingly obeying the Lord.

My attitude changed abruptly during prayer time this morning. I was praying for heaven and earth to move, yet I didn't allow God to move me! The Holy Spirit asked, "Do you really mean your prayers for My will to be done when you are more interested in satisfying your fleshly need for goosebumps than in obeying?" Of course, I was undone.

God has a bigger plan than I can imagine. He gave me the opportunity to be part of His plan. He said, "What if I want to attend the meeting through you?" Wow! I can't think of a bigger blessing than that. For the love of the flesh, I nearly missed out on the truly good stuff.

Lord, today I thank you for your loving-kindness and patience towards me. My fear is gone and I'm not missing a thing!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Prayer: More than a Privilege

Prayer is more than just an awesome privilege given from the Lord to His children. My thought for today is about the authority and responsibility that comes with that privilege. Whenever authority is transferred from one to another, responsibility goes with it. One could say, "I gave you the authority. Now you are responsible!"

The same is especially true in the Kingdom of God. Because God transferred authority, unless I fulfill my responsibility to pray, it is as if God's hands are tied. If I don't pray, God will not act to answer what I should have prayed. When I do pray, the spiritual powers in heaven are activated to answer the prayer. Praise the Lord that He doesn't require us to move heaven and earth on our own. He just expects us to pray and do the little we can and He will do the rest.

James tells us:
2 You want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can't possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it. 3 And even when you do ask, you don't get it because your whole motive is wrong -- you want only what will give you pleasure. (James 4:2-3)
We get stuck trying to figure out whether we are praying amiss and never get around to praying. The reason we don't have what we want is that we don't ask God for it! Today I think of the prayers that God is waiting for us to pray. Do we dare sit idly, wringing our hands and flapping our jaws over changes that God could have made if we had only prayed?

The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy: 1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-4 Holman Christian Standard)

Jesus told us to pray "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven." (Matthew 6:10).

I wonder what would happen if all of Christendom prayed just those two prayers everyday. I don't think my mind is able to comprehend the changes that would occur. God has given us a part to play in His plan. It truly is a privilege to have open communication with the Creator of the Universe through prayer. Today I also see the authority and responsibility that come with it.

7 "Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks." (Matthew 7:7-8 NLT)