Friday, October 29, 2010
It’s amazing God is giving out all kinds of free stuff through Jesus dying for our sin and we are not receiving it. Love, grace, forgiveness, life, joy, patience, all the other fruits and gifts of the spirit. And most importantly His Spirit. He’s actually letting his spirit come and live in us. He’s offering us the power of the Spirit, the same power Jesus walked around with, the same power that raised Him from the dead. He wants to give that to each of us who believe the good news, but we have to receive it. I’m not sure I quite understand it yet myself to be honest, how it works, but I know that he’s showed that his word is true and that the things Jesus said and did were true so I could receive forgiveness and salvation. He’s helped me to receive those things and he’s breaking through with his Love and His Spirit. I don’t really have words to explain that either, but in Romans 8:16 it says "the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit."(NIV) And in the NLT it says "the Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts to tell us we are children of God." And even though my mind gets fooled, the spirit always pulls my heart back. He always brings me to a place where I can receive his love. It's not always easy, sometimes it's even painful, but he always get through with His love.
Ask and you will receive, knock and the door will be open. I got this picture of God going around and setting up buckets of above all the doors. We hear him doing something so we knock and say what are you doing out there. And then he’s on the other side calling to us to go through, He dumps out a big ol’ bucket of love and the spirit and living water, it’s like lemonade for your soul. And then we’re refreshed and clean and have the power to do whatever is on the other side of the door.
But we’re afraid to open the door, what if it’s not Him calling us? What if our hair gets messed up by the water? If people see that I’m all wet and covered in Love and the Holy Spirit they’ll know Jesus loves me and I Love him and I’ll have to talk about it.
Don't be afraid. It’ll be easy. You’ll know what to say. You’ll just be like, "well God told me to go through that door and I did, but he’s funny and loves me so he set up this joke bucket and I got all wet and well... why don’t you go through the door too, he’s probably got another bucket set up by now... The spirit will give you the words to say, it’s his job not yours. It's his bucket too by the way, he's got to fill it.
We have to receive what God has for us, the Holy Spirit so we know we are children of God. We have to receive the Holy Spirit to have the power to go out and do the things God is calling us to. We have to receive the Holy Spirit to know his word is true and his love is real. We can’t keep doing it in the reverse order. We can’t keep trying the secret back door, or climbing up the fire escape so we miss the messy stuff. It’s not going to work. We can’t pretend to be the church. We can’t keep showing up on Sunday morning, singing a couple tunes, then riding the pine for the rest of the week while people around us are lost and hopeless. If we’re not calling out for and receiving and living in the love of God, people are going to walk out those doors and be lost in a world that is telling them there is no God that loves them. He does. If you know it and have received it, tell someone else so that they can know it and receive it.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
If you are not sure what God has shown you ask Him, again and again? He has told us to have faith like little children. He does not mind a million questions about the same thing. Have you ever had a little kid ask you how something works and you tell them but the conversation doesn’t end there? But why?... but why?... well God does not get annoyed by that, I do, but I think he loves it. He has told us to seek Him; he will not turn off His hearing aid. Knock and the door will be open. Maybe you can see through the frosted glass and everything is a little blurry. Perhaps you are not quite sure what is behind the door. Try knocking louder, try shouting to see if God answers. Go get a rock and throw it through the window. Do whatever it takes to see what is behind that door. If you see it, you have the answer, but you have to see it with your own eyes. You have to hear His voice telling you to come in and look and what Jesus did on the cross. He will not be upset that you smashed the window, tell Him Joe told you to do it. He needs things to be broken so he can come in and fix it. The sick need the doctor not the healthy, Jesus’ words not mine. He is the master builder and master renovator. His super glue is very strong and will put the pieces back together. And they will hold for eternity.
Friday, October 22, 2010
According to the United Nations Environment Program “A Wild Fig tree at Echo Caves, near Ohrigstad, Mpumalanga, South Africa has roots reaching 400 feet making it the deepest a tree's roots have penetrated.” Now I don’t know if they measured every tree, but that is deep. Where do your roots go? Ephesians 3:17 says, “...may your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.”
Life comes from God’s love. Everything and everyone was created from his love. We have to let ourselves be connected to the source of life, the living water that comes from Him. Imagine having to stretch 400 feet into the ground to find life, through mud and rock. Imagine what that tree had to go through and grow through in order to remain alive. Maybe you feel like you’ll never be good enough or strong enough or smart enough, or beautiful enough to get to God’s love. You’re right. None of those things will get you closer to his love. It is free. It is who he is. He does not need you to be good, strong, smart or beautiful. He is all those things and so much more. You are not going to figure it out or earn it or win it, you can only receive it. You can only experience it.
Sound to simple, well maybe that’s too simple. Maybe you feel so far from God’s love you think you’ll never be able to experience or accept it. I don’t know what your life has been like. I don’t know the hand you’ve been dealt so I won’t pretend it’s so simple. Sometimes we have to get through the rocks and mud and dirt in our life before we get to the water, before our roots ever taste God’s marvelous love. It’s not always easy. If anyone tells you it’s easy they probably haven’t been through the junk you’ve been through. But it is there, his love is there. God is love, that’s what he’s made of. He’s not flesh and bones and blood and guts like us. He became that when he sent Jesus to hang out with us and die for our sins. He knows what it’s like to be just like you. To face all the things you face. His friends abandoned him, people hated him, people ignored him, they ridiculed him, they judged him and then they punished him on the cross. He did that for you, he experienced that for you because he loves you and he wanted to show you how much. “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Eph. 3:19). I don’t understand why Jesus came and did these things for me, it seems crazy. I know I’m not good enough to deserve it, and I know I’m not smart enough to figure it out. I am sure, however, that he did it for me, but he did it for you too. I know I didn’t get through the mud and rocks and dirt in my life on my own, it was by the power of his love to keep on digging.
God can and will do amazing things in your life if you ask him. “By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.” (Eph. 3: 20) Maybe he’ll come and wipe away all the junk, he does that sometimes. He doesn’t always do that. Sometimes he just loves you through it, the long way, the difficult way, the 400 foot way, even when you don’t know he’s doing it, even when you don’t know he’s there. I wish there was some kind of process or formula for how to receive his love quick and easy, like Miracle-Gro for the Soul, but I don’t know of one. If anyone tells you they’ve got the 7 or 10 or 30 steps to anything I think they’ve been drinking Miracle-Gro. Maybe those things can help, maybe there are some steps you can take, but God created you. He created you. Someone else path to God may not be your path. Don’t get discouraged if their path doesn’t go through the same growth process as yours. Your roots may need to reach further. But they will be strong once they are firmly planted in the soil of God’s marvelous love. His love is there.
This Fig tree must have taken years to get to whatever source what was hidden deep in the ground. But something sustained that tree while it grew into the depths. Obviously the soil on in the first 399 feet had some nutrients, some moisture, some life giving properties or the tree would not have last long enough to get to 400 feet. If you’re in that place now, where you feel like there is barely enough hope and life left to keep you going, please don’t give up. God is there, he loves you. He will sustain you through the rocks and mud and dirt. He will make a path to the living water Jesus offers us. Don’t give up when you are so close to his marvelous love. “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.” (Eph. 3:16).