Monday, September 24, 2007

A Reckless Pursuit

A Reckless Pursuit, Fascination, Passion, Faith, Abandoning All Else, Fervency, Letting Go, Eyes Fixed, Dedicated, No Turning Back........

King David proclaimed that, above all, he sought one thing- the face of God. "One thing I have desired, one thing I seek, to behold the beauty of the Lord. Even to seek the very face of God." (Psalm 27:4,8)

Inspired by such a lifestyle, I abandon myself to this reality, reckless in my pursuit, fascinated in my devotion, stricken by love, wounded by grace. I am impassioned to seek His face because I am desperate for more.

Even now, the Spirit of God is moving in our midst, setting the pace for a worldwide movement of lovesick worshippers, inspired to live holy before God. Laying worldly pleasures aside and striving after the heart of God and longing to experience the power of the Holy Spirit.

The world may offer grand substitutes, and that is all they are; substitutes for the real thing. The Kingdom of Heaven holds a different reality; True Beauty, True Satisfaction, True Life. God is longing for us to pursue him in boldness as we abandon fleshly distractions to give ourselves wholly to Him with all our hearts. (Mt.22:37).

Today, multitude's are crying out to Jesus, "We will seek You with all our heart. We will indeed live a counter-culture lifestyle!" The Lord is preparing these people now in intimacy with His heart in the secret place to be vessels of His power. In their weak but sincere devotion, He is strong and will manifest His glory through them.

God is calling forth forerunners who will live in the spirit of John the Baptist who prepared the people for the coming of Christ. Even now God is searching the earth for forerunners young and old who will give it all up for Him, His will and his ways in fearless devotion. (taken from "The Call Kansas City" article)

Are you abandoned to this reckless pursuit of God? Are you willing to cast EVERYTHING aside to know Him in the fullness of who He is and to love Him with all your heart? God is seeking you out right now, He is pursuing you and drawing you to Himself. Get rid of everything that hinders you from coming to Him whole heartedly and be prepared to be overwhelmingly satisfied in God. There is no greater joy or satisfaction in this life than knowing the Father through Jesus. Are you ready to live for Jesus and fulfill His plan for you in the Kingdom of God? Much work is left to do before He returns. Surrender, let go, forsake all, keeping your eyes fixed and NO turning back! You will have no regrets!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Consider Your Investments

If you are looking for a good devotional book, I would highly recommend Chris Tiegreen's "At His Feet". I mention his writings often on my blog. Each day is always SO good, but today's topic was something that God is talking to me about lately and I couldn't help but share it.

"What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36

IN WORD- If someone has a sum of money to invest, he or she will have to make some choices. The money can be put in full into one investment, or it can be divided among more than one. Many people choose this latter option in order to hedge their bets. But when one option is considered far superior to all the others, diversification takes a back seat to opportunism. Attractive investment opportunities draw all of our attention and all of our money for the possibilities they entail. We want to capitalize.
In the economy of God, one investment is clearly superior to all other's. It's a sure thing. And Jesus calls us to place all of our resources, time, and talents there-exclusively. Why? Because He knows the return it will yield, and he knows we will not be disappointed. But there is often a part of us that wants to diversify. We want to invest some in God's kingdom, certainly, but also some in this world. We're afraid to put our resources only in one place. Whether we put a lot or a little into the temporal, Jesus says, it's a bad deal. The world will end in bankruptcy, and the kingdom of God will inherit all wealth. And its wealth will be everlasting.

IN DEED- Human beings pursue comfort and pleasure with an alarming passion. It isn't that comfort and pleasure are wrong; God created both for us to enjoy. But He never called us to pursue them. He never asked us to focus our attention on our earthly time span in order to make it as easy or profitable as possible. To the contrary, he constantly calls His disciples to take everything they have now and invest it in everything they know about God's eternal Kingdom. "Whoever wants to save his life [i.e., live for the "now"] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel [i.e., lives for the kingdom] will save it" (v. 35) Consider your investments well, and avoid the pursuits of this world. Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.

God has really opened my eyes to the fact that the things of His Kingdom are done completely backwards from the things of this world. So many believers spend so much of their time, money and energy towards things of this world and Jesus clearly tells us NOT TO! All of our time, energy, talents, money should be invested in things of the Kingdom of God. Every earthly thing that we pursue in the here and now will not stand when its all said and done.

As my relationship with Jesus grows, I have come to realize that in comparison to knowing Him more intimately that the things of this world become increasingly unappealing. As Paul says in Philippians 3 that all those earthly things are rubbish compared to knowing Christ Jesus our LORD. My prayer for me is that every minute of each day, relationship, word spoken, ministry and dollar spent would bring God glory and serve to advance the Kingdom of God. I so badly want to be sold out 100% in every aspect of my life. The more I know Him the more I love Him and the more I want to give every part of my being to Him. NOTHING else compares to knowing Christ Jesus our LORD and giving everything we have to Him! When we do, our eternal benefits will far outweigh anything this world has to offer. What investments are you making?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Be Praised!!

Consider the following passages from John Pipers book "Desiring God".

Consider this question: In view of God's infinite power and wisdom and beauty, what would his love to a human being involve? Or to put it another way: What could God give us to enjoy that would prove him most loving? There is only one possible answer: himself! If he withholds himself from our contemplation and companionship, no matter what else he gives us, he is not loving.

Now we are on the brink of what for me was a life-changing discovery. What do we all do when we are given or shown something beautiful or excellent? We praise it! We praise new little babies: "Oh, look at that nice round head! And all that hair! And her hands, aren't they perfect!" We praise a lover after a long absence: "Your eyes are like a cloudless sky! Your hair like forest silk!" We praise a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth when we are down by three. We praise the October trees along the banks of the St. Croix.

But the great discovery for me, as I said, came when reading "A Word about Praise" in C. S. Lewis's Reflections on the Psalms. His recorded thoughts-born from wrestling with the idea that God not only wants our praise but commands it--bear looking at again, in fuller form:

But the most obvious fact about praise-whether of God or any thing-strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise-lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game-praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least . . .

I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise what ever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: "Isn't she lovely? Wasn't it glorious? Don't you think that magnificent?" The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can't help doing, about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

There is the solution! We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value, and celebrate what we love, and praise what we admire, our joy would not be full. So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, he must not only give us himself; he must also win from us the praise of our hearts-not because he needs to shore up some weakness in himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because he loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising him, the most magnificent of all Beings. If he is truly for us he must be for himself!

God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him, self-exaltation is the highest virtue. When he does all things ``for the praise of his glory," he preserves for us and offers to us the only thing in all the world which can satisfy our longings. God is for us! And the foundation of this love is that God has been, is now, and always will be, for himself.

Ok, so with that said, why don't we complete our joy in God today by expressing it in our praise to HIM! The song attached will help you with this task!

Be Praised oh GOD!


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wear Does Our Value Come From?

Hey everyone!
My sweet sister in law has something on her heart that she wants to share with you all. What she shares is a huge issue among us women today. I asked her to put her heart into words and to let me post it here on my blog. Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

The following write up by Kristi:

As a young woman I suffered many abuses, including sexual abuse and rape, by the one man meant to protect me, my father. This left me with deep wounds I know many of you have as well. As a result I was constantly searching for the answers to the questions every woman and girl want and need answered; "Am I worthwhile? Am I enough? Am I VALUABLE?" Of course, I was looking in all the wrong places for all the right answers. I dressed as if my value came from the way men saw me physically, because for a long time I didn’t know any other way to get my questions answered. Thankfully we are blessed with a Loving, Patient, and Forgiving God, who knows our true hearts. He has been working on mine for many years and continues to, daily. I’d like to share a few of the things I’ve learned through the Holy Spirit and our Heavenly Fathers word. I pray that it might be of help to you, as well.

Wear Does Our Value Come From?

As Christian women, where are we getting validated? Is it in our daily quiet time with our Savior or is it in the looks and comments we get from men, because of the way we are dressed? There are so many frustrating issues in our world today that need to be bathed in prayer, but few are so completely within our control.

We are called to be salt and light in a dark world. Matt.5:14-16 says "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven." These verses are calling us to look differently than the world, yet how many of us read fashion magazines and try to imitate what we see or feel bad about ourselves because we will never be able to imitate what are on the pages? We have become so tolerant of worldly ways that I fear we don’t shine very brightly, if at all. When I allowed these images to get into my mind, through magazines, inappropriate TV shows, movies and videos, I gave the devil a foothold in my mind and heart. Eph.5:3 warns" But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s Holy people." Spiritual warfare is real and I had to get into the battle, for the sake of my marriage, my family and my own walk with Christ.

So, I had to ask myself; did I dress in hopes of catching a second glance or, did I see how valuable I was/am to God and want to honor Him because of His love for me?
This was a very hard question to address, and has taken a lot of humble tears to answer. How could Christ love me when I didn’t love myself?

Proverbs 31:10-12 states "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her, and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good not harm all the days of her life." Yet how could my husband trust me as his wife if I was advertising what was rightfully for his eyes only?
If we are dressing to impress others who are not our husbands or to compete with other women we are doing evil to ourselves, which in turn is doing evil to our husbands and our marriages because we become one body with our mates when we marry them. (Genesis 2:24) If you are not married yet, how will you know if your future husband loves you for who you are inside, if he’s distracted by how much he is seeing on the outside? I struggled with this fact for many years, wondering if my husband really loved me for who I was inside.

For a long time I was scared to have more children, because of what it might do to my figure, until I read these verses; Luke 23:27-29 states A large number of people followed him including women, who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bear and the breasts that never nursed!" These verses weigh so heavily on my heart. Even on the way to His death for OUR sins, Christ is warning us. This issue runs so deep in our society. How many babies have not been born, how many warriors for Christ are not in the battle because we have become too vain to birth, and raise them?
What about the women who do choose to have more than a few children? How many of us have thought to ourselves" At least I don’t look as bad as her!"? How many of us can say we have never compared ourselves to another woman and thought ourselves better because we have perkier breasts, a flatter tummy, or a thinner figure?
The mothers of many should be honored, for they sustain the next generation of warriors of our faith.

Proverbs 31:30 says” Favor is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." I believe this too is a warning, that as Christian women we are not heeding. The reality of life is that we all are going to get old. I know no one wants to hear this, but it is true. We are missing the point and the beauty of this fact. We are not meant to be here forever! We are meant for a better place, forever praising our Heavenly Father.

I had to ask myself" When I get older will I be happy with the person I have become? Will I be able to hear my master say 'Well done good and faithful servant'?" I wasn’t so sure, actually I knew I wouldn’t. I needed to make some serious changes, and through the help of my TRUE Father, my Heavenly Father I have begun to turn a new page.

Proverbs 31:22 says "She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple." We are obviously called in this verse to look nice and make an effort, but not in an Earthly way. When we have Christ’s light in our hearts, it fills us and HE shines through us. That is a beauty everyone will notice and can’t be faked or duplicated.

If you struggle with this same problem I have a few questions you can ask your self that might help; -Am I trying to say look a me in this?
-Will this outfit bring honor or shame to my husband and our marriage covenant with God?
-Am I dressing to compete with another woman, am I trying to look as good as or better than another woman?
-Would I wear this outfit if Christ was physically standing next to me?
(Because He is!)

The devil feeds us all lies, and wants to distract us from God’s plan for our lives, but we do not have to succumb to his efforts. We have the power of our Creator on our side. We may be low, but we are lifted up because of Christ.

You are valuable. You are loved. You are worthy. God created you for an intimate relationship with Him, and He sent His only son to die for you. He chose you.
He chose me. Let’s honor His love and sacrifice with our hearts, minds, bodies, and our lives. May we be shining examples of His love, for our children and each other, now and always.