Don’t Ask Me… Ask God

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Would you hit “send” on this one? I just couldn’t help myself.

I wanted to write more. I wanted to tell this lady that I understand this thirst and this searching, but running to a human to point you to another human is like taking a big trip around a cul-de-sac; it’s short and you just end up back where you started.

But this is where we are at. We bombard ourselves with what everyone else thinks before taking any consideration that God actually has better thoughts and truths than all of us put together. The amazing thing is that He wants to impart all of it to us. ‘m convinced our brains have been reprogrammed for quick results and human approval. We are losing that desire to sit quietly and listen to God’s voice through His Word. Not the ability… we all have that. The desire is lacking. We prefer someone else’s experiences over our own. We want someone else to define truth for us, to outline it in a way that makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, until it replaces our own genuine experience with God and His Word to us specifically.

We learn through experiences, but life can go sideways sometimes. We devour the latest books, but authors are just people like us. We get sidetracked by superficial and we begin to trust other things more than we trust His Word to us.

Want to find out what grace REALLY is? Open His Word. Grace is what God did for us, His unmerited love towards us. It’s all in there. If you keep seeking it out, you’ll see more and more of the big picture. You’ll see that faith is our response to His grace. You’ll see how it all fits together and how we are created to walk in ALL the truths of His Word as a whole, not just one virtue or concept at a time.

One person’s thoughts on grace may be good and interesting. How about we see what God Himself has to say about it as well?

I’ve had friends ask me “what does the Bible say about…” and I’m happy to offer my two cents. I’m happier to point them to the Word and let God reveal Himself to them. He is in there you guys. It may not seem like it, but give Him the time He deserves. It will be a challenge and it may not be as fun as the new book you just bought, but I promise you, it will be more. 

He is no respecter of persons.(Acts 10:34) He’ll show up. The very author of your faith will show up and show you what REAL grace tastes like. You can’t get it from a commentary or from someone else’s experiences.

The Bible isn’t obscure or too hard for us. (2 Peter 3:16) No degree needed. No extra knowledge necessary. Just an open heart and your attention.

Uncertainty is NOT the new truth. Being fuzzy on things isn’t the new humility. People are willing to kill for a lie and yet so few are willing to speak up for the truth.

Christians, please know the Word. Study it, stand up for it, and love it. It is all we have in the world that will not change. Let it be the first place we go with our questions – it’s a win/win situation. God will not fail to reveal Himself, not ever. It’s up to us whether we accept what He says.

Let the Word challenge you, let God paint a picture that is just for you. It will be better than anyone else’s you could ever seek out.

Everyday Supernatural

“The secret of a Christians life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him as a result of the grace of God, and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical everyday details of life.” Oswald Chambers

The SUPER natural becomes natural to us. God’s very best becomes the norm. What an amazing idea!

The truth is though, life teaches us something different. We don’t experience this at all. Sometimes, yes, amazing miracles or provision occur and we are shocked and thankful. Often, we put our faith into something half hoping it will work and half expecting it not to. We make excuses for why this or that happened and we move on. Well-meaning teachings or people combined with our experiences lead us down a path of resignation. We want to see supernatural things, but we certainly aren’t bold enough to expect them.

Certain false beliefs have crept their way into our hearts and minds. They’re comfortable beliefs that allow us to explain away our disappointment or confusion. We fall back on them when things don’t really work out. They are also barriers to experiencing more. Here are some that I know I have believed:

  • God is capable of (insert prayer, need, desire here) but I don’t think He’s willing to do it for me.
  • God is sovereign, if He wanted to (            ), He would just do it. He doesn’t need me.
  • I must not have prayed hard enough. My faith must not have been strong enough.
  • All things work out in the end, que sera sera!

First things first: God is no respecter of persons. (Romans 2:11). The same grace has been extended to all mankind. He doesn’t hold back blessing from some and give it to others. He extended His grace to all. We must believe and know that He loves us and is willing to do great things for us. God isn’t wishy-washy toward us!

Oswald Chambers said this supernatural life becomes natural to us “as a result of the grace of God.” Ten thousand AMENS to that truth! His grace was and is totally independent of us. It is a gift. Nothing we did. So… if all these supernatural blessings, healings and provisions are the result of His grace toward us… why don’t we experience more? Why don’t they happen more often?

We Have A Role To Play!

If His grace alone made all these things happen, the world would be problem-free. Everyone would be saved. There would be no need to pray about anything. We know that isn’t true. The Bible says that Israel limited God (Psalm 78:41). Even Jesus was limited in what He could do because of the unbelief in His home town (Mark 6:5). We humans limit what God can do through our unbelief. He does need us. Our faith is a conductor that directs the supernatural power of God and makes it work! It is what moves things from the spirit world to the physical world. Faith is just our response to His grace! When the two meet up, amazing things happen! The idea that “God will just work everything out” while we sit by and hope for the best is dangerous.

I often see many well-meaning Christian-isms that promote this kind of thinking: “Let go and let God!” “Nothing can stop God!” “What is meant to be will be!”… Not true.

So we have a part to play. Our faith is important. But oh the pressure of having enough faith! Now we swing in the other direction. “I have to have big faith! I have to get better faith!” What does that even mean? I don’t know, but I know we tell ourselves things like this all the time. If something doesn’t work out – and if we know that God isn’t the variable in all this – we blame ourselves. My faith must have been weak. God is disappointed in me. Maybe next time.

Our faith is a gift. It isn’t wishful thinking and it isn’t false hope. Solid faith doesn’t create something out of nothing. It’s just coming into agreement with what God has already done. In the same way He provided forgiveness for our sins, He provided for supernatural things. Faith is just our acceptance of what He has done and our releasing it into being. The pressure is off! We aren’t failing God or disappointing Him, we are sometimes just ignorant of how His kingdom works.

We Give Up Too Easily

In Daniel chapter 9, the Lord showed up with an answer as Daniel was still in prayer. The angel Gabriel assured him that “at the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved” (v. 22-23).  How encouraging! The minute he set out to pray, the heavens heard and responded! But in the next chapter, things didn’t go as well. Daniel prayed for three weeks with no result. Verses 2-3 show us that he was a mess. He was mourning. Not eating. Finally, something happened. A visitor showed up with a message. “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days.” (Daniel 10:12-13)

Twenty one days between the time Daniel prayed to when the answer manifested. It’s clear that the Lord heard both of his prayers immediately. He sent out His answer immediately. But there are things going on that we are unaware of. Spiritual battles in the heavens. What if Daniel had compared this prayer with the previous one and said “well, the answer isn’t coming, I give up.” Yikes! The answer was coming, it just needed to be prayed through! So praying once and throwing up our arms if things don’t work out isn’t a good idea. It isn’t wrong to keep praying about a matter. This reveals that our prayers can be answered but not necessarily manifested. It is so important that we do not get discouraged if the answer doesn’t come immediately! People often get disappointed and say “oh well, sometimes God just says no.” More often, we have given up and resigned ourselves that the answer isn’t coming.

The Bible is clear, God is for us and has fantastic, supernatural provision for those who are in Christ. His arms aren’t crossed and He isn’t mad. We don’t have to convince Him of our needs. He already knows and is ready to move on our behalf! Most Christians don’t really believe that though. We live with a kind of fatalistic attitude that “it is what it is” and we hope for the best while preparing for the worst. But New Testament believers have the very power and authority of Christ at our disposal. He commanded us to use it! Instead of spending our time begging God and trying to make Him answer us, we need to join Him and receive from Him. We should be expecting supernatural things in our lives. We should be operating in the very power that Jesus used. We are not beggars any longer. The supernatural isn’t for super-saints, it’s for everyone. Jesus said true believers would operate in this way and that messages would be confirmed with signs and wonders. (Mark 16:17-20). It’s for everyday life. What amazing things would happen if us Christians really believed what the Word says about us???

It’s not the what the world teaches. It isn’t even what most churches teach. But it is what God Himself desires for us!

A Blazingly Holy Life

IMG_1790“Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe that God can come into me and make me holy? If, through your preaching, you convince me that I am unholy, I then resent your preaching. The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it is designed to reveal my unholiness, but it also awakens an intense yearning and desire within me. God has only one intended destiny for mankind – holiness. Oswald Chambers

Holiness – does the idea that we are created for this awaken resentment in us or does it encourage us to press in even harder to Jesus? What makes some resentful while some hopeful?

The reality of who WE are – sinful, struggling, imperfect – forces us to accept we will never be very good, much less HOLY. It’s an impossible goal. The heart resents what it can’t achieve. The law is impossible to fulfill. People stop here in resignation.

The reality of who CHRIST is – relational, forgiving, perfect in love – allows us to run to Him (in spite of our shortcomings) and enjoy the freedom of our salvation. He fulfilled the law, and we are free to be holy, not because of anything we do or don’t do, but because of the fact that we are saved through our faith.

I think the reason people become resentful and give up is because we’ve equated “holiness” with “sainthood”. Doing good deeds. Never feeling tempted. Never failing or struggling. For those on the outside looking in, this kind of Christianity  doesn’t seem possible or attractive.

“Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also…” Matthew 23:26

Jesus went straight to the heart. He wants us to understand that what goes on inside will naturally be made known on the outside.

What if we just exuded “holiness” as a natural result of abiding with Christ? We aren’t saved because we’re holy. We are holy because we are saved. It’s a by-product of our relationship with Him. We are saved based on our faith in Jesus.

What a gift! Just to embrace the ‘new man’ that God created us to be and the gifts we receive when we put our faith in Him. How I wish people could see this in us more. It isn’t about performing or doing. It’s about receiving!

The world needs to see the joy in true holiness. It’s a fruit of our salvation, not some unattainable, dull state of being that only a few are able to reach. If we are saved through faith in Jesus, we are destined to be holy. We are made to be holy. Not perfect, but holy. Set apart.

If we are authentic, this will flow out of us like water in a fountain.

“We are saved and sanctified for God, not to be specimens in His showroom, but for God to do with us even as He did with Jesus, make us broken bread and poured-out wine as He chooses. That is the test – not spiritual fireworks or hysterics, not fanaticism, but a blazingly holy life that confronts the horror of the world with a fierce purity…” Oswald Chambers

Confront the world with a blazingly holy life. Even as broken bread and poured out wine. It isn’t unattainable or set aside for perfect saints. Confront the world with a fierce purity and natural holiness – that’s how we will make a difference in a dark world.