During Sunday’s teaching, Dr. Jack Deere shared this passage as one of the prayers he prays to prevent himself from speaking judgments and criticisms against people: Continue reading
As you renew your minds, be aware that reading God’s Word, as your only course of action, may not be enough. We will read some Scriptures over and over and over again, and the meaning is lost on us. The reason that’s true is because we hear ourselves read these passages through the lens of our own experience or through the tone of the person who introduced these biblical concepts to us.
Faith comes by hearing
Hear this, Beloved. Faith comes by HEARING. There is something dynamic and mysterious about sound. I grew up hearing the austere Methodist preacher talk in a monotone and lifeless voice about the marvelous “love of God”. It all sounded so dreadfully boring. I associated his tone and expression with those words. For years, whenever I heard someone read a passage of Scripture, I heard it through the lens and filter of their understanding.
This means it’s all too important who we choose to listen to.
We can increase our faith and our understanding by listening to people speak who have a deeper and less cluttered understanding than we have. Each person, when sharing their story or even reading a passage from a book, emphasizes and interprets the words through the filter of their understanding. That’s how people choose what tone and inflection to add when reading. They see “love”, and they read the word as they understand it.
When I heard Mike Bickle speak about the glorious Bridegroom, he rocked my world. Suddenly, Jesus was this God-Man so glorious and wonderful that I had to learn more. When I heard Gary Wiens speak with certainty about his loving Father, I knew I wanted to know a God like that. I knew that Christianity suddenly made sense if God was an extravagant lover and giver. If life was REALLY meant to be a passionate romance and pursuit of the Bridegroom, I could sign on to that.
It was hearing the reality in their voices that tipped the scales.
To this day, I seek out people with deeper revelation than I have. Whether it’s a streaming video, tapes, DVDs, sermon podcasts, or a testimonial of God’s power, I want to hear the people share who have experienced God and been transformed. Their stories expand my expectation and hope. I am excited to seek God and encouraged to trust more.
Take the challenge: In whatever area you wish you had deeper understanding and greater revelation, find testimonials, talks, and sermons on the subject from people who are more alive in that area than you. Don’t let anything stop you from listening to the voice of revelation.
If you want to grow deeper in a particular area but aren’t sure who to trust or who to listen to, leave me a comment or fill out the contact form and I will share my personal recommendations with you.
This has been an amazing revelation in my life. Don’t just read. You need to hear the voice of the one who has experienced greater depths of revelation. That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. That the breadth of your expectation may be increased.
Jesus would have been much better received today than most Christians are. Coming from an evangelical Christian background, I can testify that most Christians I know believe that they are rejected from society because of their moral standards. “Hollywood is so corrupt! Politicians are so corrupt! The Media is so corrupt!”
But didn’t Jesus encounter corruption and depravity 2,000 years ago? Absolutely. He spoke with whores, thieves, murderers, and outcasts. And those people loved him. They weren’t repelled by his message. That’s right. They were drawn to him. Jesus was and is a friend to sinners.
So what makes 21st Century American Christians so different? What is so different about us that the secular world ridicules and rejects us?
In one word: LOVE. God IS love. Jesus IS love. Jesus walked the earth for thirty some odd years and deeply loved the people he encountered. He was moved with compassion for them. He longed to see them restored. He only said what he heard the Father say, and he only did what he saw the Father doing. And that was always, always, always love.
We’re not rejected in 21st Century America because of our moral purity. We’re ridiculed, rejected, and scorned because we do not love. Our goal is to do what we’re supposed to do, and we think that is to tell people about Jesus and try to get them to join our side. And we’ve missed the first and foundational precept of Christianity:
For God so loved…
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. Love is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
The Christian life is to be walking by the Spirit, with the Spirit, full of love ready to be expressed. And all of these come from the Father. He is the source. We do not strive to love. We do not push ourselves to love. We love because we are loved. This means that if we are not loving, we have not received love. To taste and see the love that God has for you is to in turn be moved with His love that now dwells in you and to desire to love others.
I’m sharing this post not because I need to lecture, but because I need to learn. These are the thoughts God is leading me to.
“Seek Me in the Word, Daniel. Meditate on Me and My attributes, My actions, and My words. You were led to believe falsely about me through the lives of men who taught about Me when you were a child. Now is the time to restore the Truth to you. Know me as I am, not as men have said I am. Know my love, and you will be transformed. Give yourself time to think of me and talk of me. I am better than you ever dreamed. You have nothing to fear. Come closer. Draw closer. Find rest for your weariness.”
Lord, I am coming.
A psalm of David.
1O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?
4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
5 No one remembers you when he is dead.
Who praises you from the grave?
6 I am worn out from groaning;
all night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed;
they will turn back in sudden disgrace.
Something about Psalm 37:3 caught my eye last night. I felt like the Holy Spirit told me to read that chapter, and this particular part stood out.
Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. (New International Version)
Most of the other translations say something a little different, like:
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. (New King James Version)
Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. (New American Standard)
I like the first version because of the mental image I had when I read it. I pictured myself as a shepherd in a pasture inside the land of Israel, looking out at the border of our land. I can see the pastures in the distance outside of our property. They look lush and good for grazing. The thought occurs to me that I could take my sheep and goats just a little ways beyond our borders and let them feed on something fresh and new.
Then the Word of the Lord comes to me: Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. SAFE pasture. Then I realize that I’d be taking unnecessary risk out there beyond our borders. There is no protection. I would be outside of my protected territory. I could be attacked and no one would defend me.
It may look good, but it’s not safe. It’s not where I am protected. It’s not what God has given me. Now that I think of it, I am grateful for the protection that allows me to graze safely and make a living without enemies swarming in and surrounding me.
God, in His kindness and mercy, directs me to dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. He loves me and He’s trying to protect me. I can choose to take risks and dwell outside of the land He provided. But I feel loved knowing that He’s going out of His way to warn me of the dangers and to encourage me to remain where His provision and safety can be found.
1 Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy great peace.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.
16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.
18 The days of the blameless are known to the LORD,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
20 But the wicked will perish:
The LORD’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields,
they will vanish—vanish like smoke.
21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be cut off.
23 If the LORD delights in a man’s way,
he makes his steps firm;
24 though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be blessed.
27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
They will be protected forever,
but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;
29 the righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks what is just.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his feet do not slip.
32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
seeking their very lives;
33 but the LORD will not leave them in their power
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
34 Wait for the LORD
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a green tree in its native soil,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.
37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
the future of the wicked will be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
(New International Version)
Strongholds are beliefs that are built upon lies or half-truths. They affect the way we live, the way we hear God, and the way we understand who we are in Christ.
Demonic forces don’t have any power over those saved through faith in Jesus. But we can all believe the lies they whisper and find ourselves wrapped up in a mental stronghold we didn’t even notice. The only power the enemy has over us now is what we give them through our own belief.
Strongholds lead to:
- church splits
- family splits
- the need to be in control
- financial disorder
- victim mentality
By allowing yourself to continue thinking like a victim, you are making the declaration that your victimization is greater than God’s power. You are holding on to something God has already provided freedom from.
Join me over the next 30 days. It’s simple. Each morning, ask God to pull down the strongholds in your mind. Ask him to complete kill and remove them. Not sure that you HAVE strongholds? Ask Him anyway. The only things you have to lose are your strongholds. Either nothing will happen or He will destroy the strongholds in your mind and your quality of life will be improved.
Ask Him today. Ask Him tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. Do it with me. Expect some resistance, but do not give up. Keep asking for the next 30 days and let’s talk when it’s over.
*Thanks to John Paul Jackson for providing the inspiration for this post.
The eye is the window to the soul. Don’t let anyone tell you that’s just a saying. Some prophetic people can look into a person’s eyes and see images flash before their mind of the person’s pain, joy, history, etc.
Speaking from personal experience, I look people in the eye when talking business, but I’m always ultra sensitive to whether they’re comfortable with extended eye contact. My goal is to bless the person, not intimidate or annoy them.
I don’t know how the experience is for everyone, but eye-to-eye contact is extremely powerful for me. Sometimes I feel embarrassed, as though I have just trespassed into someone’s personal space by looking them in the eye. I’m embarrassed for their sakes because I wouldn’t want someone reading my mail (at least I wouldn’t have at certain points of my life).
For the director of music. For flutes. A psalm of David.
1 Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my sighing.
2 Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.
4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
with you the wicked cannot dwell.
5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence;
you hate all who do wrong.
6 You destroy those who tell lies;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
the LORD abhors.
7 But I, by your great mercy,
will come into your house;
in reverence will I bow down
toward your holy temple.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make straight your way before me.
9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with destruction.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongue they speak deceit.
10 Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD will hear when I call to him.
In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices
and trust in the LORD.
Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?”
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound.
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.