Sleeping Through a Revolution

Sleeping Through a Revolution (1 of 3)

“Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph 5:14).

Epic change is in the air while many have dozed off, seemingly oblivious to God . Perhaps we may be like Peter, James and John when the Lord invited them to a private prayer meeting on top of a mountain.

By the time Peter, James and John made the climb, they were so tired that they fell asleep while Jesus was praying. And as they were sleeping, two other invited guests arrived – Moses, and the Prophet Elijah! Jesus was delighted to see them, and they began talking together about the Kingdom of God and the coming Age of Glory.

At that moment, Jesus began to shine brighter than the noon day sun – so bright, in fact, that it woke Peter up. The Bible then tells us, “Peter and the other two disciples had been sound asleep. All at once they woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was” (Luk 9:32, Contemporary English Version).

Hmmm. “They woke up and saw how glorious Jesus was” — Don’t you think it’s time for that to happen again?

you remember reading the story of Rip Van Winkle when you were a kid? I do, but the funny thing is I can’t remember what was the point of the story. I mean, I know it’s about a guy who fell asleep for a really long time – but beyond that I couldn’t recall anything else. So I decided to read it again, and here’s what I discovered.

When Rip Van Winkle went to sleep, King George of England was the recognized monarch who ruled over the American colonies. Twenty years later when Rip woke up, George Washington was the President of the United States.

Rip Van Winkle had slept through a Revolution!

Peter, James and John were essentially doing the same thing on top that sacred mountain of transfiguration. And, as the evidence seems to suggest, much of the church today is in the exact same condition – sleeping through a revolution.

(to be continued tomorrow….)

Seeking Greatness

Seeking Greatness?

“Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.” (Luk 22:24)

The disciples of old were not at all unlike the disciples of today. There yet continues to be disputes among us over who is the greatest. Fallen souls that we are, something deep within us is forever aspiring to rise to greater and greater heights. Yet, the Lord loves us too much to leave us unguarded in this matter.

When Charles Spurgeon was eighteen years old and seeking God’s will for his life, he felt the need for theological training. Both his friends and his father advised him to attend college. So he made application to Regent’s Park College, and an interview was set between the head of the college and young Spurgeon at the Cambridge home of a publisher.

At the appointed time, Spurgeon arrived and a servant showed him into the parlor. There he sat for two hours until at last his patience could stand it no longer. He called for the servant and was horrified to discover that she had failed to announce his arrival, and had forgotten all about him!

Meanwhile the head of the college had sat waiting in an adjoining room until his patience, too, had been exhausted, and he had left Cambridge for London by train without the interview ever having taken place.

Spurgeon was deeply disturbed, and his first impulse was to run after the man, to chase him to London, to explain what had happened. But he took a long walk out in the country to calm down, and by-and-by a verse of Scripture came to his mind so forcibly that he almost seemed to hear it audibly — “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!” (Jer 45:5).

The Lord seemed to be telling him not to worry about the misunderstanding, not to make extraordinary efforts to clear it up, but to take it as the Lord’s will and serve the Lord humbly where he was. As a result, Spurgeon never did make it to college, but it didn’t matter. He became the most successful and influential minister in the history of Victorian England, and he later said that he “a thousand times thanked the Lord very heartily for the strange providence which forced his steps into another and far better path.”

Spurgeon once said in a sermon, “Many, through wishing to be great, fail to be good.” Hmmm, maybe instead of seeking to always be great, perhaps we simply ought to seek to be good.

Sparkles on the Water

Sparkles on the Water
“All who look to him will be radiant. Their faces will never be covered with shame.” (Psa_34:5)
The moon is radiant only as it is in the right position to receive the light of the sun. That’s the way it is with us as well. Our lives are filled with light only as we are in right relationship with the Lord. When we look to Him, trusting Him to meet our needs, then our faces will be radiant.
There are some people who turn away from the Lord, and put their trust in man, or in money, or in methods — only to be disappointed. They become like the moon in a lunar eclipse, caught in the shadow of the world with their faces covered in darkness. For them their is no radiance.
Still, there are others who look to themselves instead of the Lord, putting their trust in their own ability; self-righteousness they are, but still falling far short of the glory of God. These are like the moon during a solar eclipse, blocking the light of the sun as they usurp its orbit with their own. These are the type of people who brighten up a room by leaving.
Then there are those who do look to the Lord, trusting Him in all things at all times. These are like the full moon in its midnight brilliance. The light of the Lord shines upon them, making their faces radiant. The Hebrew word means, “sparkles on the water.” It is a rich metaphor depicting a person who is overjoyed, and glowing with happiness.
The next time you see sparkles on the water, or a full moon in the night sky, let it remind you that the Lord wants your life to be like that for others. He wants to make your face radiant, so as to fill them with wonder – and thereby give you an opportunity to tell them the story of Jesus.

The Ambiguious Man

The Ambiguious Man
“Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” Jas_1:7-8 (The Message)
Some people trust in the Lord to help them save themselves. ”Lord, help me out here,” such a person prays. “I can do it, but I need a little push.” They trust the Lord, but not completely. They still keep other options open.
We’ve all heard the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” While the sentiments behind this whimsical adage are admirable, the saying itself is quite untrue.
Yes, it is true that a person shouldn’t sit around aimlessly all day just expecting God to do this or that for them, while they themselves do nothing. But the adage errs significantly by failing to realize that God in fact does not help those who help themselves; rather, He helps the helpless.
He is the Defender of the defenseless; He rescues the perishing, saves those who are falling, and lifts ups those who have been struck down. He is a Father to the orphan, a Friend to sinners, and the Champion of those who are weak. Indeed, Paul summed it up — “when we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom_5:6).
The problem with “helping yourself” and asking God for a little assistance is that you’re the one still calling the shots — keeping all your options open. Few things are more insulting to God than for a man to come before Him while holding onto other options…just in case the “God thing” doesn’t work out.
Remember when Peter walked on the water? The moment fear overcame him and he began sinking, he cried, “Lord save me!” To help you feel the force of his prayer, think of it this way — He did not say, “Lord, help me.” He was not at all ambiguious in that moment.
Or, how about Lazarus, the dead man? He had no options whatsoever. Jesus stood before the cold stone which sealed his tomb and ordered it removed, and then called out, “Lazarus, come forth!” And the dead man did so, now fully alive. A significant part of this event is contained in the name Lazarus — it means “without help.” You see? God helps the helpless.
Like Peter sinking in the sea, or Lazarus of old lying cold in his tomb, you and I will never be called into a new and deeper, more vibrant and wondrous walk with Jesus until we realize we truly have no other options but God.
The ambiguious man will always sink or swim; and eventually his strength will fail and he will go under. But the man and woman of faith will walk on the water in fellowship with the Lord.

Fully Alive in the Light

Fully Alive in the Light
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (Joh_1:4)
Jesus is the Light of the World. He came into this world as a light shining in darkness, and brought us the one true revelation of God; showing us the love of the Father, and changing our world forever. But, He means for us to take this personally.
John says, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Joh_1:4). One translation puts it this way, “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone.” This means even you and me!
And, remember from our previous postings, the light He brought to us is “the revelation of God’s love.” God wants us to be fully alive in the light of His love.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Jesus is the way, that we might be saved; the truth, that we might be sure; and the life, that we might be satisfied! Practically speaking this means that when you open your heart to Jesus, His life will enter fully into you and bring the revelation of God’s love throughout your whole world – changing everything. Saving you; securing you; and satisfying you!
“I once was blind, but now I see!” the man shouted after Jesus healed him.
“And what is it that you see dear brother?”
“I see the love of God everywhere I look!”
May the Prayer of Paul the Apostle be answered in each of our lives:
“I pray that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph_3:16-19).
Or, if I may sum it up in four words — “Let there be light!”

new post since my massive heart attack

Arise! Shine!
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” (Isa_60:1)
It is the dawn a of a new day, filled with opportunities to tell others far and wide of God’s amazing Grace. And I wonder if there might be a word from the Lord to boost us on our way as we venture forth in faith.
What might the Lord have to say to us at this significant moment? What word might He speak to carry us both forward and upward with a faith unfailing, a hope undying, and a love unending?
What could He say that would lift us above the darkening days of winter, both natural and spiritual, and give us a warming vision that sees beyond our times, so that we may patiently prevail until the chill thaws and Spring is once again upon us?
I think I know.
And it’s not new; the words have been with us for sometime now, like a perpetual torch passed down through the ages to enlighten any darkened day, and bouy any flagging spirit.
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” (Isa_60:1)
This is a word filled with great powers – the power of light and glory; the power of faith and courage. This is a word that stirs us to higher things – “Arise!” It is a word that summons us to a nobler outlook – “Shine!”
This word infuses us with a faith to believe and take hold of what we may not be able to actually see or feel – “Your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you!”
And this is a word that dares us to a life of action born of a courageous faith. Notice the specific order of the words, “Arise. Shine.” The implication is that if we will do the first part, “Arise!” – then the Lord will see to it that the second part occurs, “Shine!”
And it’s there that faith and courage must respond. We might prefer it to say, “Shine, and then Arise.” You know, “Lord, if You will light me up, THEN I will take a stand and serve You.”
“No,” the Lord courteously replies, “You take a stand and serve Me, and THEN I will light you up!”
In other words, “Arise! Shine!”
This is what I believe the Lord is saying for this new day. This is what the Lord is saying to you….and to me. Over the next several days I will develop this theme with one thought in mind — helping you experience the presence of God; to hear His voice and find the power to do what He is telling your to do. “Arise! Shine!”

A Week in God’s Presence

August 18
A Week in God’s Presence
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen!” (2Co_13:14)
Have you ever experienced the Extravagant Love of God?
Webster’s defines extravagant as “exceeding the limits of reason or necessity; lacking in moderation, balance, or restraint; profuse and lavish.” Have you ever encountered God’s Presence in such measure that He blew your doors off with just how much He loves you?
Zephaniah the prophet gave us a glimpse at this extraordinary, extravagant God. “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zep_3:17).
you know that God wants to overwhelm you with an outpouring of His extravagant love? He wants you to know that even now, despite what you think about yourself, He rejoices over you with joy? He rests in His love for you? He joys over you with singing?
And did you know that the surest way for you to truly experience this extravagance is to spend quality time with real Christians? Hear me carefully – I’m not talking about “church-goers” as much as I’m talking about “Christ-followers.” The two are not always the same.
When you are in the company of a gathering of mere “church-goers” you will be surrounded with legalism, opinion, criticism, judgment and debate. But when you are in the midst of true “Christ-followers” your life will be flooded with extraordinary expressions of God’s extravagant love. You will be supported, believed in, upheld, defended, empowered, and unleashed to pursue God’s highest and best purposes for your life.
In other words, you will experience God’s Presence – and never be the same. To sum it up – spend quality time in God’s Word, and a quantity of time with quality people; do this and God will be with you in extraordinary and extravagant ways.

The Genius of Good Grief

The Genius of Good Grief

“Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way.” (1Pe_4:1, The Message)

Remember the old country western classic — “I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine, there’s got to come a little rain some time.”

I can’t help but wonder if there are times when Jesus pick up a trusted six string and belts this one out from the clouds of glory to His “naming-claiming-gabbing-grabbing kids.”

“Oh hallelujah!” we say, when things are going great and good. The stock market is up and increasing everyday; blessings abound in every part of life; no problems, no worries, not setbacks, no struggles, no grief.

“Glory to God in the highest returns on my investments!”

But wait a minute. Didn’t Jesus say that in this world we would have trouble. Yes, and that He would be with us through it all. Sometimes the Lord opens the back door on our happy estate and all sorts of things start going wrong. It’s at that moment we discover where our faith and affections really stand.

Sometimes grief is a good thing. And the genius of good grief is that, once it trims away the fat and fluff of pretentious and superficial living, we become more able to live out our days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what we thought we wanted.

The Unflappable Champion

The Unflappable Champion

“He gathered up His courage and steeled Himself for the journey…” (Luk_9:51, The Message)

There are some things that require little effort, and yield small results. Many people content themselves to spend their days in just such trivial pursuit. Will you settle for being one of them?

F. W. Boreham wrote, “There is no intellectual stimulant so intoxicating as the formation of a noble purpose, the conception of a sudden resolve, the making of a great decision.”

Friends, we are partakers of an upward call, and so we strain constantly against the downward pull of lesser things. “I am doing a great work,” Nehemiah said, “why should the work stop while I come down to you?” (Neh_6:3). Thus did he silence those who tempted him to ease off from his quest.

The truly heroic moments in life demand something far more than a casual commitment. Christ Himself set his face to Jerusalem, and resolved to go the full length of God’s will. He gathered up His courage and steeled Himself for the journey. He was, and forever will be the Unflappable Champion. And we have been called to follow in His steps.

There is talk these days of vision. But vision is much more than a good idea that stirs the soul to temporary endeavors. Vision is the ability to see it, the faith to believe it, the courage to do it, and the hope to endure until it happens. Take any of these components away and vision fails. Each is vital, and indispensable.
has a way of summoning our hearts to rise to the calling God has placed on our lives. It also supplies us with the grace to pace ourselves to go the full distance, regardless of the difficulties that await us. Courage is the mental and moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.

The journey we have undertaken as followers of Christ demands all the courage we possess. It requires of us a steely, unwavering resolve to meet whatever seeks to delay us, defeat us, detour us, or deny us – to meet such things with a faith that says, “Nevertheless!” Courage is one of the distinguishing marks of true faith.

God’s Spirit has given us an ingrained capacity to face the strain and stress of faithfulness with fortitude, patience, and joy. Thus did Jesus walk up Calvary’s mountain one dreadful morn, and there face unflinching the dark trinity of Satan, Sin, and Death. And there, on a hill far away, our Lord did win a resounding victory. And, be sure of this one fact – He did it for you!

That victory is now yours. Lay claim to it by faith, and you, like Jesus, can gather up your courage and steel yourself for the journey of a lifetime.

Beautiful vase

Behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luk_17:21).

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a very poor man in a shabby house in a run-down neighborhood on the wrong side of the tracks in a economically depressed town, in a state overrun with poverty and need. Things weren’t looking good.

One day as he was rummaging about the piles of items discarded from the local flea market, tossed aside because nobody wanted any of them, something caught his eye. It was a vase, and to his amazement, it was unbroken despite the obvious abuse it had suffered; unbroken, and unmarred. In fact, it was beautiful, even more so when contrasted by all the trashy surroundings.

He took it home, cleaned it up and placed it upon the mantle in his dingy living room, and then sat and simply stared at it. Day after day he would spend hours gazing upon the very rare and most beautiful vase. One day, as he was intently focused upon the vase, he realized how cluttered his mantle was with other things, and how stained the wall was with the grime of poverty. So he cleared the junk off the mantle, and put a fresh coat of paint upon the wall. That simple decision caused the vase to stand out in even greater beauty, for now his entire wall took on the look of a beautiful painting, and he found such joy in gazing upon it all.

Then one day as he entered his living room he noticed how worn was the carpet, and how tattered were the furnishings. He pulled the carpet out and uncovered a beautiful hardwood floor; he cleaned and recovered the furnishings, transforming the look of the entire room. This is turn led him to slowly began renovating the rest of his home. Once finished, he delighted in the comfort of his beautiful abode.

But then he noticed that the yard was overgrown with weeds, and filled with junk; the fence was broken down and the outside of his home looked weathered and wasted. So he set upon making the needed repairs and cleaning up the yard. Soon, his home became the talk of the neighborhood, for it brought such a sense of hope to all those around him. Before long the other homeowners began making repairs upon their houses and yards, such that the entire neighborhood transformed and became the talk of the town.

Yet a little while longer and the town itself began to change; cleaning the trash off the streets, repairing broken windows and repainting faded homes; refurbishing businesses and rekindling dreams. At length, the town became the garden spot of the State. Tourists came from far and wide to see the beauty of the transformed town. Upon seeing it, they each went home inspired to make changes in their own homes.

Meanwhile, the man sat happily in his living room and looked upon that rare and most beautiful vase, blessed that his life had been transformed by beauty.

Jesus said that kingdom of God was within us; that the royal, ruling power of God was at work transforming our lives from the inside out. This is that very rare and most beautiful vase, and the power of its influence is truly extraordinary!

 

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