Archive for March, 2017


If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. – John 15:7

This is where it began.  I heard this in a sermon recently and had been thinking about this off and on.  This is one of those verses where we try to spiritualize it, otherwise, it’s hard to explain.  “Ask and it will be done”?  That’s not something we see, so we can’t take this at face value.  Instead it must mean that when we really get into God, when He is our desire(“I will give you the desire of your heart”), then we will ask what He wants, and it will get answered.  Tell me, have you seen that either?  No, no.  This is more.  When the Word says something, you should believe it.  So that tells me there’s something to abiding and the Word.

Read Psalm 119 and see what David said of God’s commandments.  Go to Proverbs and find Soloman’s thoughts on wisdom

For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her – Proverbs 8:11

We know from Rick Joyner’s book, true wisdom is Jesus.  Oh, I’m sure I could track down plenty of scripture, but the Final Quest made it so personal.  Revelation is like wisdom, as revelation is the revealing of truth to your heart, and who is truth, that’s right, Jesus.  He is the Word in flesh.  He is truth.  He is wisdom.  When you were young, did you ever mix all the drinks at the soda fountain together.  Yeah, Jesus is sort of like that, all this amazing stuff in one, without upsetting your stomach.

Ok, so this is one of those train of thought messages.  I start by thinking of Jesus abiding, and even more the word abiding in us.  That led me to revelation, truth.  Next came the parable of the sower.  When you get truth, it can become revelation ( seeds that sprout ) or just die on the road (eaten by the birds).  The devil wants to steal truth from you before it roots in.  Even if it starts to grow, he’ll make you busy with the worries of the world, or keep you shallow so it can’t go big.  For us to keep hold of truth and have it grow, we need to protect it and nurture it.  Treat it like the gold it is.  You can’t just go “oh that’s cool” then get back to your life.  Spend time with it

Why is this so important?  Well it’s like the Holy Spirit plugged the pieces together, and much better than I am right now.  As I meditated upon the word dwelling in me, it made me think of it living there.  As a plant, it needs room to grow, nourishment, time, attention.  If I think of it like a person, and I want it to abide, then I need to draw it in, make space for it, love it, protect it.  Basically make a home for it.  I don’t just want it hidden in my heart, or planted, or just held; I want it rooted in, growing, expanding.  I want it to paint the walls, decorate a room, plant a garden.  That’s the sort of abiding we need.  We need it so entrenched in our hearts that we can be transformed by it.  For when the word abides in you, you can ask what you wish and it’ll be done.  So is the main thing that we can ask and get what we want?  No.  That’s just a side-effect of relationship.  What we’re talking about here is authority and relationship.  There are privileges and expectations that come with those.  That is what I want.  I want the relationship itself, not the perks.

And to get there, I need the word to abide.  So when revelation comes, when you see that truth in the scripture leap into your heart and teach you something new, don’t let it go.  Don’t just say “cool” and move back to your life.  Cherish it.  Hold on and fight for it.  Keep thinking over it, write it down, whatever it takes so that it can take root in your heart.  For me, writing seems to be part of it.  I just realized how much I need to hold on, as I have lost so much.  And if there’s somewhere really good to start on making sure I hold onto it, it’s the realization that I need to hold onto truths to be transformed.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.  – (Matthew 7:16)

What fruit are we looking for?

I went through a men’s discipleship course lately that was very big on John 15.  You know the chapter, abide in God.  Those that abide will bear fruit, those that bear fruit God prunes so they bear more fruit.  One of the questions we asked the group was “what kind of fruit are we talking about”.  I of course started with the fruit of the Spirit, but we went on and came up with a number of other fruits.  People being saved, chruches started, lives touched, etc.  It’s hard to measure something like joy, but easy the measure something like the number of people joining a church.  That’s not wrong…. is it?

That thought crossed my mind the other day when I was reminded of another passage from Jesus.

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ – Matthew 7:22-23

So, here we find a group of people who were expressing several of the gifts of the spirit: prophecy, miracles, casting out demons(not sure that’s a “gift” but it’s an expression).  Very visible things.  Imaging a man who came to your church, prayed for some sick and they got well.  We would look up to that man.  Yet, this verse says that Jesus may have never known him.

Neville Johnson said these last couple years that we have focused on the gifts of the spirit rather than the fruit.  If Jesus said you should know them by their fruit, then let’s combine that with another verse.  Sadly, I went looking and I can’t find it.  Hmm… it’s something like we should no longer look at each other from the flesh, but know each other from the spirit.  Sigh.  If someone knows the verse i’m looking for leave a comment.   Possibly it’s just a logical part of 2 Corinthians 5:16.  Oh well.  Sorry for that dead-end.

Anyway, if we’re to judge by the fruit, and we know long judge according to the flesh(2 Cor 5:16), then perhaps we judge by the spirit.  And if the Bible just happens to tell us the fruit of the spirit, well, maybe that’s what we judge.  Is that harder, yes, but I bet not for those who are more open to the Spirit.  For those of us not there, we must be more open, observant, and listen for the voice in us.  But don’t judge by the world, you’ll miss it.

If you haven’t caught on, silly church traditions sometimes bug me.  For example, one of the denominations I’ve been to a bit likes to count up baptisms.  It seems like a decent thing to count as people who pray the prayer, often pray it and wander off.  Those that are baptized are more likely the ones that were touched and will move on.  So we count it.  As we like to count all things.  And sadly we go on to stuff like baptizing those from another denomination “just to make sure”.  They weren’t “baptized” like we are.  I can’t help but wonder if that’s really the concern, or if that adds to the count.  Silly Christians we all are.

So, I went into this, because I wonder how many people live in discouragement that are exhibiting many of the fruits of the spirit, but not the “fruits of the church”.  So they are growing, but from the external view they aren’t on mission trips, and leading small groups, and witnessing to people enough to look good, so they get discouraged.  They come to think of themselves as not as good and lose that desire to draw closer to God.  I’ve been there.  If you are, remember, what God believes is what matters.  Draw closer to Him.

The fruit is the test.  Are you showing more fruit of the spirit.  Love, joy, peace, patience….

If you’re not, the answer isn’t to try hard, it’s to abide more deeply.  Spend more time with the Lord, listen to Him, meditate upon the word, desire God.  Keep your mind on the Lord more and His love, and the fruits will grow.  When you’re being fed by the vine, the fruit will grow on it’s own.  If you try to force it, you’ll just get discouraged.

The last couple years ( maybe last 1 or 2 ) have seen a distinct change in how I read from my Bible.  The first, and probably most ironic part, is that I read less.  I am most definitely not saying this is better, but how my life has gone the last 2 years.  It’s so weird to look back and realize just how much time I had and how little is free now.  There is still enough, there is always enough, but just from a sheer time standpoint.  But that’s really beside the point.

What I’ve found is how far I go until I stop.  I heard this story once, I believe it was from Andrew Womack.  Interesting preacher.  I listened to a bit of his teachings for a while and he’s got some really interesting ( and good ) views on things, especially healing.  I tend to stick with these other guys more and haven’t looked at any of this stuff in a while, but I remember this story he told.  He was on one of those read the Bible through in a year ( or month ) plans.  As always happens, he got a little behind, so he sat down with his Bible and began to read through his chapters.  On the very first first, he felt the Spirit speak to Him.  So He stopped for a second to ponder that, but quickly realized he’s going to be in trouble here.  If he stops like this, he’ll never get through it all.  So he found himself telling God “God, don’t start talking to me, I’ve got to read through your Word.”  ( don’t quote that last part, but it’s close enough ).  That was when he realized he had an issue here.

I don’t read far.  In fact, this last week, I’ve been going a couple verses through the Sermon on the Mount.  It’s actually rather convenient as I memorized the thing years back ( I can’t quote it now ), so I remember it well enough to keep a couple verses in my head for the day.  For example, today I read on down to the part that said something like:

Therefore, if you are presenting your offering before the alter, and there remember your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the alter and go.  First be reconciled to your brother, then come and present your offering before the Lord.  – Matthew 5:something ( MBV – My Brain’s version )

That alone kept my occupied for about 5-10 minutes of quiet time this morning, at least two 10-15 minutes rides, and a little other time.  Why, because there’s so much there if you just read.  Forget that you know the Word and read.

  1. Presenting your offering – Well, we don’t do that anymore, but had you read just a bit before, you’d know that the Old Law isn’t gone, just fulfilled.  So we still present offerings, but what they should be now and not an animal.  So we offer ourselves to God, our will(my thoughts). Do we still make offerings before Him?  Not just prayer, as that didn’t require a sacrifice to pray, no giving something up.  We should.
  2. remember your brother has something against you – I pulled up BibleHub.  I switched it over to Parrallel and Greek versions just to see.  Was this talking about a specific complaint, a reasonable offence.  It seemed kind of vague but sometimes that’s a translation.  Guess what, it is very vague.  I found nothing unique.  Every way I looked at it, it said “has anything against you”.  This could be a valid complaint or not.  This could be a sin you did, or something that just bothered them.  It really didn’t matter.  If they were upset with you for a reason, you better take care of that.
  3. Brother – Does this mean we’re just talking about Christians here.  I think so.  Hadn’t gotten a good though here.
  4. Leave your offering – Don’t gather it up and go.  No, make haste, take care of it, come right back.  That speaks to me of how important the offering is, that you will not leave it, you will back.  In fact, you might affect others with that.  Not sure there.  And it’s obvious.  You just dropped your stuff and took off.
  5. God doesn’t want your offering if it’s tainted. This is perhaps the hardest one.  So if I have been selfish or prideful enough to not deal correctly with my “family”, then the Lord doesn’t want my offering.  Yikes.  Luckily, I tend to keep a short leash on these things.  Oh, I’m definitely proud, but I can also suck it up and apologize, admit my fault, etc.  The Lord has done a bit of teaching here.  I see others who just can’t apologize if their life depended upon them.  I wonder what they expect from God.  Still, this made at least one part clear to me I need to resolve before making any other commitments to the Lord.

And there you are.  Two verses, and about two pages full of thoughts.  Just read the word and believe.  Not what you’ve been told, not what you want to believe, but what it says.  Then meditate upon it, give it time, consider the sides of it, the possibilities.  Stay open.  This is our daily bread.

 

So, I’ve thought a bit about this over time.  Trying to be open to God.  I remember hearing people say this, especially one of the messages from Sadhu about being completely open to God.  At one point he likened it to being married and naked in front of your spouse.  Basically, there’s nothing to hide anymore.  That analogy made some sense, but not as good for me.  Then the other day there was a connection put together for me.

What I realized is that there’s been a lot of times where I went off into sin, and when I came back and repented before the Lord, I would feel His presence.  I always thought it odd that so soon after being sinful I could feel closer to Him.  Finally I made the connection to openness.  It’s like when you’ve been hiding something from a friend or family member.  Something you’ve done that’s wrong, you tried to cover it up, but finally had to come clean.  Think back to some time you’ve done this.  Maybe it’s a spouse, parent, friend.  Doesn’t matter.

So hear you are, confessing that one secret to them.  You have opened yourself up.  You’re letting them see not only how you feel now, but those things you didn’t want to show.  In essence, you’re bearing your soul before them and waiting on their judgement.  Have you also noticed the freedom you feel in that moment.  Typically only if they forgive you, but that freedom to know that you’re accepted, all of you, not just the face you put before them.  Well, it’s the same thing.

So when you stand before the Lord, you have to realize that He sees all of you.  Not just the words you bring in your prayer.  Not how you’re dressed up for church.  He sees the thoughts you had in the dark, the sins you commit in secret, all that.  We know this intellectually, but don’t put it together in our … heart?  So I’ve found when I come before God know, I come “just as I am”.  Even I say it, it’s like cliche after cliche, so I hope you get the idea.  I come before Him knowing that I’m a mess.  I don’t hide anything, I can’t anymore.  In fact, lately I’ve had more trouble coming before Him for the exact reason.  I know I cannot play the game anymore where I pretend I’m something that I’m not.  Where I act one way in front of others, then bring out my true side in front of family ( sorry, little pet peeve of mine there ).  No, when I come, I bear it all.  I often mentally walk through all my weaknesses before the Lord, and admit them.  I am a sinner.  I am not very bright.  I am lazy.  But I am Yours.  Lord, if you’re willing to accept what I have, what I am, then I am Yours.  I mess up, I take bad turns, but I come back to You.  There’s no where else I want to be.