Isaiah 30:18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! 19 O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!” 23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

When we wake up and realize that our ways are not working, then we will begin to see and hear God clearly. It’s at the moment that we become aware, for that is what being conscious means, that life is not about self, then our life will grow in richness and depth. In fact, just as the scripture above tells us there will be abundant life.

Jesus said, John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Therein lies a key to stop living as a gerbil on a wheel and actually do something with our lives. Actual conscious living, living our life on purpose with purpose, means to stop trying to outrun our pursuer but rather to recognize his schemes and get off the wheel. We must quit waiting until our lives are perfect to serve the one and only true living God. We need to stop caring about what others think and get authentically real with ourselves to fix those things that need fixing. We have to stop running from our problems, face them, fix them, and move on to the things that are truly important. The bible calls these things the weightier matters. We never get past the children’s play if we can’t get real and see the world for what it is and then to see our lives with Christ as it really is.

Abundant life means we don’t concern ourselves with our neighbor for the sure pleasure of gossip but rather we concern ourselves with their betterment. We don’t judge them or think we have all the answers but instead we serve them. We do these things because we want to see our nations healed and moving forward, rather than just being out for ourselves and what we can get.

What would submission to one another truly look like? What would it do for our lives to walk only where God said, “This is the way; walk in it”? I think we’d quickly find that joy and health and true prosperity of the soul would return. What a heavy, heavy price we’ve paid for being unconscious.

The Awakening

Yesterday we ended with the thought that we are cracked yet bulging from the sheer amount of information that is at our fingertips but uselessly spilling out to no avail. The word from Isaiah that was posted yesterday said the wall would collapse suddenly. Let’s read on:

Isaiah 30:14 It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.” 15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift! 17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.”

Beth Moore made a statement in one of her teachings that it was much better to allow God to break us rather than to snap. I believe this statement wholeheartedly. For we see, in this passage, that if we had come to repentance and rest, if we had stopped the murmuring and complaining and trusted God it would not be as it is today.

We thought, as children often do that our freedom bared no burden of responsibility. Ask any teenager with an allowance and they will tell you that they can buy whatever they want. Only whatever they want may not be good for them or fit into the family dynamic of what is acceptable and not. So the argument ensues as to what is appropriate and what is harmful. They believe their right trumps their father’s rules. So it is with our heavenly Father. We believe our freedom trumps His desires. Yet, the bible tells us that the Lord will prevail in the end. So we end up fighting a losing battle thinking we are somehow winning.

Better to be broken than to snap, just ask any economist today. Better to be broken than to snap, just ask anyone who signed an interest only home loan. Better to be broken than to snap, just ask any spouse who pushed the other just a little too far. Better to be broken than to snap, just ask any person who experimented with drugs and alcohol only to find themselves chained to their addiction. Better to be broken than to snap, just ask any of us who have demanded our own selfish desire over the will of the Father.

As mature of a believer as we want to seem to be, we are still children in many ways. We don’t take the time to cleanse ourselves, like every 10 year old in America others can smell the funk across the room. Just like children, we never learned to rest our desires in God’s hands and so we restlessly reach for the next adrenaline rush from whatever source it comes from. Just as toddlers who want to talk incessantly we are never quiet enough to access the still small voice that leads us to victory. Just as teenagers who think they can make it on their own, we never fully understood what it means to have our strength in Him.

We are going through a period of testing and proving and the lessons which could have been easy will be hard instead. For those whose desire is to wake from their slumber to attempt to serve the one they call Lord and Savior, it will mean some radical changes. Times are tough and will be getting tougher. The difference will be the children who decide to grow up and have the faith to see God provide. Then there will be the others who will continue to murmur and complain and decide that God is only as good as what He’s done for us lately.

Cracked and Bulging

It’s time we begin to see the cracks in our lives. Not being able to live authentically, not understanding the goodness of God and that evil only exists outside of that goodness and that the length of time that we wander in the desert is about our personal choice to give up our ego. We are mere children crying out for a great move of the spirit. We pray for revival and we ask for the bride to awake from her slumber and all the while we are cracked. Which brings us to the point where God has been directing us to see.

Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; 2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge. 3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace. 4 Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes, 5 everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.” 6 An oracle concerning the animals of the Negev: Through a land of hardship and distress, of lions and lionesses, of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation, 7 to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing.
8 Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. 9 These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. 10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. 11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” 12 Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, 13 this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.

We have become a people who want to feel good at any cost. Yet, ask yourself, what good does it do to fill a cracked pitcher with water? It will only leak. Yet, we pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and then watch as it leaks out and amounts to nothing. We blame God for the lackadaisical response in the earth today but it is really our own cracked method of attempting to retain a word from the Lord all the while swimming with the sharks.

We aren’t in and we aren’t out but we certainly ask for the Lord to hurry it up. We demand Jesus Drive Thru each Sunday. Yes, we want a family meal and make it fast and cheap and remember we don’t have all day. It leaves us bulging in excess without substance. As quickly as we consume, it is voided out and we say, “The Lord is not in this place!” We lament, “The Lord has forsaken His people.” This is nothing new, man has been doing it since the beginning of time and yet there comes a time when ignorance is no longer an excuse.

In the age of technology with every scripture reference, commentary, concordance, Greek and Hebrew translation literally at our fingertips via the Internet, we can’t say we didn’t know. Our only excuse is we didn’t care.

The Desert

When we get to the place where we no longer believe or trust God we find ourselves wandering in the desert without direction or purpose. The desert experience can take forty years or forty minutes it’s up to us. Our choices determine our direction and we either wander aimlessly or we walk through these times.

We can recognize the exit scene of the garden and the entrance to desert when we let our spirit run dry and our ego rise up. Ego what exactly is it? It’s defined as:

1. The self, especially as distinct from the world and other selves.
2.In psychoanalysis, the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality.
3. An exaggerated sense of self-importance; conceit.
4. Appropriate pride in oneself; self-esteem.

I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer explain ego as an acronym of Edging God Out. We get to take a walk in the desert when we edge God out of our lives. We can tell when we are heading to a desert experience when we hear these words coming from our lips but the thought process has already been marinating,

“Where’s God?”
“The message did nothing for me”
“I just don’t feel it anymore.”

We all have been in the desert. The desert is dry, barren and without meaning or purpose and void of the Holy Spirit. Each day looks just like the other. We get up, we go to work, we come home, we eat, we watch TV and we go to bed and we do it all over again tomorrow. Our lives become mundane. The desert tends to get really cold at night and that is how it is with us. We get cold to the things of God. We get cold to the service of others. We begin to wallow in our own problems and the life we are living and we continually murmur and complain about everything. We lose our sense of gratitude and although we may have seen many miracles in our time, we have forgotten or dismissed them as a thing of the past. We have forgotten God but we turn it around and declare that He has forgotten us. Dr. Myles Munroe says this, “The person who cannot see the ultimate becomes a slave to the immediate”.

Deuteronomy 8: 11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest–when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end—

We’ve all met people who decided to set up camp in the desert and they get stuck there. They are no longer free to fulfill their purpose in life. They have become slaves to themselves. If and when they determine to deal with the truth of where they are in their condition, and then have a change of heart and mind they can pack up and come back to living in freedom. Until then they are doomed to wander in the desert. The desert was meant to be a journey but God can only help you when you are ready to move. It’s all about choices.

Good and Evil

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

We learned yesterday that everything that happens is for a reason and that reason will have a good outcome for us in some way. If that is so then what is truly bad? If even bad things can turn out good then good and evil become subjective until we understand the whole story. We all carry battle wounds and scars that tell a sad story. The scar shows we got through the wound or ordeal and we have proof that things heal and get better. Moreover, if we truly trust who He says He is we come out strengthened in our faith. Therein lies the problem; trusting God that He has our best interest at hand. Especially when we’ve had to endure a struggle.

Disobedience can kill all the good in our life in an instant. There is a cost to being free will human beings and I wonder if we often count the cost of that before we set out to do a thing? We learned in day one of this teaching that when Adam and Eve sacrificed their self for the self image they distanced themselves from the reach of the Father. Not that He couldn’t reach them but that He honors our choices. They now could honestly say they had knowledge of good, the time with God, and evil the time when they determined to take matters into their own hands and edge God out. Disobedience, defiance, or an act outside of love removes the presence of good in our life and we delve head first into the dark, bad places of where life can take us. In this condition we become like hardened clay unable to mold into any possibility of hope. In this condition we find all sorts of evil that ultimately proves to destroy our soul. This is where victim thinking comes in, this is where despair comes in, this is where we meet depression, despondency, despair. This is the place where hope is lost.

You see, outside of the boundaries of God we live an unprotected life. Yet, I believe that all of us truly know that this sort of lifestyle feels good to the flesh for awhile. We’ve all put our toe in the water of evil and felt the warmth of the water there as it invited us in. Some of us dove straight in and swam around for a time, while others of us cautiously took the steps one by one. Either way we have knowledge of what it feels like. Only, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. We noticed that we were swimming around with hungry sharks that were taking us apart piece by piece. Some of us still don’t see the chunks missing and we continue on. Some of us choose to ignore the fact that we are being devoured and pretend as if all is well.

In this place of darkness we begin to live in fear. When conviction comes we question whether the others swimming with us will still like us? We begin to feel entitled to live in debauchery and we call it our right. We relish the power of living our lives our way and we take free will to a level it was never intended to go. Then when the bottom falls out and we no longer have any options left, we ask God why he allowed us to go so far? Why has He betrayed us?

It becomes a matter of trusting that God is really good because we’ve seen so much evil we can’t conceive that there is One who is trustworthy. Besides, it is much easier to blame someone else for our own choices.

Matthew 18:3. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The King Can Do No Wrong

My husband has a saying when I say something like, “Lord why is this happening?” His explanation is always that if we believe God is good and that God is love then there is truly nothing wrong in what He does or what He allows. “The King can do no wrong.”

Examine this premise today because if that is true, it means that we trust God in the plenty and in the lean. It means that although we have free will, we give up our desire for what we consider the blessed life, for the life that he chooses no matter where that takes us or what sacrifices we have to make to follow Him. It means that we are no longer victims to circumstance but an essential part of something bigger than ourselves. It may even mean that we have to suffer some things so that others may learn or be provided for.

To think that I may have to endure something so that the bigger picture of life may be fulfilled seems on the outset unfair. When I look at the bible I see the life of Joseph. He spent 13 years learning total dependence on God. Joseph was tormented by his brothers, sold into slavery, thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit, forgotten by his friends and ultimately made the right hand man in Pharaoh’s court. All of these things happened in his young life so that when famine came to the land of Jospeh’s family, the 12 tribes of Israel, his brothers, would not starve. God’s plan for their future was more than they could see at the time. Those same brothers who threw him into a well, considered killing him and instead sold him to slavery for twenty shekels. Not a random amount as it’s the price of redemption to the Lord according to Leviticus 27:3. Genesis 37-45

All of these things happened to Joseph and yet, when Joseph’s brothers are out of food they go to Egypt for help, they are met by Joseph. Imagine their fear, dread and regret. Only here is what Joseph says to them:

Genesis 45:5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay.

The King can do no wrong.

In a culture that values self and promotes the need to be happy above anyone or anything else that may be going on in the world, this seems like an impossible concept. What is an insurmountable concept, it would seem, is that we are not here for ourselves, but for each other. That flies in the face of everything the “me generation” has been taught. It means that it challenges our ideal of right and wrong and good and evil because if Joseph’s life of false imprisonment was an act of God’s goodness and greater plan, then our concept of good is subjective at best.

There is great discomfort in this thought and yet, there is great peace. It becomes unsettling to us as we process through this concept. To think that even in the tragedies that life hands us, there can still be good, seems cruel to our human understanding. Yet, since we don’t see the end from the beginning we must learn to trust that what is happening is not without reason. It is actually for a bigger picture that we may not even be conscious of.

Naked and Unashamed

In a recent survey, dating couples were interviewed about the first time they slept together. 33% of couples say they slept together on the first or second date. Yet, these couples after dating an average of 8 months still did not know things about each other in terms of past experiences, life-long goals or childhood memories.

Genesis 2:21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

In the garden, we find Adam and Eve the first naked man and woman. I know that we focus on their physical nakedness but there is a deeper thought process to all of this. They were not only naked physically, they were naked emotionally. That is to say that they were open and honest with each other. Their relationship transcended the shallow and dared to swim in the deep richness of a true communion of acceptance and love. They could truly be themselves with each other and not have to worry about the judgment of the other person. At this point in time in history it was all good.

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

In a moment of weakness they opted to gain worldly knowledge and thus sacrificed true self for self-image. Instantly, they covered themselves from each other.

So today we find that getting physically naked with one another is acceptable but getting emotionally naked with each other is taboo. This is why pornography and illicit affairs are prevalent. We hide our emotions and our true self hoping that when you when you see us, you only see what we tell you is pleasing to you and not what is real.

A woman who shouts to her mate in the middle of an argument, “You don’t really know me!”, may be correct. She may have been showing her self image for the length of time of their relationship rather than her true self. A man consumed by pornography to the detriment of his marriage, may be burying himself in self-image rather than dealing with the work it takes to build a lasting relationship.

Those who are called according to his purpose have an obligation to live beyond the cross of calvary. Jesus died so that we may have true relationship back. We need to stop being superficial and thinking the self-image will suffice. Maybe then our divorce rate will drop, our self-worth will return, our friendships will be fulfilling, and we’ll return back to the place where we can be naked and unashamed. It’s called authenticity and we should be desperate for it.

Luke 9:25. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self ?

Or in terms of this blog, what good does it do to share our physical body if our soul and heart get lost in the process?


Foolish Virgin's photo by Rebecca Kennison

Calling someone a fool is the worst thing you can say about someone according to the bible. (Matthew 5:22). Only what do we do when we see someone in our life doing foolish things over and over again?

Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.

If we know better then why do we keep repeating the same mistakes? Think about it, a dog vomits because its food did not settle right in its body. The same is true for us, if something didn’t settle right in our body why then do we go back to feed on it some more?

Stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Does it really matter if the new job is in a new city if you are only going to work the job for a year before you are bored and moving on to something else? Does it really matter if the face on the man’s body is different from the last face if the man is doing the same thing that you couldn’t live with before? Does it really matter if you take new classes at college if you did nothing with the last ones you took? The problem isn’t the job, the man or the course of study. The problem is you. You do not have satisfaction or peace in your life.

Stop putting off decisions in your life. How many times do I have to hear that you want to change all the while you never get up out of where you are? How many times are you going to wish things were different before you begin to change and pray and move to make things happen? Today, begin to prioritize your life. What do you really want? Complaining is so much easier isn’t it? It allows you to be lazy about the priorities. Playing the victim of your bad choices throws the responsibility off of you and on to someone else but the result is the same. You are still in the same spot. Stuck. You like that we feel sorry for you but I am beginning to think it’s wasted effort on my part. You are still in the place you are in because YOU CHOOSE TO BE. No one put a gun to your head. Prioritize your life.

You’ve been in church for so long, you’ve heard countless messages and yet you’ve never brought that knowledge from your head to your life. You are still searching for the solutions of the world because the godly ones seem boring. Instead it’s much more exciting to live your life precariously on the edge of disaster. It takes no effort that way. And your life continues in the spiral it’s been in and you say you can’t help it. And yet, you are the only one who can help it. Still, you throw the responsibility of it on others thinking it’s all of our responsibility to rescue you yet again. I ask myself though if I am your source then I am playing god when God is who you need the most, not me.

The wisdom of the world leaves you with nothing but foolishness. The word says to drink your wine with a merry heart, to be happy with the wife of your youth and yet you look for contentment in other things. In alcohol abuse, in drugs, in illicit sex, in your work, in porn when the simple solution was always a relationship with God.

It was always in a relationship with God and will always be. So what will you do? Will you continue to complain and go about your merry way accessing the things of the world? Meanwhile, you are sitting in church on Sunday trying to shake off the effects of Saturday night. Only the world is winning and the voice that was trying to lead you down the right path is dimming. You want something better for yourself but what are you going to do to get it? Another year is going down the drain. You can rescue it if you want to, only I’m not sure if you really want to. In your opinion there is just too much to lose. Only the loss is not in the way these things make you feel, the loss is your life.