Tuesday, August 13, 2013

God Does NOT Abandon You!

God didn't bring you this far just to abandon you. - Rick Warren. 

Pondering Rick's Quote Today: 

Your enemy wants nothing more than to dislodge you from your relationship with God and from any sort of Christian community. He will use whatever tactic he can to wound you in the deepest of places ... IF he knows it will tempt you to walk away from God and away from those you were called to impact.

The enemy will try to come in like a thief. John 10:10b.  He will seek to kill and destroy you and your ministry. He will come into the mix as the voice of the accuser.

After 16 years in ministry ... I have come to see that if someone is being talked about or persecuted in any church, no matter what the sin or issue - I always try to look a little deeper.  

To seek God more diligently in prayer. To get a glimpse of God's perspective from Scripture.  To not judge someone.

Most likely, the person being persecuted ... is carrying a strong anointing and the enemy is working hard to entrap them or discredit them. To pull them away from God's work.

This is the moment when God's love, truth, mercy, grace, wisdom and a discerning ear are needed. To step back and to see as God sees. To get God's plan on how to restore this person back to their God-given ministry.

Why is restoration so important? 

Because we are all one body and each part is needed. What if this person happens to be the heart of our church, our ministry or our organization? 

A whole body can't keep on living and flowing in LIFE if the heart is cut out of the body! It can't keep on running if the foot is cut off and it can't keep on feeding others if the hand becomes lame.  How can revival or any other move of God happen if we are not about the restoration of God's people and His leaders?  Abundant and overflowing LIFE happens when the whole body is functioning in their God-given ways.

So, how do we prepare for this battle? How do we arise from the woundings that hit us at times? How do we re-engage after an intense storm? How to we restore people to LIFE?

Look to God FIRST. Believe God and His Word above all else. Trust the Truth that God is for you. Believe He will never forsake you - YES, that He will never turn His back on you. Trust the Truth that God will never abandon you - even if you made BIG mistakes. Mistakes build character.  Mistakes help to shape us into the people we are today. Believe God's grace is big enough to cover anything you've done. Step out of that pit and step onto the stair case of His promises for you! One promise at a time, one step at a time and He will lead you out!

Look around for Christian's who are carrying the character and nature of God. It might only be one person ... but God will be faithful to send you someone. 

Those will be the people who don't walk away from you when you get messy.  They will not shame you or shun you from Christian community.  They are the ones who are only friends with you from what they can get.  They truly want to serve rather than to be served.

These Christ-carriers will run into any fire to get you, sacrificing their own life, their own wants and their own desires to help you back to life.

Like Jesus on the road to Calvary, when everyone ran to save themselves from the murderous threats of the Pharisees ... a few stayed faithful to Jesus to the end.

Look for those who are not afraid of the pain, the darkness, the unknowns. They will be those who don't have to say anything to you, nor do they feel compelled to fix your problem - they merely want to be present with you as you spiritually process your experience with God. 

These are the Christ-carriers. The carriers of presence.

Also remember, God always gives second chances. A new beginning. They are fresh every single day.  It is never too late to begin again.

God always loves, He never condemns. Yes, it is true! He always loves, He never condemns. He is not demanding that you always respond well.  He knows you are in process with Him.  Growing in love and growing in grace.

The door to God's house is always open. There is never a lock on the door to His home.  Like the prodigal Father in Scripture, God's arms are always open to you.  Waiting for you to run to Him.

Yes, God draws near to the broken-hearted.  He will draw near to you when you draw near to Him.  Whatever you need today, God is here for you.

God, I don't do any of this well. I fail to love well everyday. I need your grace to draw near to me as I draw near to you. I want to love as you love and to see as you see. To be a presence carrier into the struggles and pain of others. I don't want to be one who flees in order to preserve myself.

God, draw near to us today in whatever struggle we are having. Help anyone who is being tempted away from you and away from your body to get re-connected. Lord, re-attach them to the body! Destroy the enemy's plan to hurt the work of the body of Christ - and restore people back to the life in the body! Help us God to draw near to anyone we meet today who needs to be reminded you love them, that you care, that you have not left them.

Help us to restore people to hope - to the reality of your loving kindness and presence. Help us to be presence carries of your grace, love and truth today. Amen.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Cloistered Life Brings Life ...

Thanking God today for my Catholic upbringing. Some of my most favorite and memorable moments were spending our Christmas eve's at a local, cloistered convent. Cloistered means the nuns there did not have any interaction with the outside world. Their lives were set apart in worship and in prayer to God.

During the mass, the nuns, who were behind a wall, would be singing the Psalms in Latin. I would sit there on the pew and my heart could feel the presence of God. His peace would wash over my soul.

These experiences put seeds deep into my being of the power of stillness and stillness being a road to knowing God. It taught me a deep spiritual practice of what can happen and does happen when we escape from the outside world to seek God and to BE with Him. Those experiences deposited the seeds of contemplation that would later bear fruit in my life in a time of crisis. When my exterior world and my inner world were in chaos, I knew that the way to find God again would be to enter into a season of stillness, of silence and of solitude - by being with Him and being in His Word.

Jesus knew this all too well. He knew that in order to stay in the Spirit and move in the Spirit in the chaos of the day - He had to get away to a place of solitude to be with the Father. To be with Him, to hear His will, to know what was on His heart. (John 12:49-50). This time with the Father gave Him a heavenly perspective and power. For us to be Christ's presence carriers in this world, we must take moments and at times seasons, to seek God with all our heart, mind, soul and spirit. So He can purify our motives, reveal His will for our lives and renew a steadfast spirit in us. 

"Be still and know I am God."
Psalm 46:10