Kickstarter Campaign

I’m writing a new book, Reclaimed Identity. For the past few years, I’ve been hearing repeatedly how the body of Christ needs to know and own her identity. I already was at work on a li…

Source: Kickstarter Campaign

So I Pray

So many watchmen and women indicate what others sense in this season of America’s story: We are at a crossroads as a nation…

For the past eight years I have been more mindful to thank the men and women in uniform, the ones who have put their lives on the line to secure freedom for fellow citizens. How can I ever truly thank them and the generations of self-sacrificing men and women before them? Nothing I do is sufficient, but I surely can say “thank-you.”

I want American freedoms maintained. They are so precious- those who paved the way for us to live in freedom knew that they would not be the benefactors of their “all- or- nothing” pursuit. They risked everything to set the foundation in place for future generations to dwell in freedom.

Yes, I want protected freedoms, but I also want an on-fire Church, not a status-quo Church. If the freedom we enjoy continues, I pray that we will not keep doing what we’re doing. I’m asking that we humble ourselves. Humble ourselves. With freedom stripped away, we would be humbled. But that freedom remains AND we humble ourselves and seek Your face- this is my desire.

In humbling ourselves, I am praying that we thirst for Holy God’s presence as though nothing else will satisfy. Because nothing will.

Fill this temple with Your glory, God, until I have no trace of personal ownership. 

The Sound of Heaven

“… the sound of heaven touching earth…” Kim Walker-Smith’s lyrics grab my heart. It’s an undeniable sound- loud, penetrable, stop everything you’re doing and listen sound.

I thought about the fact that heaven is not limited to a chronological passage of time… It’s the eternal realm. Reading Revelation 5 again today, I imagine heaven is rejoicing over Jesus’ triumph as though it just happened! It is still fresh! Heaven is not waiting for a commemorative occasion to remember the roar of the Lion of the tribe of Judah when He came out of the grave; heaven hears the sound and emulates it as the Champion is heralded by every living creature, “Worthy!”

Hmmm… Am I keeping the all-surpassing victory of my Lord Jesus before me at all times? Is it as fresh today as the day I met Him? Is it as fresh today as the day His resurrection power overcame my greatest challenge- my sin?

We are the vessels through which Holy God releases the sound in the earth!

Road Tripping in Israel

We truly ran where Jesus walked; at least, our tour bus ran! For a country so small, we definitely put the miles in, and we still did not see all of Israel!

Day four of the trip was a treat {everyday was amazing}! Not long after the sun rose, we settled into our coach bus for the long ride. I went to my iTunes and selected an album for worship – Elevation would do just fine.

I’m struggling to find words… there’s something about singing “Yahweh” as you travel the route His feet walked. I don’t know how to explain it. Just take my word for it- that was some tender worship.

I go back to my journal entry from that day where I noted the experiences of Galilee:

Here on the sea… warm sunshine… breeze from boat ride… sea spray… worship.

And here’s my favorite part:

All day long in Your Presence!

Elevation Worship’s album, Here As In Heaven, will forever remind me of road tripping in Israel. Look at the pictures above and you will understand why these songs resonate within me: Grace Like a Wave, Call Upon the Lord, O Come to the Altar, Resurrecting, Shine a Light, Yahweh… I hope you’re familiar with the CD. If you want to hear these and additional songs, you can check out the music here.

The Upper Room

If you have read some of my posts from the Israel trip I took earlier this year, you may remember that I said it was often very difficult to soak in the significance of what my eyes were seeing. We visited many sights that covered thousands of years of history, and we moved from place to place on a tight schedule. It’s true when they say a ten-day tour of Israel means you will run where Jesus walked!

I’m a reflective person and wanted desperately to stay in a spot and really soak in the significance and hear God speak to me in that moment. Don’t get me wrong, we took every opportunity to study the Scriptures together as a group, and we sometimes shared personal insights. And, I always kept my journal on me and tried to record data as well as my reflections.

I was encouraged by those who had traveled to Israel before- they said the pilgrim doesn’t truly internalize the amazing revelations until he or she returns home. Stillness is required (See Psalm 46:10), but stillness evades you on a trip of this nature.

imageNow that I’m home and regularly revisiting the special opportunity God granted me six months ago, I find it true that there is still so much to mentally unpack! Take, for instance, this photo of the Upper Room in the Old City, Jerusalem. This is the place we read about in the Bible- after Jesus had ascended to heaven, the disciples gathered here to pray and “… wait for the gift” that the Father promised (Acts 1:4). The Gospel would not remained sealed up in this beautiful room, it would go out from this place and reach the very ends of the earth! And the Father in heaven knew how to do it! On the Jewish festival of Pentecost, when Jews from all over the world were celebrating the feast in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit came upon the believers and all in this room were filled.  The Holy Spirit baptism brought empowerment to testify about Jesus, and the disciples did just that, only in tongues they had not previously known.

Overhearing the wonder of God declared in various languages were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Cretans, Arabs, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadicia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Lybia, and Rome. “Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?'” (Acts 2:12). Peter spoke the gospel of Jesus Christ, and 3000 became believers that day.

The Holy Spirit is the great unifier- He leads us with faith to God’s invitation to come and receive grace, and He builds bonds between us and our fellow man. The Holy Spirit unites us to the Lord God and to one another.

Do you see the representation of many nations and ethnicities in the picture above? Today I’m freshly appreciating the significance. I’m “unpacking” a new revelation from Israel.

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to you who were near; for through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit (Ephesians 2:17-18).

Pursuit of Wealth

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Plaque on the Mount of Beatitudes

Wealth makes things happen in the worldly systems; faith is the economy of the kingdom of God. Wealth equates with power in the world; poverty of spirit leads to eternal riches and prominence in the kingdom of heaven. Wealth is security for those who pledge, “In money I trust.” Jesus is complete assurance for the believer who hides himself in God’s shelter.

These thoughts come to me as I read Jesus’ teaching about  man’s love of money.

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Luke 16:13).

Do not be surprised by having a sense of worth and importance just because you have some money in the bank, or you have some possessions on credit that give the facade there’s money. It’s the spirit influencing the world, and we, the Church, are susceptible to its seduction. The truly financially elite use their wealth for personal gain and enjoy the power afforded them. Apply the right amount of funds in certain situations, and things shift in your favor.

Jesus is not impressed. “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:15).

Money might move things in the earthly realm, but money does not move the heart of God. In fact, think opposite end of the spectrum: broke! Spiritually broke. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

Did you get that?

God detests the security that one bases upon wealth, but He draws near to the lowly of heart. 

Although plentiful finances may have brought needed solutions to some problems we faced in the past, we come to a place of discovering the greatest need of the soul cannot be satisfied by a purchase. We come broke, or broken, to the Father in heaven and say, “I have no means of fixing this. My heart is empty. There is no true source of joy within me. I have no vision for the future. I don’t even like myself.”

The Father, in His all-surpassing, gracious love replies, “Now I can make you spiritually rich! You have come to the one, true Source! By laying down your way of life in which you did things according to your understanding, and by turning to Me, you are departing death and entering into life in my Son!”

“IF ANYONE IS THIRSTY, LET HIM COME TO ME AND DRINK. WHOEVER BELIEVES IN ME, AS THE SCRIPTURE HAS SAID, STREAMS OF LIVING WATER WILL FLOW FROM WITHIN HIM” (JOHN 7:37-38).

Blessed Child of God, you trust in the Lord for everything that concerns you. He does not fail you because He does not fail His Word. Hear the Father declare to you today, “All that is mine is yours!”

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).

Finisher’s Crown

I just completed a three- mile run on my favorite trail. Worshiping as I went, I reflected on the good plan of Father God. In His Son, Jesus, I have assured victory. I’m running this race with endurance and keeping my eyes on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith. This was a helpful passage to meditate upon two miles into the run- the hills and heat quickly brought on fatigue!

I thought about our call to run our faith journey and reminded myself that there are no trophies in heaven; rather, there’s a finisher’s crown for each one who keeps the faith.

How do we best convey this heavenly truth here in the earth when so much of our society is based on competition with others and climbing the ladder of success?

Jesus said, “… many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Mark 10:31).

Once again we see the upside- down kingdom of God challenging our human intellect. The plan of God is that we each each embrace His love for us and, then, spend our lives championing others to do the same. I’m not worried about whether or not I am a better follower of Christ than the next guy! In fact, what I understand from Scripture is that I’m to be thankful for what God has entrusted to me, see it multiplied in the value of souls delivered into eternity, and, at the same time, challenge my brothers and sisters in Christ to also multiply the talents given to them by God. My five talents should bring increase in the same way another’s ten talents do. I do not envy their ten and call, but I honor them and cheer them to the finish.

Getting to the root of the competitive issue, we need to understand that out of a lack of security, we will compete with others, coveting what they have and desiring to even supersede it through our personal accomplishments and/or acquisitions. How does one combat this very natural tendency? All sense of security is found in knowing you are completely loved and accepted by God through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, and your identity is secure in Him. To be confident about whose you are and who you are means the need to compete with others disappears.

Let us remember that a life of competing drives others away, but kingdom work of conveying God’s heart in this world embraces the broken, so that they may hear the good Father in heaven say, “Come and feast at my table.”