Friday, July 29, 2016

Sweet Sleep

When my feet start to drag
When my run begins to lag
When my eyelids hang heavy
Because my pace is more speedy than steady
When rest evades me
Though it should sustain me

I have to stop

He gives His beloved sweet sleep
In the Shepherd’s hand to keep
I find a reservoir of peace
When I rest at Your feet
My body once torn
Now finds health restored
In the simple act of sleep
I, Your exhausted sheep

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hearing From God

Here is a blog from the past.  I believe it will be a blessing to all of you...

(Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.) 1 Samuel 3:7
Samuel was a young boy serving under Eli, the high priest at the time. Samuel heard a voice calling out his name, while he was lying down. He immediately went to Eli and said, “Here I am, you called me.” Eli told Samuel that he did not speak to him and Samuel lied down again. This happened three times. After the third instance, Eli realized that God was speaking to the young boy. He said, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you , say, 'Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.'” Samuel obeyed, and this time, when the Lord spoke his name, Samuel replied as Eli instructed.

The Lord then revealed to him a word of judgment toward Eli, which included specific consequences that were to take place in the future. The Lord was angry with Eli for not restraining his unruly and wicked sons. Although Samuel was hesitant to relay the message to Eli, the high priest insisted that he recount the entire prophetic word to him. The pronouncement later came to pass and Samuel grew to be a great man of God.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon a few select people. God primarily anointed kings, prophets, and priests for service. In the New Testament, each born again believer has the Holy Spirit living in him or her, and each of us can hear His voice. As a young believer, I desired greatly to hear the voice of the Lord. It took time and effort to discern His voice in my life. I often made mistakes along the journey. Over time, and with the help of solid Biblical instruction, I discovered a few things about hearing from God....

  • God usually speaks in ways that are less dramatic
  • He normally communicates to His children in a still small voice or by a spiritual impression
  • He also gives us spiritual pictures or visions
  • His communication comes to us spontaneously, as we worshipfully look to the Lord
  • One important practice in receiving God's messages to us is to write down what we hear and see
  • Jesus always speaks to us in a loving way, even when He corrects us
  • The Holy Spirit will always agree with the written word of God
  • When we obey the Holy Spirit, it keeps us sensitive to His leading
  • When we consistently resist the Holy Spirit's promptings, we can grow deaf to his call
  • It is good to be accountable to a mature believer, while discerning God's voice, especially when making major decisions
  • After you have heard from God, check what you've heard or seen and make sure it lines up with Scripture
Much of what I've learned about hearing from God can be attributed to a book and course called Communion with God, written by Mark Virkler. I highly recommend this book! I am still on the journey to hear more and more clearly from the Lord, and I still make mistakes. But I have discovered that there is nothing more satisfying than drawing near to the Lord and allowing Him to speak to my heart. This is what intimacy with God is all about. His messages to us bring healing, encouragement, direction, and peace. I hope you will come along with me on this journey to hear and obey God's voice.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Immersed in Your Fire

Kindled with the flame
That burns the chaff away

Lord light the coals within
Freeing us from sin

Baptized in Your Spirit
Immersed in Your fire
Walking in Your power
Satan is a liar

Fill us with Your glory
The gospel is the story
We will walk with You
The Way, the Life, the Truth

Fan into flame
The grace that bears your name
Flood us with Your fire
It's You that we acquire

We give our faults to You
Our hopes and dreams too
Your fire purifies
All that lies...

Monday, July 4, 2016

Set Free

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 NLT

Houdini was a master of escape, who thrilled audiences from 1891 until his death in1926. He freed himself from handcuffs, straight jackets, and prison cells. He allowed the police to fashion custom handcuffs which he unfastened from his wrists. He even freed himself from shackles while he was underwater and upside down. Some of us have become accustom to spiritual prisons. We try and try to break free but to no avail.
When Jesus walked the earth, he liberated those captive to sin and demonic oppression. Although he did this when He cast out demons, he also brought freedom to people by preaching and teaching the word. The word of God has power, power to free us from the plans and strategies of Satan.

We can find our way out of any dark spiritual prison by feeding on God's word. First, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to give us understanding of His word. We can meditate on Bible verses that center on who we are in Christ. We can also hide God's word in our heart in the area of our sin. Second, we will need to resolve to obey the Scriptures – to follow the word through the power of the Holy Spirit. Last, we can speak God's word over our lives in the light of the victory that Christ has won for us at Calvary. Jesus spoke the word when he was tempted and, we can do the same. We truly can have victory over any trap we may be caught in.

Here is an example of how a person can find freedom. I will choose the bondage of lust as a type of prison we can find ourselves in. The first step would be to meditate on Scriptures such as, “Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call upon the name of the Lord with a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22. Here is another helpful verse: “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11.

Next, we are to choose to obey God's word regarding lust. We must flee from it and from anything that tempts us in this area. If pornography is something we turn to either frequently or infrequently, we must run away from it altogether. Cease from looking at it. We also may need to become accountable to a friend regarding our weakness.

Finally, we can declare victory over our sin and oppression by quoting the word of God in the light of our standing with Christ. We can say, “I flee youthful lusts, and I pursue righteousness along with those who call upon the name of the Lord with a pure heart. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, I am dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. I am a new creation in Christ, and I am the righteousness of God in Christ. Lust has no power over me!”

These steps are found in God's word. They are powerful, and they work. Before I came to Christ and while I was a young believer, I struggled with the sin of lust, but God set me free by following these principles.  They work in any area of temptation. They can bring us freedom over sinful patterns such as: anger, depression, condemnation, fear, compromise, and deceit.

We must submit to God and resist the devil. No matter how many times we fail, we must not give up. The Scripture says a righteous man falls seven times, but he gets back up. God is extremely merciful to us when we set our hearts to obey him even when we sometimes fail.

Let's invite the Lord to search our hearts. If there is an area that he shows you regarding a pattern of temptation you are caught in, offer it to him and commit to follow after Him in the way I prescribed. Then you, like Houdini, will break free from your bondage. It may take time, but as you follow in this way you will experience complete victory. Praise the Lord God who always causes us to triumph!

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Symphony of Praise

My wife and I just returned from a five day trip to Grand Rapids and Petoskey Michigan. Petoskey was beautiful. Here are some words I jotted down after viewing Christ's creation.

A Symphony of Praise

The tide's rhythm and the beauty of the blue, sun-filled sky and the deeper blue waters sang their symphony of praise to the Creator of all things. And we joined in. Celebrating the good day. Majesty to the One who holds us in His hands. The glory of nature reminds us that the Master is among us. Holy is He who parted the Red Sea. Holy is He who saved you and me. Glory be to you my Lord and my King.