Archive for August, 2012

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The FEAR OF GOD is a thing that is important beyond imagining.  It is a safe haven that cannot be overcome or overestimated.

The FEAR OF GOD will move you to avoid pornographic images and websites, even if no person will ever know and no one in the world is aware of what you are doing.

The FEAR OF GOD will inspire you to be honest, even when you are hidden in the darkness, and your flesh is seducing you to cheat on your test or accounting books.

The FEAR OF GOD will stir you to speak the Truth, even as all men around you mock it and spew lies and deception.

This FEAR is bright and clean and powerful — it is the one true HOLY FEAR — the one true HOPE that will consume all the shadowy, poisonous, lesser fears that seem to continuously lay siege to the human heart.

“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27)

“The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (Proverbs 19:23)

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A grandfather typically is interested in enjoying and spoiling his grandkids.  He leaves painful things such as confrontation and discipline to the children’s father.  And if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we tend to want God to be more of a grandfather than a father.

As C. S. Lewis said:

What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like, “What does it matter so long as they are contented?”  We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a Grandfather in Heaven — a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all”.

It has been said that this present generation is a fatherless generation and suffers greatly from a lack of fathers.  And that is very true — tragically true.  Many men have abandoned their wives and children and fled from their responsibilities as fathers.

But there is another, less-talked about reason that the father/child relationship in our culture is so dysfunctional.  And that reason is that many of us do not really want to be fathered — we want to be grandfathered — and because of this, many have chosen to reject a true, biblical, father/child relationship.  And until we embrace ALL the fatherly aspects of God, we will be greatly handicapped — in the spiritual realm as well as in the natural — and suffer from all types of confusion and dissipation that can only be corrected by a firm, loving, wise Father.

“My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)

“If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:8,11)

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Where are you?  What are you thinking about?  What’s going on inside your head?  What are you allowing to define who you are?

We are not civilians.  Whether we like it or not, we are in a war.  And there is no place where this war is as alive and real as in our minds and our thought life.

As you go about your day, are you aware of what you’re actually thinking?  Are you aware of how many hours you spend thinking random or reactive or foolish or self-serving or angry or impatient thoughts?  Are you doing as the Apostle Paul taught us by taking your thoughts captive and examining them and comparing them to the revealed Truth of the Word of God?  Or are you being a passive visitor in your head, floating lazily through…half-conscious of the truly awesome, eternity-defining things that are happening all around you in that amazing little cave we call the brain?

TV, films, media, commercials, social media, magazines, friends, family, demons, wounds of the past, and many other things have the ability to negatively impact our thought life — and in doing so, impact who we are.  Why do you think billions of dollars are invested in commercials every year?  It’s because it has been proven clinically that these messages actually change how we think and what we do.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

I know — life is tough.  We’re tired.  We want to just relax and go with the flow.  But our demonic enemies do not sleep!  “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8)  Good old Peter…he, more than most, understood this truth — and he learned it the hard way.

I am not saying that we cannot rest in our heads.  I am not saying that we cannot take time to chill and be still.  But before our minds can be safer places, we need to, as good soldiers, do a little mine (mind!) sweeping, so that the area is more secure and protected.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Nothing can take the place of diligence in this area.  It takes TIME and EFFORT to purify and redirect a river.  And it begins with us allowing the Holy Spirit more access to our thought “flow”, via Scripture reading and meditation, prayer, worship, teaching and true Christian fellowship (and maybe even a little deliverance — doh!).  I know for a fact that this biblical principle works. My own thoughts are much less cluttered and troubling and unproductive now.

Of course, we do not have the power to change who we are, but we do have the ability and responsibility to open ourselves more to the One who can!  But as the old saying goes…”Money talks and BS walks.”  We prove what we believe by what we do, not what we “religiously” and merely pay lip service to.

As a matter of fact, this is my basic definition of someone who has a “religious spirit”.  It is not someone who seems at times to veer into legalism or seems too “over-the-top” spiritually, but rather it is someone who has spiritual talk but not much spiritual walk.  In this sense, we actually have to “get out of our heads” (so to speak!) and act on what we know to be true.

And when we do, we find His grace waiting for us — we find the wind of the Spirit waiting to blow behind us and fill the sails of our meager efforts and eventually take us far beyond where we could ever go by ourselves.  So…ACTION, JACKSON!!!

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I hear many messages and conversations dealing with the topic of brokenness.  In this millennium especially, the concept of brokenness has been a very hot topic.  But rather than something that is passing or temporary, it seems that brokenness is something that (according to some teachers and congregations) is part of our unchangeable DNA — something that we just need to own up to and live with.  You may on rare occasion hear a message about God’s ability to heal and deliver, but by their actions, interactions, and most frequent messages and conversations, they prove what they truly believe — that we are all broken and wounded and we just need to get used to it — sort of like a bunch of sick, elderly people sitting around a nursing home, glorying (in a perverse way) in their maladies and problems.

It is good to be honest about our brokenness — but there is no inherent virtue or value in being broken.  The goal and clear promise of God is that if we believe in Him, that we will actually get better!

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.  Through these He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-8)

So…where do we go from here.  Well, we begin by taking God at His word, and not settling for ANYTHING less.  And we enter a season where we begin to crawl out of our “Pseudo-Christian fatalism” and ask God for the reality of His Word to be a reality in our own lives.

“You do not have, because you do not ask God.”  (James 4:2)

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11-12)

GO FOR IT!!!

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