Monday, May 24, 2010

Back to the Basics...

... and taking a chill pill called, trust.

Proverbs 1:7

I have been studying humility for a few months which has been terribly awesome! You know when you ask God for humility, or patience, or a loving heart and then things become difficult? He gives us an opportunity to be humble, an opportunity to be patient, an opportunity to show someone love... and boy, does He know what buttons to push! He gives us the opportunity, we fail, He picks us up, dusts us off and sends us out again.
Since i find myself in this situation often, i thought to myself, self if this is so hard then why the heck do you keep asking?! I guess i would rather have it hard and be more like my Lord than to have it easy and be more like me. I'm pretty sure i am not masochistic, so there really isn't any other explanation.

Whenever i ask of God, i always think of King Solomon. In 1 Kings chapter 3, God offers King Solomon, "Ask what I shall give thee," and Solomon asked for, "an understanding mind... that I may discern between good and evil" (vv. 5, 9). In remembering this, after i have asked i ask above all for wisdom. And what is wisdom?

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7

In a day when we are trying to see how much we can get away with with the least effort, the kind of knowledge that honors God demands discipline and wisdom. Discipline takes effort and, at times, pain. Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge in a certain situation. When we know that God will ultimately judge all of His creation for how we use the resources that He provides for us, we have the fear of the Lord. That proper reverence is what causes us to tell the truth when no one cares, to act honorably when no one sees. This is the beginning of knowledge (emphasis added).

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rejoice or Die

Lately i have been more and more exhorting myself with my mantra/motto, Rejoice or Die. I realize it sounds pretty dramatic but here is my logic (a.k.a. my interpretation of scripture) behind it.

Paul tells us over and over in the the New Testament to sew to the Spirit and rejoice in all circumstances:

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:8,9

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
Philippians 3:1

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It seems to me that if Paul was so intent on us rejoicing in all circumstances, there must have been an urgent reason. If i do not rejoice, my proclivity is toward bitterness or self pity which is sinfully thinking i deserve better than what God has given me. This is sinful because God tells us that by His divine power, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) which includes any suffering He deems necessary. Rejoice not in the suffering but in the result of the suffering after God has done His work!
Choosing not rejoice may lead to bitterness to which i apply:

Abstain from every form of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:22

Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
James 1:15

These passages - and knowing my heart - bring me to the conclusion that not rejoicing may easily lead to bitterness (desiring 'better' than my portion) which is a form of evil. It is sin and sin fully grown leads to death. So really, it takes only three steps to go from rejoicing to death. I guess that is why i take it so seriously as (i believe) Paul did too.

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

Clip My Wings That I May Fly

When i cry out, "Lord, let me die,"
please remind me Father,
You clipped my wings so that i could fly.

I don't need legs to dance,
or hips to sway,
nor notes from my lips,
to brighten my day.

Just a song in my heart,
my Lord on my mind,
though a realm apart,
i'm not far behind.

Just a lifetime away.

When i can't hold on any longer,
i fall on my face,
to worship my God in this holy place.
There is no where like it,
i hope you will see,
that Christ carries on,
when there is nothing left of me.
I hide in this place,
though it seems dreary and cold,
curled up with my Master,
yes, Him From of Old.

When i don't know what to do,
what to say or where to go,
i know i'll stand firm,
no matter how the wind may blow.

Still, as my bones are covered with skin,
here is my soul encased therein.
My hair may turn white,
with wrinkles on my face,
but i pray with all my might,
these things will not take place.

My soul has grown wings,
because of my King
yet covered with scales,
a bird on a string.
Sooner rather than later,
i pray to depart,
all of Him for all of me,
to be nearer His heart.

Yet no matter when that day comes;
summer, autumn, winter or the spring of May,
my body will fail,
and i will fly.
Fly, fly away.

© Jennifer Lynn - 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Desires for His Desires

The barren Hannah, delirious for a child, promised, "O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life," (1 Samuel 1:11).

She cried out to God the desire of her heart and promised that if the LORD should give her the desire of her heart, she would return it to Him. How difficult this must have been, yet how gracious our God to give to us the desires He has put in our hearts and ask us to dedicate them to His kingdom. How painful yet marvelous to give up a desire completely to Him that He should bless us far more without it. Even should you desire legs to walk and His answer is no, wait and see how abundantly He will bless you and those around you without them.

After physically giving her treasured child back to God

1And Hannah prayed and said,

"My heart exults in the LORD;
my strength is exalted in the LORD.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.

2 "There is none holy like the LORD;
there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
3Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
5Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The LORD kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
and on them he has set the world.

9 "He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the power of his anointed."

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Accept & Store Up, Turn & Apply, Call Out & Cry Aloud, Look & Search, to Find

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,

and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.

- Proverbs 2:1-5

The Scripture portrays wisdom as something that doesn’t come easily. To have wisdom implies many struggles with understanding. It’s when we don’t understand why things are working a certain way that we are faced with the journey toward wisdom. Notice that we need to turn our ear, apply our heart, cry aloud, look and search. These are the skill sets needed to understand the fear of the Lord and knowledge of God. These are the patterns that expand our perspectives.

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor,

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wisdom <=> Humility

If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. – Proverbs 1:23

This proverb is referring to the role of wisdom in our lives. It brilliantly captures how we learn: first we don’t know what we don’t know, then we realize that we don’t know, this begins the quest for knowledge, then we actually learn. Responding to correction is the doorway to wisdom pouring it’s heart to us and making it’s thoughts known. To allow correction in our lives is the pathway to wisdom.

Today’s commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor,

It is pretty awesome that God puts people in our lives to help us to see what we cannot see and correct what needs correction! Lord, please help me to humbly receive correction and give correction in love!