“…No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” – 1 Chronicles 21:24
David was offered an alternative. To sacrifice to the Lord burnt offerings without paying the price.
But David knew God’s heart. He knew God wouldn’t be attracted to that sacrifice which didn’t require a payment on David’s part.
The value of an item is often determined by how much another person is willing to pay for it.
If that’s the case, Aren’t we saying we don’t value God that much when we aren’t willing to pay the price of consecration, time spent in the secret place or meditating on His word to get closer to His heart and know Him?
Jesus told the Canaanite woman He came to the children of Israel first. She persisted and received her healing.
We are often discouraged and give up at the slightest hint of resistance. But beloved if you want the fire of God, you will have to push through discouragement, disappointment, failure & delay, until you are consumed by Him and nothing else matters anymore.
“It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter. But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” – Proverbs 25:2
God is delighted when we diligently seek Him. When we are willing to do whatever it takes to climb that steep hill of His presence, to walk that narrow road to see His glory.
“So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place. And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the Lord, and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering.” – 1 Chronicles 21:25-26
The Fire will come, but the question is: are you willing to pay the price? Is intimacy and closeness with God worth to you more than entertainment, relationships, comfort, complacency, and the fleeting pleasures of sin? Are you willing to lay those competing idols at the altar?
The Fire will come and when it does, you will be burning for Him. Your amber will glow so brightly it will draw others out of darkness. Your warmth will melt the coldness of religion and tradition off of people and usher them into the hot and passionate place of relationship and intimacy with the Father. Your light will be evident for all to see and as a lighthouse directs a ship to the shore, you will direct lost souls towards the savior.
Jesus, I will not come to your presence with my 2nd best or 3rd best. Lord, I will come to you with all that I have. My desire is to be consumed by a passion for your glory and kingdom. Every other god is an idol that cannot save, cannot heal. There is one true living God. His name is Jesus. Set me ablaze today Lord. Whatever it takes, I am willing to pay the price to be closer to you. There’s no place I’d rather be than to be hidden under your wings. My single obsession in life is to know you and make you known. Here I am Lord. Won’t you send your fire down today. Thank you Jesus!
Imagine a deer who is out in the scorching sun, wandering looking for a shade and a drip of water in the summer.
Now, feel the palpitation and throbbing heart of that same doe in her all consuming thirst for the water brooks.
Imagine the soldier and his wife who have been apart during his deployment. Their souls longing to be united and their thoughts occupied with each other.
Now, picture the glorious homecoming and the elated lover fainting at the sight of her knight in shining armor. Heart and flesh crying out with overwhelming love and passion.
Imagine your 8 year old self on Christmas Eve. Your tiny frame possessed by excitement and anticipation for the opening of your gift the next day. Your bed is no longer a place of rest and solace, but rather a temporary holding ground to contain your restless energy. Sleep is impossible and improbable.
Apart from the contemporary references that I added, thats how David described his all consuming, passionate obsession and fixture with his creator, lover, King & God!
Psalms 42:1-3, Psalms 84:1-2, Psalms 132:3-5
Are you hungry for God?
Have you tasted enough of his goodness to want to have more? “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Do you desire to fellowship with the Holy Spirit? “Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”
Are your waking up and laying down marked with praising Him? “From the rising of the sun to its going down the Lord’s name is to be praised.
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.”
Come and drink from the living water. Come all you who are weary and heavy laden, he will give you rest. Come and let the Holy Spirit take residence in you.Come and let him fill you with divine peace, joy and light. Come to Jesus.
He took His three best friends with Him. He was filled with horror and deep distress. He knew all of them were going to betray him, yet he still didn’t leave them. He could have left them before they did, but he chose to spend his last few hours pouring his life into them. One of his best friends had even vowed that no matter what the others would do, he would never desert him. How ironic is it that it’s this same fellow that was swearing and cursing at the mention of his name.
It’s not a pretty scene. One guy is running away naked from the mob as they tried to capture him. The whole place is a mess. All of the leaders of the town have come with their security forces. The way they are marching forward and the look on their faces says they mean business. They must have some information about a high-profile criminal hiding nearby.
“My soul is crushed by sorrow to the point of death; stay here and watch with me.”
Right after he uttered those words he went down a little further and fell to the ground, the weight of the situation bearing on his soul, mind & body. He didn’t want to be separated from his father, not even for a single moment. But he knew there was no other way.
“Father, Father, “he said, “Everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”
He returned to his friends and what a sight it was!
Don’t they understand?! This is it! This is the moment! This is their last time together! What a journey it has been the past 3 years! But it all comes to an end now.
His words were to watch and pray.
They were definitely not keeping watch. They were fast asleep.
They were not praying. They didn’t heed His word.
I have lost count of the times that I have found myself in those situations. I knew His word, yet I didn’t take it to heart. I should have been keeping watch and praying, yet I chose the comfort of sleep & complacency. And it’s during those times that the tempter got the best of me.
38 Watch with me and pray lest the Tempter overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.” – Mark 14:38(TLB)
It’s no different today than it was 2000 years ago when Jesus was being crucified. If I am not keeping watch and praying, I will not be able to stand the temptation of this world to give in into sin, to deny Jesus for fear of rejection, to doubt God’s word and his plans, to believe the constant lies of the enemy about God, myself, to doubt God’s love for me and cave into the temptation to believe the enemy’s lies about my brothers and sisters in Christ!
Would peter have denied Jesus if he had been keeping watch and praying? I don’t know. I do know though that Jesus didn’t want to go through the pain and agony of being separated from His father & being crucified. But he still did it.
He kept watch and prayed!
I know I needed the reminder. Maybe you did too. I knew Jesus never sinned, when he was still fully human. Now I understand why. It is because he kept watch and prayed. And the tempter could not overpower him!
I need to keep watch and pray! You need to keep watch and pray! We need to keep watch and pray, lest the tempter overpower us!
Father I ask for forgiveness for the times I didn’t heed your word. Lord, I ask for your mercy for the times I chose sleep, comfort & complacency instead of prayer. Lord, I am choosing to heed your word today. I ask that you would create a desire in me to seek your face in prayer daily. Lord you are so much better than what this world has to offer. Only you can completely satisfy my soul and my deepest desires. You have the Living water, Jesus. Give me the strength to pray, so I can have power over the temptations of this world and the enemy. In Jesus’ name! Amen!
Be Selfish? That doesn’t sound very Christ like! Is that even in the Bible? Yeah I hear you. It might sound unbiblical but it actually is. Think about it. You got saved because you didn’t want to go to hell (act of self-preservation) and wanted to preserve your soul. In the same way sometimes you have to be selfish in Life! Haters gonna hate( you feel me?), people who were never with you are going start opposing you and the “Godly” thing might seem to be weak, nice, and be a “door mat” and let everyone walk all over you!
No Sir! Not today!
A dear friend who recently got water baptized and is still young in the faith, Teddy, shared these few kernels of wisdom with me( SN: it’s not about how long you have been a Christian, but it’s how much you have let Christ take over your life :)).
You have to let people into your life
Let’s face it! It’s a Cold world( shout out to Jermaine). People who you trusted are going to betray you. There will be times when you will be disappointed in life because you are not where you expected you would be in life. Broken hearts, deferred hopes and dreams, mistakes and regrets….. It’s all part of life. You have to learn to take the good with the bad and do it with a smile J
But…. You can’t afford to isolate yourself and live in isolation for fear of rejection. You can’t afford to!
Because we thrive in community. We need each other. We need to lift each other as we climb up and not pull someone down when they are trying to progress in life. That kind of negative energy hurts you more than it hurts the other person. Get rid of it!
Take a risk for a change! Allow people in your life who can coach and mentor you to become a better person. This is good for both the mentor and the mentee. The mentor gets to stay sharp and active by having to coach someone still developing. The mentee gets indispensable counsel from a mature guide.
Cut some people off
You have to be ruthless sometimes and look at the facts at hand. Are the people surrounding you adding value to your life? Spiritual, Professional, Personal or are they constantly leeching off of you and want some free handout from your efforts. You will have to remove those people from your life for the sake of Growth. The world is constantly evolving and improving. If you are not improving and growing at a faster pace (or at least the same pace), you will be left behind and you don’t want that.
So remove people from your life that are not on your side. You don’t want someone from the opposing team in a soccer match wearing your team’s jersey and masquerading to be on your team. That’s bad and ends in a loss. And you are trying to win 🙂
Save yourself first
It’s not magnanimous or generous to be trying to save others while you yourself are drowning. You are only useful to others as long you yourself are safe first. Put on the life vest or oxygen mask on yourself before you start helping out. Wise up!
It’s a common trick of the Enemy to trick you into thinking by focusing efforts on yourself you are not being Christ-like or you are being ungodly. Well Hello? Jesus had to be in training for 30 years before he started his ministry on earth. This is an old-trick from the book, don’t be fooled.
Save yourself first!
Put on the Full armor of God
You know what they say right, save the best for last! That’s right! Without God in your life, you have a nice car without an engine. It’s pointless.
And it all starts with J-E-S-U-S!
“6 Jesus told him, “I am the Way—yes, and the Truth and the Life. No one can get to the Father except by means of me.” – John 14:6( The Living Bible Version)
“8 For salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is what we preach—is already within easy reach of each of us; in fact, it is as near as our own hearts and mouths. 9 For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation.[a]” – Romans 10: 8-10( TLB)
Step 1: Be real! You’re a sinner. I am a sinner. We are all sinners. From the small lies we tell, to the lust and temptations, the anger and the hatred, the love we have for Evil and hatred of God and Godliness. We are all sinners. There’s no getting around it. (Romans 3:23). Compared to a Holy God, who is pure and light and has no association with darkness, our lives reek of dirt and junk.
Step 2: Read the word of God. Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself. It’s crazy how people who don’t read the word of God are so deceived and think because of their religious performances and church attendance they are all right with God. Beloved, that’s a lie from the pit of Hell! Let the word of God search you first. You don’t just buy a car or a house on a whim (at least if you’re a reasonable person), in the same way take time to count the cost and fully understand what salvation will cost you. EVERYTHING!
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:26-28(NKJV)
Step 3: Make the life-or-should-i-say-eternity changing decision of Surrendering to Jesus! You’re going to have to be accountable to God one day about what you did about the sacrifice and the blood of His son Jesus! It’s not about how good you were, if you went to church, had good intentions, didn’t sin as much as others, but it’s all about JESUS!
Become Born Again!
The bible is one great story book that starts with Jesus and ends with Jesus! Genesis 1:3. “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” John 1:1-“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
“15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:15-17(NKJV)
“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly. “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.[m] Amen.”- Revelation 22:20-21(NKJV)
The bible is not a theology book. It’s not a book of great inspiring stories. And It’s definitely not history, sorry to burst your bubble 🙂
It’s the living word of God and it’s alive and sharper than a double edge sword!
“12 For whatever God says to us is full of living power: it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are.” – Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
Step 4: Put on the full armor of God!
Ephesians 6:10 – 19
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
There’s a spiritual war going in the heavenly realms. That’s a dimension more real than the physical realm. So how do you stay winning? Make sure you’re strapped! Spiritually speaking of course 🙂
Father give us wisdom this day. Wisdom in how to conduct our lives and do it in a way that brings Glory to your Son’s name. Lord I ask for faith and a humble heart. Let everything point to you Jesus! You are so worth it!
Our time is short, how are we investing it? Are we building personal sand castles or are we preparing the ark for the day the Lord will flood the earth with His Glory? Are our lamps filled with oil or are we going to have to scramble because we are carrying empty jars?
Full Text Luke 17:20-37, Matthew 24:36-51
“26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”- Luke 17:26-27(NKJV)
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.- Matthew 24:37-39(NKJV)
I believe we are in the last days before the coming of Christ. But the church is asleep! And unless the bride awakens and waits in expectancy, it will be very dreadful on that day.
We are a Noah generation. Noah was living in times of great evil and sensuality. “The Lord saw how great mans’ wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” v6. Yet, in this time of great lewdness and perversity, Noah was a rare jewel.
“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God”- Genesis 6:9(NIV)
Friend now is not the time to walk in the lane of compromise. The lanes are splitting and that is not the narrow gate that leads to life!
“Choose this day who you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”. – Joshua 24:14 -15
Does that statement describe your life? Or are you dabbling in idol worship and worshiping God at the same time? Can others tell that you are different when you open your mouth or do you spew the same filth and profanity that permeates the airwaves and the radio frequencies? If Jesus were to show up today( either you going to meet him through death, or the Glorious King returning to earth in all of his splendor), will He say “well done, good and faithful servant!”-Matthew 25:23 or will He say “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you” – Matthew 25:12?
“Go into the ark you and your whole family. Because I have found you righteous”- Genesis 7:1
Because Noah walked with God, God extended grace and mercy for his family to be spared. Is our walk with God that intimate and close, that he sends an extended family invitation to the feast or are we being saved as only escaping through the flames?( 1 Corinthians 3:15)
Let us stand in faith and ask God for the salvation of our families. If we are truly sons and daughters, then shouldn’t we take Psalms 2:7-8 at face value and ask for the salvation of our families as an inheritance?
We see in Luke 15 the story of the prodigal son. For illustration purposes here, we may call it the story of the Father and the son who didn’t know the Father’s heart. I am not referring to the son who went out and squandered all of his inheritance. I mean the son, who was in the house of the father, yet was angered and envious when his own brother came home in repentance and broken!
I wonder if he ever asked his father how he felt about his son who left home. Why didn’t his brother go looking for him? If he was truly about serving his father as he exclaimed, then why wasn’t he glad when his father rejoiced? It’s because he didn’t have the father’s heart!
Do you have the Father’s heart? Do you rejoice in what he rejoices in and are you saddened and heartbroken over what breaks His heart? Are you close to his heart that you are able to hear His heartbeat? If not, I’ve got news for you! It beats: “SOULS, SOULS, and SOULS”!
“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” – Luke 15:7(NKJV)
These last days will be a time of great outpouring of the Holy Spirit and also a time of great persecution and evil. I don’t need to convince you about the latter. Take a look at what has happened in Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, and Israel… There’s a systematic and organized war that has been declared against the Church and Christians. What CNN or Fox News might now have broadcasted to you is though, that there is also a great revival and awakening that’s brewing in the hearts and souls of young men and women! The seeds of a new Jesus movement of radical, love-sick sons and daughters who are totally abandoned and surrendered are growing! A Gideon’s army of a few consecrated who are not in the forefront of church stages or big TV ministries but are waging war day and night in the secret place! A breed of young and old, who are striving with God for His mercy and hand upon our Nation!
Just as God remembered Noah and his family in Genesis 8:1, God will remember his servants who cry out to him day and night!
“So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man[a] returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” – Luke 18: 7-8(NLT)
Friend, the last days are here! The days where all the prophets prophesied about the return of the King!
“He’s not a baby in a manger anymore! He’s coming! Awake, Awake, who sleep! Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David! The slain Lamb! He was born to be a King! He’s alive! The Jewish Man! He’s alive! Prepare the Way! People get ready! Surely He’s not a man that He would lie! Surely He will come again!
Some say the carpenter. Some say the teacher. They said the prophet. They said He’s a fraud? He’s a God!
Who is this King of Glory? Jesus! Messiah! The root and the offspring of David! The same way He ascended He will descend again! He’s doing a new thing! Are you ready?” – Misty Edwards
“What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.” – E.M. Bounds
Prayer! So simple, yet so powerful! An unrestrained access to stand before the throne of the Holy King and talk with Him. To come before the Creator of the world and hear Him speak to you. An agreement with the Divine! It’s you and I saying “Father Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Much different than the laundry list of wishes we would like to have God do in our lives and so much deeper than us bowing our heads before a meal.
When Jesus walked on this earth, His life was so powerful and impactful not because of his Divinity, but because of His Prayer life! He was fully man and fully God (Colossians 2:9), yet His life was filled with so much prayer.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” – Luke 5:16(NIV)
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.” – Luke 11:1(NIV)
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” – Mark 1: 35(NIV)
“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone” – Matthew 14:23(NIV)
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” – Luke 6:12(NIV)
“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” – Luke 22:41-44 (NIV)
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission” – Hebrews 5:7(NIV)
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”- John 17:1(NIV)
Read John 17 in its entirety, the whole chapter is a powerful prayer! As Corey Russell(IHOP) puts it is God talking to God by God. God the Son, talking to God the Father by God the Holy Spirit!
I hope this shows you that we need to pray, if you didn’t know already! If Jesus prayed this often, shouldn’t we make prayer part of our daily walk as well?! Shouldn’t it be given more thought and time in our church services than just before and after a sermon?! Shouldn’t we free up time in our “busy” schedule to pause, be still and commune with our Father?!
Let’s face it; we do not know how to pray! And if we do, we are often discouraged easily and give up prayer when we don’t hear/see God move immediately. But take a look at Simeon and Anna in Luke 2. They waited for the messiah for a loooong time and they were in constant prayer.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.” – Luke 2:25 (NIV)
Simeon was devout and was in the Temple when Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus for his dedication.
“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” – Luke 2:36-37(NIV)
Although, the text is not clear for how long Anna waited on God in prayer we can estimate the range based on the times & culture. The Greek text suggests that “she was a widow of eighty four years”. It could mean that she was 84 years old, or that she had been a widow for 84 years. Some scholars consider the latter to be the more likely option. On this option she could not have married younger than about age 14, and so she would have been at least 14+7+84 = 105 years old. On the other option she would have been 14+7+63 = 84 years old. So, she potentially was in the temple worshiping God night and day, fasting and praying between 63 to 84 years. Get that? 6 to 8 decades of constant worship & prayer, being in the temple day in and day out?! Whoa! How is that for some perspective?
Have you prayed that long for the salvation of your families, friends, city, and nation? I’m not talking about a prayer you uttered once or maybe for a season when you felt an urgency. I am asking if you were faithful and found at the prayer altar, offering incenses of prayer and worship daily for that long to God. I know I haven’t! (Well I’m not that old yet, so that’s a mathematical impossibility but you get my point :))
“They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the LORD on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the LORD regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.” – 1 chronicles 23:30-31
The pages on this blog will not be enough, if I were to write the entire how, whys and the impact and power of prayer. Many wiser and better versed scholars have authored thousands of books on the topic. One such book that has impacted me immensely is “Secrets of the secret place” by Bob Sorge. Get it! It will wreck you!
However, I would like to share with you what Jesus said when the disciples asked him to teach them how to pray in Matthew 6, Jesus gave them a few key principles for an open heaven!
We’ll continue with those principles in part 2 next week, stay tuned!
Have you ever felt that you were in a wilderness? A quick search on google for the definition of wilderness gives you these 3 definitions.
1) An uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
2) a neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town.
3) A position of disfavor, especially in political context
Wow! I feel like that describes the spiritual wilderness I felt like I experienced these past few weeks/ month.
An uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region? Check. The Lord has been pinpointing areas in my life that I thought were cultivated and surrendered to him and exposing them to let me know that He’s still working on me, his son!
A neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town? Check. I had neglected my prayer walk with Him! I had neglected seeking His will in His word diligently. See, I used to get Joy from reading His word and I never read the bible out of a sense of religious duty or some holy ritual. It was always because the word of God was life to my soul!
“The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63 (NKJV)
What do you do when you feel like the Holy Spirit is no longer speaking life into you? It’s scary. Nothing is worse than to feel like that God has abandoned you or His Holy Presence is not tangible anymore. So it is very easy in those times to abandon your secret place of prayer and seeking His face on your knees.
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Mark 14: 37-38 (NKJV)
It’s so tempting and easy to hit the snooze button, when you feel like you are in a wilderness where God’s presence is absent.
The third definition of wilderness was a position of disfavor, especially in a political context. If I were to modify the definition to apply it to this context, it would read something like “a position of disfavor in the context of God’s kingdom, where the Lords face seems to have turned away from you, and his joy, peace and grace feel to have disappeared”.
However, I am learning that the wilderness (literally or metaphorically) is God’s favorite place to work on His sons & daughters. Take a look at John the Baptist:
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’” – Matthew 3: 1- 3 (NKJV)
Jesus would later speak of John the Baptist saying that in Matthew 11“among those born of women there has not risen one greater than john the Baptist…”
And as we also see in Matthew 4, Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit before he started his earthly ministry (Matthew 4: 1). So the wilderness, although it may not feel like it, is a place where God is preparing us. He is emptying us out of worldliness and purging everything that is not from him. He is teaching us to completely and utterly rely on His every word and voice for our sustenance. He is giving us revelation for what’s to come. He is showing us that He is still with us even when it doesn’t feel like it.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20 (NLT)
The desert or the wilderness is a place of death and oblivion for a lot of plants. But Friend, Just as Jesus spoke in John 15, if we abide in him and remain in him we will live and flourish even in the wilderness. There’s one plant that is different from all other plants in its ability to withstand dry and arid conditions with minimal water. It’s the cactus. The person who abides in God’s will and trusts in Jesus even in the dry seasons and the wilderness is like the cactus! Actually, that person is much better than a cactus and more like a tree planted by streams of living water!
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
May you become like a tree that is planted by a riverbank! May El Shaddai, the all sufficient one sustain you in the coming days, weeks, and months! May Jehovah Jireh, your provider, provide all your needs according to His riches. (Phil 4:19) May Jehovah Rohi, your great shepherd, lead you by still waters ( Psalms 23, John 10). May Jehovah Rophe, God your healer, heal you from all pain, ailments, sickness, disease in Jesus name!( Isaiah 53:5)
He hasn’t abandoned you! He sees you, He cares and His love is powerful than the wilderness you may be going through right now 🙂
We are made to worship, sing, adore, dance, praise, exalt and rave! We will either worship things, other people, our careers, money, even church or worship the true and living God. Worship is an expression and an overflow of what has filled our hearts. That is why the first commandment out of the 10 commandment deals with worshiping God above anything else. (Exodus 20:3) and Jesus said in Matthew 22: 37 – 38 that the entire law and the demands of the prophets can be summarized with “Love your God with all your heart, all your soul, and your entire mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment.” The greatest commandment is to worship God and adore God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind. The second one is an extension of the first. When you can love God with all your might and all your strength and all you soul, he enables you to be able to love your neighbor as yourself.
“1 I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!
Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. 2 Your unfailing love will last forever.
Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
3 The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant.
I have sworn this oath to him: 4 ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever;
they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’” Interlude 5 All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord;
myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness. 6 For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord?
What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord? 7 The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God.
He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne. 8 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies!
Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord?
You are entirely faithful”. – Psalms 89: 1- 8 ( NLT)
This past weekend I was able to attend awaken the dawn which was hosted by Fredericksburg House of Prayer! You can watch the recorded streams here. It was an amazing time of worship and singing and dancing and just being in the presence of Abba, Father, Papa, and Daddy! The atmosphere was electric and charged with dancing and worship and laughter and Joy and resembled an EDM concert more than your typical “church” service. However as peter said in Acts 2:15, “These men are not drunk, as you suppose…..” and if we were drunk, we were drunk with love and filled with the Spirit of the Lord!
Ray Hughes during one of the sermons explained it to us this way. Hallelujah is two Hebrew words that are put together. “Hallal” means to shout, shine forth, radiate, rave, boast, praise. “Jah” is a shortened form of “Jehovah”, which means the Self-existent and eternal one. So Hallelujah basically means Praise God and go crazy in worship doing it!
Our worship and praise has the power to shift the spiritual atmosphere. When Saul was being tormented by evil spirits, David would play the harp; Saul would feel better and the tormenting spirit would go away (1 Samuel 16: 23). In Joshua 6 the Lord said to Joshua that He had given the Israelites Jericho. They were commanded to carry the ark and march around the town once a day for six days with the soldiers and seven priests walking ahead of the ark. On the seventh day they marched the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. Joshua 6: 20, “when the people heard the sounds of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it.” They worshiped God for 6 days, and on the 7th day they shouted at the top of their lungs bringing the town to nothing but rubble. Worship and Praise is this powerful!
There is something about a soul which has been freed and delivered by Jesus that makes it wants to sing and praise all the time. When the spirit of the Lord touches you, you can no longer sit idle or indifferent but you will be ignited and on fire in worship and break out in singing! Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5:19 exhort us to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and make music to the Lord in our hearts with thankful hearts.
“16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” – Colossians 3: 16-17(NLT)
May the Lord put a new song in your hearts today! May He fill you with such joy that you won’t be able to contain it! May He fill your hearts with melodies from heaven! May you dance and sing and worship your Lord freely and without inhibition as David did! May the spirit of the living God fall upon you like fire and ignite you burning away the coldness and sparking a flame of worship and praise in you!!!
Sing to the Lord today! Sing to Him a new song! Sing to Him your own song! It’s all beautiful and he hears it. Daddy is proud of you and is smiling down on you from heaven 🙂
Many of us have heard the call of God in our life, but instead of obeying immediately we have put it off for a more convenient time.As we read in Luke 9:59, when Jesus invited this man to follow him, he didn’t say “No Lord I won’t follow you.” He added a precondition to following Jesus. He said, “Let me first go and bury my father”.
“57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9: 57-62
At first glance, it might appear that this man’s father was dead and he wanted to pay respect to his dad before he followed Jesus. However, we have no reason to believe that. He may as well have been saying he wanted to wait until his dad was dead and buried to receive his inheritance before following Jesus. His father may have been sick and he wanted to wait until he died before following Jesus. It’s also possible that He may have thought that Jesus will be in Jerusalem for a long time preaching, so he didn’t see the urgency of following Jesus right away. Little did he know that Jesus would be crucified a few months later and he had just missed a huge opportunity!
“The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity” – Leonard Ravenhill.
In contrast, Simon and his brother Andrew heard the same call of Jesus to follow him. And their response was much different than the man we read about in Luke 9.
“16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.”18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” Mark 1:16-18
They didn’t say, “Yes, Jesus I will follow you. But let me first bid farewell to my family”. It says, “They Immediately left their nets and followed him”. That is radical obedience!
When we read down further, we see James and John doing the same thing. They left their dad and the family business to follow Jesus! They were also at their job in the middle of the day, but when they heard Jesus calling they gave it all up!
“19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.” – Mark 1:19-20
In another passage, we see Bartimaeus hearing Jesus call him in Mark 10: 46-52. When he heard the call, he threw aside his garment and went to Jesus. This blind man has been sitting on the road in Jericho begging those passing by. When many people heard him cry out to Jesus, they told him to be quiet. But he refused to be quiet until Jesus heard him. His cry got the attention of the King, his request was heard and he was able to receive the sight he desperately wanted and started to follow Jesus. That’s what happens when you immediately obey and follow Jesus!
Friend when Jesus calls you, it’s for something better than you already have. It’s to open your eyes like He did to blind Bartimaeus. It is to make you a fisher of men that brings the good news to the lost and dying. Proverbs 11:30 says, “He who wins souls is wise”. When Jesus calls you, it is because he wants to make you wise by making you a worker and partaker in the harvest to his kingdom. After all Romans 16: 27 states that God alone is wise, so do not be wise in your own eyes, but obey immediately because God alone knows what is best for you!
Finally let’s look at John 11 to see what obedience to Jesus’s call brings about. Lazarus has been dead and been buried for four days, when Jesus came to Bethany. When Jesus finally came into town, Martha went out and met him but Mary was in the house. After talking with Jesus Martha went inside and called Mary saying, “The teacher has come and is calling you” As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to him.
Mary could have been bitter and angry at Jesus for not coming to see Lazarus when he was still sick. Martha had said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Mary heard that she was being summoned by Jesus , she could have held a grudge at Jesus because He didn’t come to heal her brother and refuse to come. But that wasn’t the case. The text says in John 11: 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to him. She obeyed right away and was able to receive her brother back from the dead.
Some of us are mad at God because of things that happened in our lives. We blame God for the hardships we have suffered, or for a loss of a loved one and when we hear God’s voice we refuse to obey. But who am I to refuse the king of kings? Who am i, the created being, to disobey the creator? Although I may not always understand His ways, I know God is Just in all that he does( Psalm 145:17). And as we saw in the lives of Mary, the 4 disciples that followed Jesus and Bartimaeus immediate obedience has a great reward!
Food for thought:
Have you heard the call of Jesus, but have put it off for a more convenient time? Or are you the one to obey Jesus immediately when he calls you? The enemy knows if he can get you to postpone obedience till tomorrow, he can get you to postpone it till next week as well. And if he can get you to push it off till next week, he knows you won’t obey eventually. That’s why it is urgent and crucial that we respond to Jesus’s call immediately. What is preventing you from following Jesus today? Is it family? Is it your dreams or your education? Is it your young age? Maybe you’re thinking I will follow Jesus when I am a bit older and after I have enjoyed my young age. Maybe you think you have tomorrow to obey the Lord. However, tomorrow is never promised friend. All we have is today!
You don’t lose by following Jesus. And even if you lose brothers or sisters, friends or parents, loved ones and anyone for the sake of Jesus, He promises that you will receive more than you lost for God’s kingdom’s sake.
“29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[k] or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” – Matthew 19:29
So ask yourself what’s stopping you from following Jesus? What’s more important than following the call of God in your life, that you have pushed it off till tomorrow?
“A kingdom man is the kind of man that when his feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, “Oh, crap, he’s up!
When a kingdom man steps out his door each day, heaven, earth, and hell take notice. When he protects the woman under his care, she can do little to resist him. His children look to him with confidence. Other men look to him as someone to emulate. His church calls on him for strength and leadership. He is a preserver of culture and a champion of society to keep out evil and usher in good. A kingdom man understands that God never said a godly life would be easy; He just said it would be worth it.” – Dr. Tony Evans, Kingdom Man
The concept of manhood as God would define is virtually dead today! It is so counter-cultural and rebellious to live as a godly man today than ever before. Instead of asking God to help us reach His standard of being a Man, we have lowered the rim just so we can applaud ourselves every time we dunk the ball over a 4 ft. rim. Isn’t that crazy?!
The decimation of our society can be directly attributed to lack of Kingdom men & Fathers. Men who are either completely absent in their families’ life, or have minimal involvement believing that they are doing more good to their family by being absentee bread-winners instead of active husbands and fathers.
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
When the wife is a believer and the husband is not, there is a 14% chance that the whole family will follow Christ. But when the Husband is a believer, even if the wife isn’t, there is a 92% chance the family will follow Christ.
Although the statistics are quite disheartening, they shouldn’t be surprising at all. Because when a society turns away from God and embraces sensuality and partying more than godliness and purity, we should expect such a failure in that society. God is a God of Principle and when we choose not to abide in his principles, he frees us loose to do what our own soul desires and reap the consequences. (Romans 1:22 – 32) Because we have refused to listen to wisdom and have disregarded the word of God, God simply laughs at our calamity (Proverbs 1: 22-29). Because we did not choose to fear the Lord, but instead chose to gratify our lust and desires, our own sins and mistakes catch up to us in our families and children. We, then, have the audacity to point our finger at God and say how dare He desert me? We open our mouth oh so boldly and curse God for reaping in tears, what we sowed in sin.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
Men, it all starts with you and me!
When men stop abdicating their authority to the devil, and take back what belongs to them society is transformed! When men look to the word of God for wisdom and not pop culture for guidance, families no longer become dysfunctional! When men spend more time in the word of God and prayer, than vicariously living through a sports figure or celebrity, change is at hand! When men are more concerned with gathering heavenly treasures and increasing spiritual capital, than playing with toys or accumulating worthless trinkets, God pays attention!(Matthew 6:19-21)
Dr. Tony Evans, points out how God blesses the Man who reveres him in 4 areas of life. His personal life will be blessed, his family life will be blessed, his church life will be blessed and his community life will be blessed! Take a look at Psalms 128
“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
2 When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. 3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table. 4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.
5 The Lord bless you out of Zion,
And may you see the good of Jerusalem
All the days of your life. 6 Yes, may you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!” -Psalms 128(NKJV)
It says your wife will be fruitful! Your children will be young and healthy as olive trees! You will be blessed spiritually and naturally/in the earth! I am good to go. What more do we want? Isn’t honoring God worth it?
The question was never if becoming a God-fearing Man was worth the effort, but rather how to become one.
How does a young man keep his way pure and become a Godly man?
Know God’s word and meditate upon it
“9 How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word. 10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.” – Psalms 119: 9-11(NKJV)
Ezra was a man who set his heart on seeking the Law of the Lord, doing it and teaching others.(Ezra 7:10) No wonder the king at the time would grant him all his request, because the favor of God was upon Ezra.( Ezra 7:6)
Daniel was a man who feared God. In a foreign country and under captivity he purposed in his heart that he will not defile himself with king’s delicacies nor with the wine which he drank and God gave him favor with the authorities( Daniel 1:8-9). When it was against the law to pray, and haters conspired to bring him down he still prayed three times a day and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.( Daniel 6:10). Because Daniel feared and honored God, even the Lions couldn’t harm him, because he has trusted the Lord, He delivered him (Psalms 91). God was glorified and Daniel was honored and became prosperous!
Be a doer and not just a hearer of God’s word
“22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” – James 1: 22-25
Head knowledge of God’s world devoid of action is useless!The bible tells us that even the demons believe and tremble at the knowledge of one God. (James 2:19). When Satan was tempting Jesus in the desert, he was quoting scripture faster than an ordained minister.( Matthew 4:1-11) And the Pharisees and Sadducees who knew the word of God like the palm of their hands were the ones who crucified the savior of the world. The key is to let the scriptures sieve past your analytical mind and settle in your heart. Let it transform you and change you from the inside out. Walk out the iota of truth that you have learned and watch your path light up. (Psalms 119:105)
Watch your Calories!
I was at a men’s retreat this past weekend with Chi Alpha christian ministries and one of the speakers explained it brilliantly, so I will just repeat it. We consume 3 types of food in everything we do spiritually speaking. You have your healthy foods, you have your poisons and you have your empty calories.The healthy foods are those activities that nurture and feed your inner man and grow you in the Lord. This can be spending time in the word, prayer, godly fellowship, godly books, and rest (Check Hebrews 4 out!). Poisons are glaringly obvious and we don’t intentionally swallow them, however our good intentions do nothing to detox the lethal amount we have sipped or gulped. Pornography, fornication/premarital sex or sexuality, dishonesty, lack of respect for authority, worldly music, X-rated TV shows or movies are a few examples. Don’t drink poison, you’ll die! The empty calories are the tricky part. They are neither poison nor healthy food, but hinder us from being spiritually fit. These could be sports, TV shows, video games, love of sleep, interest in the opposite sex, too much “fellowship” or friends. This list will be different for everyone and is not always the same across the board. Nevertheless, their effect is identical in that they take away time you could be spending with the Lord or developing yourselves personally!
You are what you eat, so watch your calories!
The Conclusion of the matter
“13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Listen to wisdom when it is calling. Don’t discount your young age or believe you have tomorrow to get it right. Fear God today, and honor His commandments. God is love but God is also holy. Consecrate yourself and separate yourself from the current of the culture. A river only carries a dead weight downstream. So it is with today’s young men. Blind leading the blind. Emmanuel Lambert, Jr. A.k.a, Da’ T.R.U.T.H said it best in his song Gray off of his new album Heartbeat when he rhymed:
“Watch those rocking entertainers; they speak words that penetrate us.
When they talk we stop and listen, all because they’re rich and famous
Culture is shifting and different changes, culture is shifting and living is dangerous
Universal epidemic, don’t nobody care what the scripture is saying”
If you have any life in you, fight against the stream of depravity and wickedness. Care more about what the scriptures say about godly living, than the tune of hottest artist out right now.( Ecclesiastes 7:5). A godly life will never be easy, but it is so worth it!