Monday, November 28, 2011

When God's Children Cry Out





2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “….if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

Luke 18:7-8 (The Message) “So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? 8 I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”




Economics, politics, health care, poverty, famine, war, violence, and anything else that touches the lives of so many.  We are facing this and much more!  On a personal level, there is pain, hurt, anger, resentment, bitterness, sorrow, agony, despair, and the list goes on and on. 


At this time of year, no one wants to hear about the deep dark blemishes in society.  No one likes to talk about the impoverished unless they are sending their monetary gift to a child they have never seen before.  (I am not speaking against these programs.  They have helped thousands of children and have been a source of the Gospel to many who may not have heard.)  What about the ones two doors down that struggle from day to day trying to make something happen but doesn’t know how?  What about the person you see every Sunday at church, who may be hurting and in pain, waiting for someone to simply show that they care?  What about the mother struggling to handle her children because she didn’t have the best example of who a mother should be… are you lovingly assisting her or judging how poor her parenting skills are with the shake of the head and “the glance” as we walk away. 

Perhaps you are not the spectator.  Maybe you are the person screaming on the inside for someone to notice… someone to simply acknowledge that they are more than who they think they are.  Either way… It’s time to cry out.

Here it is… quite simply.  I know it sometimes takes a lot for us to step off of our pedestal of pride to allow someone, including God, to help us.  But, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says “….if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  Hurt, wounded, aching, we cry out.  Desperate, we turn to God.  Why does it take us so long?  Why didn’t we do this so long ago? 
The first part of 2nd Chronicles says “My people who are called by My name”.  A hard pill to swallow but the question that no one can deny is simply this… Are you His?  Have you become a Child of God?  Or are you simply a reunion crasher.
My grandfather told me a story so long ago about when he and his brother crashed a family reunion at a local park in order to get lunch.  They walked up to the buffet line, after everyone had gone through and most were not paying attention, and made themselves plates.  Someone looked at him and said “You must be so n’ so’s boy”.  My grandfather looked at him and said “Yup!” 
This is so true today.  The person you sit next to on Sunday may very well be a reunion crasher.  Do we turn them away?  Certainly not!  Take them to the father for adoption.  Bring them into the family legitimately. 
Once the first qualification is complete then we must move on to the second.  Humility.  If we, as God’s children, cannot move beyond humility, face to the floor and admit that I cannot save myself…I can’t even sustain myself & I need Him more than anything… then there is nothing God can do for us.  Why, because He will not force Himself into a place where He is not welcome.  Look at the things we have done so far?  Are they the best?  Are they the absolute optimal for you?  That is what God wants for His children… the BEST.  And yet we keep telling Him that we don’t need Him to intervene! 
Pray and seek God’s face go hand in hand.  If you are communing and conversing with God, you will begin to seek His face because as you pray, God will reveal things to you and your spirit will begin to awaken!  The hunger begins to return, and the fire that you never thought could be rekindled, will be lit!  You no longer want to sin, rebel by doing things our way & living in the absence of God!
What happens next is God’s response to our obedience!  “…then I will hear from heaven”  God says that He will hear us.  I remember my mother telling me about this, and sometimes I do it to.  When children are nagging and begging and whining and we are in the middle of fixing dinner, or shopping, or even reading a magazine or book, and we tune out all external stimuli.  We don’t hear a thing.  Especially someone else’s kids!  God is the same way.  He will not respond to someone else’s kids, and definitely does not respond to pride, arrogance and selfishness!  BUT, when we have God’s ear… Even the Israelites knew to call daddy when the big kids started to pick on them and He rose up a warrior to save them.  Consider Judges 3:9, Judges 10:10, and Psalms 107:6.  Each time, the Lord’s chosen people would get back on track and in line with God.  But then, before long, they would begin to get too big for their britches and start doing things their own way.  They would forget how God had to save them the last time from their messes.  So, sitting in slavery, poverty, and utter ruin, they would cry out to God.  “GOD, SAVE US!”  They would have to consecrate and get back in line and then God would deliver them once again!
Not only does God hear us, He forgives our sin because we have turned from our former ways.  Remember the mentality, “My way or the highway.”  This is what we must turn from.  God’s ways are higher and better than ours.  He can see the flaws and the mistakes in our plans and says “there’s a better way.”  He promises to forgive us for our pride and arrogance.  This takes true humility but it can be done.  And, OH the joy and peace and rest that comes from the very last part.  When God heals our land, and we are at peace and one with Him, we begin to walk in the fullness of all that He has for us.  No good thing is withheld as His will becomes ours.  Just as children, we want to please Him and He wants to please us as our heavenly father!

I challenge you to begin to take time to seek God’s face and humble yourself before Him.  That is what December 1st is all about.  7:14pm, all over the world, for one hour, there will be thousands upon thousands of people coming together… IN UNITY to pray for God to heal our land.  Not just our city, or state, or country, but the whole world!  To seek God’s face and a might move and outpour of the Holy Spirit as in Joel 2!  If you need prayer, there will be plenty of people there to stand with you, in love, and pray for you!
Don’t let pride and fear stand in the way of being in the best and most important relationship of your life!!!
BE BLESSED!



7:14 on Facebook or on Twitter @7_fourteen          7:14 - Fort Wayne - Facebook event!  Click to find out more!
7:14 Fort Wayne will be held at Freimann Square, December 1st @  7:14pm – 8:14pm.  Please come and join in with many other brothers and sisters in Christ as we seek His face!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

IF MY PEOPLE

Over 40 cities in over 13 countries and growing!

Have you ever wanted to be part of something bigger than yourself?
NOW is your chance! 


7:14 is an international event hosted by 24/7 Prayer!  


Fort Wayne, Indiana will be held @ Freiman Square, December 1st.  7:14pm - 8:14pm.  Prayer for our city, our state, our country, and OUR WORLD for one hour to seek God's face and cry out to HIM!


For more information or to find or host a 7:14 in your city, visit 7:14 on Facebook or on Twitter @7_fourteen.  You can also visit the website for 24/7 Prayer (click on the links above!)  We are excited to see the presence of God fall in Fort Wayne!!! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do It Yourself Salvation?

Romans 3:21-24 (The Message)
“But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. 22 The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. 23 Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, 24 God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.”

Lowes, Menards, Home Depot, Do It Best… all have one thing in common.  They are the suppliers of materials and instructions to “do it yourself”.  Whatever the job, whatever the fix, they claim to have an answer and support staff to get it done.  Whether it’s planting a couple flowers to building your own house, they seem to have all the answers! 
It seems like we are always looking for someone who has the answers.  Someone we can go to, who can tell us what to do, where to do it, and when.  We place this source on speed dial, or try to keep them close by so they are handy in a tight spot. 
What happens when you become the person people go to for answers?  Do you start to feel the pressure to give the right answers?  Do you start to hide when you see the answer-seekers walking towards you?  Who do you go to, to find your answers?

Everyone went to Malia for answers.  Even her husband relied on her knowledge and experience to make decisions for them and their family.  When there were problems, her friends would ask her advice.  When there was a situation, she would cultivate a plan of action.
That put a lot of stress on Malia.  She felt like she always had to have an answer ready to give and it must be the right answer.  Malia started to get into the habit of solving other people’s problems.  She began to take it upon herself to find answers or at least a basic map to get them out of trouble.  What did this do to Malia?  It began with her mind racing, and increased stress.  She was trying to squeeze more and more into her schedule in order to accommodate everyone else allthewhile spreading herself thinner and thinner between family, friends, career, church, and her alone time.  Her eating habits were thrown off, because she was eating on the run, so her health began to be jeopardized along with her blood pressure and weight.  Then her nights were less and less restful as she spent more time thinking about the tugs from every direction, pulling at her for answers.  Before long, Malia was in distress.  Sleep did not give her the rest she craved.  The hobbies, and fun things she once enjoyed, held no peace for her.  She felt stuck, spinning her wheels and didn’t know how to fix anything much less identify a problem. 

Do you know Malia’s life all too well?  Do you struggle to find time for yourself, much less time to pray and study God’s word?
Here is the answer you have been longing for.
You priorities have been flipped upside down.  Instead of cutting back on everything else to make room for you and God, you have cut out your time for you to be alone and rejuvenate at the feet of Jesus, allowing Him to give you the answers.  Malia tried to take all of her world’s problems upon her shoulders instead of heading the instruction to “cast all your care upon Him because he cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5:7)
Do we have all the answers?  No.  But, we have access to the one who does.  No matter how busy life gets, or how many hands are pulling at us, do not neglect to rest and be refreshed at the feet of Jesus.  Seek His face, and rest in His presence!  That is more important than any appointment!
I challenge you, through the hustle and bustle of the season, not to cut out the most important piece of your day!  He loves you so much and longs to be with you and talk to you about His love for you!  Remember that you can’t ‘do it yourself’ but you can do “all things through Christ who gives you strength” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)
Be blessed and have a happy and safe holiday!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Do or Do Not. There Is No Try." ~ Yoda, Star Wars

1 Peter 1:13-16
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.””

 
I was reminded, today, of a truth that I had taken for granted.  God didn’t ever tell us to try to be holy or walk in righteousness.  Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus say, “Okay, guys.  I know I am perfect and you’re just human so I don’t expect much from you.  In fact, count it pure joy when you hit but just figure you’re going to fail so you don’t get your hopes up too high.”  It’s kind of sounds funny, if you can imagine Jesus telling the disciples to just “try your best”. 

In 1 Peter, we see the first thing, that was instructed, was to “gird up the loins of your mind”.  I love how a pastor friend of mine explained it.  He said, “Peter was telling us to protect the tender or vulnerable parts of your mind.  The parts [of our thoughts] that is sensitive to injury, causing us to stumble or become immobile.”  What comes to mind is 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, which says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”  Peter was talking about bring every thought into alignment and making sure that they are protected so that when the enemy does attack our minds, and he will, they are well protected!

I have struggled through the past 6 months with mental/spiritual warfare.  Through my son’s surgery, dealing with his disabilities, trying to evenly spread my time between God, myself, husband, house, children, church, finances, and LIFE, satan has attempted to penetrate all of my defenses.  The battle was long and hard.  The attacks were relentless.  One thing I know for sure is God is faithful.  The storm is not over.  Satan doesn’t quit attacking just because we’ve had enough.  However, Jesus didn’t have peace after he calmed the storm.  He had peace in spite of it! 

Being sober and knowing that God is in control is not always as easy as saying, “I will be sober and trust in God.”  Sober is not just the absence of drugs and alcohol.  A sober mind is the absence of any mind-altering substances, including delusions, deceptions, and lies!  These can be self inflicted through ignoring reality or by choosing to believe what others are giving us without consulting God and His word for truth. (Philippians 4:8 “Whatsoever things are true… think on these things”)  You mind must be in alignment with God’s word and His truth!  When your mind is focused on truth, it is so much easier to trust God, because you are not being deceived that He is unable to handle your problems!  Knowing that He is in control and the truth of His good, acceptable and perfect will, will keep you in a place of humility and security.  He works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  This means that even though we may not see behind the scenes or even know where our provision or answers are coming from, He will bring them all together for our benefit, if we keep our minds set on Him. 

I thought of my children as I read the last part.  My children have no doubts that at 5:30ish, I am going to call them to the table and feed them.  It never crossed their minds that there could come a day that they come to the table for supper and have nothing in front of them.  Why?  The truth of it is, they never will!  God promised that we would never have to worry about what to eat or what to wear. 

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were concerned about the clothes my children did have.  They were all summer clothes and getting way too small.  Not long after we prayed over it, and gave it to Jesus (1 Peter 5:7), did a co-worker, and fellow child of God, hand us a card with enough money in it to buy two new outfits for each child and food for two days.  He heard God’s call and answered it.  We didn’t expect it, and didn’t know where it was going to come from but was trusting God to work in our behalf!

As children of God, we are called to be Holy.  Not to try to be holy but to be holy.  Does this mean perfection?  No!  However, we are called to be part of the family.  Another way to look at this is as a family unit.  When I married my husband, I took his name and we became a family.  Our children were born into our family.  As they grow up, we are constantly reminding them that they are representatives of God and our family.  My husband, Joe, will look at my son sternly, but full of love, and say “You are my son and I expect you to act like it.”  Does this mean that he won’t make mistakes?  No.  When he makes mistakes, we lovingly discipline him because we cannot allow him to continue behaving badly and acting out of family character.  Just as we discipline our son and bring him back into right-standing, so does God discipline us and bring us back into righteousness! 

My favorite movie quote... :)
This week I challenge you to look at the God the Father.  See what He expects from His children.  He loves us so much and will never call us to do something destructive.  We can trust Him to do what is best!  He wants you to be a part of the family!  If you are not part of the family, it is simple.  Throw out everything you think you know about God, and ask Him to show you who He is through a relationship with Him.

He loves you more than you know!
Be blessed!