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Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! – Matthew 7:7-11

Too often we look at scripture and match it up to our experience.  In this case it says that “whoever asks receives”.  Well I know I’ve asked God to heal someone and they weren’t, so my experience says there must be more to that verse.  This intrinsically leads me to not believe in this verse until I can wrap my mind around what makes it not happen.  I don’t understand it, so I don’t believe it.

Yet, the Bible says it.  Something I started catching onto a couple years back is that it doesn’t matter what our experience tells us.  We don’t take the Word and run it through our experience to understand it.  We’re just human.  We don’t have the experience and knowledge to do that.  It’s great when I can understand it fully and know exactly how it works, but even there I must be careful.  When I take a set of verses and say I know how something works, I’m looking more at a formula and less at a person.  So what the Spirit brought again to my mind today is to forget what I know(or more accurately what I think I know).  Forget it.  If the Bible says it and I don’t understand, so what.  Believe.  As I believe something, then I can start understanding.

Now, let’s apply this to my journey.

  • I’m asking to hear and see God in a more intimate way.
  • I’m seeking after a closer walk with Him, to see Him face to face.
  • I’m knocking upon the doors of heaven that I may enter and know my family and my home.

how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him”

I am asking to know my Father who loves me.  Basically, I’m asking for eternal life.  I know that’s His will, I know that is what is good for me.  Jesus said those who ask receive.  That means I will get my wish, find what I seek, and the door will be opened.  It’s not a question anymore, just a timing.  What does that mean?  That means I pray differently.  I seek different.  I pray with confidence in God’s word.  I seek expecting it to happen.  All I’m doing it aligning my life with God to speed up this process that I may know Him better.

God will answer, He’s promised.

 

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Ancient of Days

There I beheld the Ancient of days, whose head was like white wool, and with him another, whose countenance resembled that of man. – Book of Enoch 46:1

I’m stuck.  Part of it is me, part of it is my spirit.  I made it up to chapter 46 a couple weeks ago and haven’t moved past.  I got focused away from the Lord for a bit, then I was focused on my writing, but over it all, I’m stuck on the phrase “Ancient of Days”.

Why?  Because my heart said stop.  I can’t go on yet. This is the type of thing I do sometimes.  When I feel there is something deep that the Lord is trying to whisper to me, I don’t want to move on.  I want to get it.  And there is something here.

First I searched the Bible, knowing I’ve seen that wording before.

I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. – Daniel 7:9

Later on you see references to the Son of Man as well along with the Ancient of Days.  It mirrors even in the description of how he looks to Enoch, which is neat to see.  Similar experiences from Enoch to Daniel, and Daniel had some of the greatest revelations we know.

Next I do my typical, BibleHub.com.  I pull up the verse, look at the translations, and then look to the Hebrew to see what each word “could” mean.  Without context and actually knowing Hebrew well, I can’t be sure, but often little fun clues pop up.  Got some thoughts there, but not a lot.

So I finally did what I typically really avoid doing.  I googled it.

Why do I avoid this, because there’s so much junk out there.  And sure enough, I start wading through it.  I find the theologies and commentaries dry.  I want life in the words, and they do a word study and correlation ( similar of course to what I did ), and give their conjectures.  Basically, we think it’s God, but it may be Jesus.  The Ancient of Days seems to refer to the one that existed before days were created.  And that’s it.

Really.  I didn’t see anything past that.  When I hit such an intriguing name of God and nothing.  Oh, I wandered of the deep ends of the net and even ended up off looking at the Behai faith and a guy who says Enoch became an Angel and thinks that we are reincarnated.  Interesting to run across, but feels worthless in my spirit.  No, I find nothing.

So now I’m down to where I should’ve began, at the feet of Jesus.  There’s actually another translation for the Hebrew word they use as “Ancient”.

Venerable – commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity;worthy of veneration or reverence, as because of high office or noble character.

Now that gives me something that fits better along what I was thinking.  Ancient of Days to me is the one who was there in long ages past.  They have the wisdom of knowing what all has occurred.  The one who was there in the beginning when it all began.  Before time, before the earth, before creation.  The one who’s hands molded us from clay.  The Ancient of Days who is the beginning, but also the end.  All roads lead back to Him.  And this ancient of Days will take His seat to judge.  This Ancient of Days is there waiting for us.

So I go on my knees and do what I often do in intercession.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. – Hebrews 4:16

As I typically do, I close my eyes in stillness and go to my quiet place, my garden with the Lord.  I wait and reach out for Him and come before Jesus.  I always start there.  Something in me just says that it’s right to always start at Jesus.  Then I ask Him to come with me before the Father.  I have never felt any hesitation, concern or lack of interesting.  I always get the feel of “Yes, lets go there”.  And I imagine myself coming before the throne.  I think of the throne and the temple, but now I think of the Ancient of Days who has taken His seat upon that throne.  And I kneal, with nothing else I can say.  What do you bring before that One.  What can you do but honor and just stand amazed.

Is it my imagination, yes.  Does that mean it isn’t real?  I’ll let you decide, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

 

 

 

Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. – Daniel 6:10

I think I finally get it.  I’ve read those scriptures that Daniel set aside 3 times a day to pray, and I always took it as, oh that’s some good thing he set up to do, and not something for myself.  Why?  Isn’t Daniel perhaps one of the men most to be respected.  Personally, I think it was Daniel that spoke with John in Revelation, who revealed the end times.  He said he was one of the prophets didn’t he?  I have no revelation on that, it just fits.

Anyway, so it hits me today.  Daniel was smart enough to realize that he needed to stop everything he did several times in a day to come back to God.  To walk in the presence of the Lord, to keep his focus upon Him, to line up his life with Him.  You can’t just go through your whole day without it.  Unlike me, he had the brains to realize that it wouldn’t just happen unless he made it happen.  That seems to be the key right.  In all these things, you plan to succeed.  What’s that saying, “if you fail to plan then you plan to fail”.  Do not trust that you can keep your mind on God all day.  Do not trust that time will just magically come.  If you need to, go to bed early.  Or stay up late.  Set aside some lunches, perhaps a schedule meeting in the morning.  Do what it takes to make sure you are coming back to God.  Always back to Him.

 

 

Sorry for the title, but it’s a reuse of one of my favorite lines from the show “Fringe”.  Fun show, not really that edifying, just fun.

I want to just make a short and honest post.

I get bitter.

There can be several reasons, some recurring, some new ones.  It’s a sneaky little devil.  One day I’m doing great, then my mind runs off onto one of these topics, and poof, 10 minutes later bitterness has poisoned my attitude.  And poison it is.  Bitterness allowed to fester will ruin your soul.  Seriously.  I suspect most of you have someone close to you where you’ve seen this happen.

Well today’s story was with my wife.  I’m going to leave things vague, as there’s no need for particulars.  But today was one of the reoccurring topics.  I was having a bit of a rough morning, she made some comments, I commented back, couple “barely” heated words, then I go off mumbling.  I mumbling because I feel like I am not being treated as I deserve ( strike one ), and that she does this a lot ( strike two ), and I think back about those other times she’s done stuff like this ( strike three, I’m out. ).

So the holy spirit managed to sneak a word in ( I’m pretty impressed in fact, because I didn’t want to listen ), and got me to stop and think about how Jesus would handle that.  Well, you know what happens when you’re grump and bitter.

“Well, Jesus picked out people that would listen to him”

“Jesus was respected for who He was”

and the best one:

“Jesus never had a wife to deal with”.

Obviously, this is the brutally honest part of the quote.  I did not say this out, in fact, this is the type of thing I wouldn’t ever repeat to someone as it exposes just how stupid I can be.  Honey, if you happen to read this, you are amazing.  I suspect you’ve already learned to not listen to me, just keep at it.

At this point God had enough, and pointed out that we are the bride of Christ.  Oops.  Guess Jesus does have to deal with “that”.  In fact, what really came to mind was that God chose Israel, and how horrible of a “spouse” they were.  Remember the life of Hosea who was led to marry a harlot as a testimony of Israel.  Ouch.

Needless to say, I started rearranging my thoughts after this.  When my wife got back ( she had gone to run ) I apologized.  Was I right in what I said at first?  It doesn’t matter.  if I got bigger I’m wrong.  If I got angry, I’m wrong.  I care much less for the actually truth than how I handle the situation.

So, the reason for this post.  I guess humility.  I want anyone reading to see other do ( or think ) their own stupid and silly things, and to encourage you to not give in to bitterness.  Instead, suck it up, set it aside, and make Jesus all you need.

James 4:7 would be that verse.  Resist and he will flee.   Guess what.  I’ve tried it, a lot, and it often doesn’t work.  Of course it doesn’t work in those areas I’ve allowed myself to get farther into.  I can think of a couple areas where the devil loves to come at me, and I resist to a point, and then get pushed over the edge.

I had a new twist on this I wanted to share, so as part of that, I went and did my typical “look at the greek” for the verse above.  Oh, I’m no greek scholar.  I actually did take a Biblical Hebrew class at my university.  I think I can still say the alphabet there, but I’m no scholar.  Instead, I use Bible Hub.  Here’s the link for James 4:7

http://biblehub.com/text/james/4-7.htm

Fun stuff, you won’t catch all the forms of the verbs and nouns, etc of Greek.  Gotta take classes for that, but it did give me one thing.  I followed the definition back for the word “resit” and found one of the definitions as:

take a complete stand against, i.e. a “180 degree, contrary position”; (figuratively) to establish one’s position publicly by conspicuously “holding one’s ground,” i.e. refusing to be moved (“pushed back”).

Well, that explains a little.  This isn’t just resist, this is like “take it to war’ resist.  So on that note, my new method.

Don’t just say no, don’t just run away, don’t just say a scripture.  All good things.  But take the opportunity afforded by the temptation to react to it.  Take action.  Preferably, find the base reason for that temptation that leads you to sin, and then turn to God in a way that counter acts it.  How to explain.  For example, lets say I have a sin which at root is that I’m lacking intimacy.  So I take that temptation, and when it comes strongly, I step aside, turn my heart to God, and find intimicy with my Lord.  I wait upon the Lord, looking to Him, praising and worshiping Him.  Not only does that counter-balance the desires for that sin, but it leads me to seek Him when I hadn’t planned.  Basically, I use the enemy’s attacks to draw me deeper into relationship.

Another way to describe this is through one of my favorite songs from Shane and Shane.  It’s called embracing accusation.  Here’s the lyrics.

The father of lies
Coming to steal
Kill and destroy
All my hopes of being good enough
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can’t abide
He’s right
Alleluia he’s right!

The devil is preaching
The song of the redeemed
That I am cursed and gone astray
I cannot gain salvation
Embracing accusation

Could the father of lies
Be telling the truth
Of God to me tonight?
If the penalty of sin is death
Then death is mine
I hear him saying cursed are the ones
Who can’t abide
He’s right
Alleluia he’s right!

Oh the devil’s singing over me
An age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray
Singing the first verse so conveniently over me
He’s forgotten the refrain
Jesus saves!

So the devil likes to come and accuse us, and guess what, he’s right.  We have sinned.  He loves to tell us that, but leaves off the “oh year, Jesus saved you from that” part.  So when he condemns, you take that condemnation, shove it aside, and say, “Good thing God’s grace is sufficient. He is awesome”.

What you’ll find is that when you build the habit of taking the attack against you into something positive with the Lord, the devil is going to stop.  As soon as it’s clear that his attacks are driving you closer, he’ll learn and move on.  Oh, he’ll be back with something else I’m sure, but like the verse says, “resist him and he’ll flee”.

This is actually a pretty straightforward deal, but it stuck out enough today that I just wanted to put it down.  Listening to Neville Johnson again, and as he was talking about getting into the Spirit, he jumped on the heart for a minute.  The heart is sort of the bridge between the soul and spirit.  It’s a little of both when you see the heart mentioned in scriptures.  Interesting thought, but one of the side comments he mentioned was “when your conscious is clear, there is a bridge opened in the spirit”.

Makes perfect sense to me.  When I’m unrepentant, I can’t seem to be with God.  I’ve noticed this a bit.  You’ve probably heard me mention that when I get off away from God, it’s like I don’t try, cause I don’t really play the “quiet time” game.  Need to clarify, nothing wrong with quiet time, I’m speaking of the routine that we’re supposed to do this set of things everyday.  When I’m off in sin, it just doesn’t work.  When I come to God and repent, suddenly it’s clearer.  I can feel His presence, I can hear Him speak.

So I guess I should make sure that early in this process you need to repent of everything.  That’s really part of the openness/honesty, and even bond servant.  If you’re not clear before God, you can’t hear.

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.

 

I hope I don’t sound too much like a broken record.

What’s the saying that we’ve said so much… oh year, “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion”.  I used to say that so much myself.  That’s what makes us different.

So tell me, when’s the last time you heard the Lord speak to you?   When’s the last time you saw God?  And I don’t mean God spoke to me through a fortune cookie that made me think of some verse that helps me keep my head up during a tough time.  Not that it doesn’t happen, but really.  Who in their right mind would tell me that they have a relationship from their wife when all they say are little signs showing that she’s alive and maybe set a couple things out for them.  That’s just silly.

Yet we’re ok with that from God.  Where did we go wrong?  Well, right at the beginning.  I believe that when you’re saved, “poof” clean slate.  Now I’m not saying Jesus just appears to you then, you need to grow, but I suspect God speaks, and you hear.  You may treat it as your concious, as the Holy Spirit, or even silly thoughts in your head, but it happens.  What happens next?  We have a better idea, that’s what happens.  We know better, we don’t want to do something, we don’t feel like it, etc.  Any and every excuse.  Oh we got saved, but we didn’t hand it all over.  And with that refusal to hear, comes deafness, and we’re off.

The worst part is, we don’t realize it.  We don’t realize that we’ve silenced the God of the universe.  Instead we’re willing to tell ourselves that this is normal.  I read a book one time where this guy said that to know God’s will, he looks at the Bible, he prays, he asks others, and watches for doors to open ( something like that ).  When he puts it all together, he sees the general direction it’s all pointing and that’s which way he goes.  Really?  The best the God of the Universe can do is give us a head-nod in the right way.

How did this happen.  That we get so lost from the voice of our beloved, and then decide that it’s what happens.  I think it’s a combination of selfishness, guilt, and some other stuff.  First we want our way, then we don’t want to admit that maybe we’ve done it, so it’s easier to just accept that’s how it is.  Why fight for something if maybe it wasn’t for you.  Why pray for healing for others, maybe God doesn’t want to heal them.  Good excuse, and gets us out of a lot of answered questions.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me – John 10:27

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God – Matthew 5:8

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. – John 14:18-24

We can hear God.  We can know God.

I remember Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj preaching about getting your eyes opened to see into the spiritual realm.  Then he made this comment that stuck with me.  “This is kindergarten christianity”.  This level that so few people get to, to actually see the Lord and hear Him speak, is just the entry level.

Can’t decide if that makes me extemely sad, or very motivated.  A little of both.

Don’t settle.

 

“When I can come into your Garden, then you can come into mine.”

These were the words of the Lord ( maybe not the exact quote ) from Neville Johnson’s message “Moving Into God”.  The point he was making is that we have to clean up our life before God can really move in and walk in our garden.  All of the junk we’ve brought in, the sins, the bad emotions, jealosy, bitterness, and so on needs to be cleaned up.  Our mind and heart needs to be more pure so God can actually come near unto us.  And when it’s cleaned up so they he can come in, then we’ll be clear to come into His garden.

Neville spoke about the beauty of His garden.  About walking in that.

I found this interesting, because years ago I felt like God was giving me a glimpse of what I just called “the garden”.  I hadn’t heard this message, hadn’t read anything like this before.  It was just a garden to me.  I did not walk in it.  I was not there.  There was in the most fleeting visual sense.  I think it’s really all I can handle typically.  I can probably dig it out of a journal somewhere, but I felt like God was telling me that every one of the thrones in my soul ( Paul Keith Davis book ) that I turned over to him, would bring me one more step fully into the Garden.  Let’s just say I haven’t made it far, but found it interesting as I hear Neville to think that maybe I didn’t actually just imagine that.

This does give a good guideline.  I need to get rid of so much of the rotten filth in my heart.  Bitterness is the easiest, sadness, anger, depression, etc.  I need my heart to be full of hope, faith, peace.  I do this by walking closer with God, by continuing to move forward.  And I know that this can draw me closer to Him.

 

How many of us have found ourselves asking what the will of God is for our lives?

I must confess, one of my greatest fears is coming to the end of my life and finding that I was doing my will and not His.  I find it amazing that we will live so much of our lives unsure on His will.  We believe in the Lord, but not enough to put all else aside to find out.

But for those who really seek, where do we begin.  Where do we start to come back into His will, to seek out His desires.  For me, it starts here.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification – 1 Thesalonians 4:3

We can go into sanctification, and I have before, so let’s just leave it as holiness.  The will of God is to move into holiness.  Stopping sinning.  Put away those ungodly things.  Center your lives around him.

Yet how many of us still live in sin.  How many still focus our lives open something else.  Yet we expect to know God’s will when we can’t get away from our addictions, our gossip, anger, bitterness, you name it.  We’ve convinced ourselves that to live is to struggle in sin.  Want to know God’s will for you, that’s easy.  Get free from your sin.  Put aside whatever it takes to live in a godly manner, then come back and ask.  How can God entrust us with His Kingdom, when we can’t manage our own.

Obviously this is me.  I talk to myself more, it just feels better to say us, to feel like I’m not the only idiot out there.