Make sure you connect with all 25 Weeks and get totally Tuned Up
25 - Making Disciples 24 - The Fathers Business 23 - When the Winds Blow 22 - Home Group Gatherings 21 - So You Wanna be a Leader 20 - The Boyz 19 - Treasures from Heaven 18 - Godly Intent 17- Wait Upon the Lord 16 - Shepherds 15 - Father Son & Holy Spirit 14 - Hope of Glory 13 - Sabbath Rest 12 - Our weaknesses 11 - He is Faithful 10 - Love 9 - To walk with God 8 - Breath of Life 7 - Called to be Unshakeable 6 - Time to Check the Ground 5 - How Valuble are You? 4 - A Work in Progress 3 - Forgive, That's Crazy! 2 - Not Getting the Love? 1 - No Strings Attached Additional Tuneup CLICK HERE
Weekly Tuneup - Week 25
Jesus’ instruction to His disciples was to make disciples. And herein lies the problem for many of us today: to be one that disciples others, we really need to be engaged in an ongoing discipleship process ourselves, — and I’m talking about something way beyond the academics. I’m referring to a boots to the ground approach, being Spirit led, bumping shoulders, refining of character type of discipleship. One that’s Kingdom based and Kingdom experienced as it totally rearranges our dome and defines our character. A discipleship where we learn to function as a group, honoring those that God has surrounded us with. A discipleship where we slowly come to grips with how the Father rolls with His Kingdom.
Jesus clearly demonstrated on how we need to operate and move forward with the commandment to love one another being foundational in everything we do. He set the tone! He set the model releasing powerful disciples while changing the landscapes as they walked out the great commission.
Holy Spirit is doing the very same thing today. For those who have not familiarized themselves with walking in the Holy Spirit, nor exercising in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, nor training themselves to hear that still small rhema voice of our God through the Holy Spirit, — well that kinda makes it tough when trying lay tracks down on a model that Jesus exemplified when it comes to discipleship and commissioning. We truly need to be led by the Holy Spirit on a much greater level.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 24
THE FATHERS' BUSINESS
With the adversary sticking his head in the garden, it’s obvious he had plans to take the family of God in a whole different direction. That rebellious one who was kicked out of the Kingdom of Heaven, stripped from his position, and rightfully displaced, now decides to displace everyone else as he retaliates while attempting to rule everything in sight. Determined to put a stake in the heart of God, — he goes after the family. He sets the bait in the garden, deception struck and the family is now separated, not only from God, but also from God’s original intentions for the family. For a Father who was real excited about expanding the family, — I can only image the good things He had in store for all of us.
The deception not only broke the heart of the Father, but also Adam and Eve as they wept before the Lord endlessly. This very deception created a disobedience and a separation on Adam and Eve’s part that would absolutely derail the Fathers plans. It was a shock to everyone. The days of walking in the garden with their God has come to an end. It ended for them and the chances of it showing up down the road for anyone else was slim and none. Everything changed and I mean everything!
The devastating affects of taking the bait changed both heaven and earth. According to heaven and how they roll, — the verdict is now part of our history. The garment of light that completely surrounded Adam and Eve instantly faded as they now found themselves completely naked; shadowed by shame as the glorious light from the Father of lights has now departed.
The animal skins needed to cover their obvious nakedness was now brought to the table. The damage was done, the sacrifice was made, and innocent blood was shed. The ongoing domino effect of disobedience now plows forward as it carves deeper into everyone’s lives. It was a rude awakening as Spirit filled beings found themselves without the indwelling habitation of Gods Spirit. The light that was once upon them is gone, — only to now live in the shadows of the once was, along with a whole new environment that looks nothing like the original garden.
But the extended hand of our God through grace made a way to reconnect. He was not ready to let part of his creation go! Our heavenly Father came up with the perfect plan. The contaminated souls of Adam and Eve needed to be uncontaminated. And only one who is sinless qualified to deal with that ongoing sin. As that sinless one stepped forward, — the details of a covert operation called “Salvation” was now being penciled out.
The contaminated lineage of Adam and Eve needed saving and heaven was about to remedy that. We, who now walk in the disconnect, only add to the ongoing contamination by our own waywardness. We are not deserving of being saved, but our heavenly Father decided to make a way for all of us. The sacrificing of his only begotten Son was going to guarantee his families freedom. God absolutely loves his sons and daughters and is not about to let some fallen angel walk away with part of his creation.
The original DNA as intended by God has been altered, and we have been walking in that fallen nature ever since. That alteration also included us being removed from the Fathers presence. But by the grace of God a way was made to restore that presence, — it was the Fathers perfect gift and perfect sacrifice. That sinless one who qualified to solve the problem of sin has become the acceptable sacrifice that will complete the transfer of souls.
This Salvation, this Freedom, this Redemption, bought back the sons and daughters of God. According to heaven, it was the perfect legal stand needed to reconnect the family. For God so loves us that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 23
WHEN THE WINDS BLOW
Many times the winds of circumstance have tried to blow down the things I value in my family life. While being blown around I would cry out for the peace of heaven to come and save the day but most of the time those windy experiences did not end quite the way I expected. But with each passing storm I have learned a little more about how to sail and how to be a better sailor. My many sailing experiences have helped me define the four dark winds that have continually challenged my life. These winds are drastically different than the winds of heaven, for the winds of heaven are refreshing and usually come with some level of goodness. It's those dark winds with their dark influences that have caused havoc in the lives of people, and have filled up correctional institutions, asylums and hospitals. It is these winds that I have found myself brushing against.
The first of these four winds is that subtle wind that tries to deceive and slowly steer me off course. The second is that gale force wind that bangs upon the front door of my life to intimidate. The third one comes as a tornado trying to rattle me big time. The forth one is that hurricane.
I found that with discernment I can avoid the first wind. It's only when I deal with my fears and phobias that I can sail through the second wind. The third wind of tornadoes has a lot to do with issues and usually there's a lot of yelling and screaming in this storm. Getting to know boundaries usually helps me sail around these storms. But the hurricanes are storms that have been strategically planned to cause some kind of displacement. They will hit either my family, finances, business or friendships and are designed to somehow displace me mentally, physically or spiritually. I find that when this storm hits I need to get to the centre of it where there is peace, because this storm is not going to stop. When it hits I need to find that place at the center of the storm because I need to be thinking straight, my heart needs to be at a place of peace, cause if I don't this storm will have its way with me. As the storm passes, and I'm in that place where I need to be, I can then handle the aftermath without falling apart.
I have sailed my share of storms and I have tried to glean from each storm on how to be a better sailor. The one important thing I have learned is that I need to take the eye of the storm wherever I go. Sure heaven has the ability to stop any storm, but I also realize that heaven requires me to be a good sailor. That can only happen if I allow heaven to train me up and take me sailing.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 22
HOME GROUP GATHERINGS
Small groups need to be an essential part of our life especially when you consider the global events that have come upon us. There is a lot of tension out there and that tension seems to be hitting us on many fronts. The world is drastically changing making it difficult for most of us to just get through the day. In our busyness, we have isolated ourselves as we attempt to handle all of life’s challenges. It really is vital that we start connecting with one another, and pray with one another as we enter into this new season that the Lord has for us. Sunday morning may not be an option for many, but a home group gathering during the week is ideal when you think about where the Lord is leading us and how he is wanting to release us.
It is in that small setting, that gathering, that home group environment, as originally intended, where we can find strength, encouragement, peace, and the protection we need from the ongoing spiritual warfare that is constantly brushing against us. We need to enter into that resting place where those needed paradigm shifts can take place — allowing us to see the battlefield from a whole different perspective. It’s at this resting place where we see the provisions of the Lord. Our Father is a good Father and He always makes a way for us.
It’s when we gather for all the right reasons that Holy Spirit can release that needed upper room experience for us all. As we commit to being in one accord, honoring one another, serving one another, while walking with a genuine love, and showing a true concern for one another that those things in the Spirit can be released on a whole new level. It’s at this very place where the commanded blessing comes upon us and restoration begins to have its way, which is the very reason why Jesus came. With that, comes the angelic who are also wanting to partner up with those who are aligning themselves up to unity, followed by those needed divine appointments as the dynamics of the kingdom of heaven start to habitate before us with signs wonders and miracles. The whole idea is to go from visitations, to that place of where we just habitate in the presence of God as He moves us down the harvest field.
As a home group carves out an ekklesia/church model similar to the one that Jesus exemplified, it too will have the ability to creatively change that part of the world that we find ourselves in. It will change us as a people, and it will change community as we know it. And it will create all kinds of attention as the kingdom of heaven starts to land all around.
How we functioned in the past . . . is not going to cut it when you think of where the lord is wanting to lead us. And neither will a gathering operating in a top down system get the needed results that Holy Spirit is looking for when it comes to the releasing of the Kingdom of Heaven. Small gatherings or home groups need to make a way where everyone is involved, where everyone contributes to help paint that much bigger picture as to what God is doing amongst us. We need to get away from what it is that we are so programmatically use to, and allow everyone to somehow play their part in what Holy Spirit is unfolding.
Every small group / home group needs to embrace the true character of Jesus. As Holy Spirit continually testifies of Jesus in the character of Jesus, so do we also need to be following that same model as Holy Spirit empowers us. It is this very model that the Lord is wanting to breathe upon as he releases incredible life to the home groups / gatherings that He is about to release. As we engage, it is important to understand the season that we are presently in. Understanding the season will help in the direction that we need to be going, and it will give us all kinds of clues on what the battlefield actually looks like — which is also important.
Philippians 2:1-4 “If there is any fellowship that we share in the Spirit, any comfort of love, any great depth of affection and compassion, then make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, and of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition, strife, or vain deceit, but with an attitude of humility being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not only search out only your interests, but search out the interest of others also.”
Weekly Tuneup - Week 21
SO YOU WANNA BE A LEADER
What if adversity, afflictions, trials, tribulations and persecutions were given unto you by God himself? And they were your teachers? What if the wilderness that you are living in . . . is right where you need to be? And that the wilderness is there to teach you, mold you, break you, prepare you, and to shape you into the great man that God has ordained you to be! What if you’re actually running from the exact situation, persecution, affliction, and trials that are meant to define your life? As you are running and scratching your head . . . your spiritual understanding has not connected with the one fact that God never makes it easy for any of us to walk as a king in His Kingdom! The spiritual dynamics are too vast! The hammer and chisel will have its way!
Isaiah 30:20-21 - And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers: And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, this is the way, walk you in it. That word could very well be the sound of a chisel hitting the rock.
Zechariah 13:9 - And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Everyone will have their moment where they will blame, accuse, and at times get angry with God. And as they are voicing their opinions, and gesturing like some mad Italian, God tunes up that relationship as he attempts to dial us into more of his likeness. But will you be able to stand as he gives you the bread of adversity to eat, and the water of affliction to drink. And when he tells you that these two are your teachers meant to teach you, will you fold up like some cheap tent as it messes up your camp or will you go in the way that you should go?
Will you be able to stand like Moses stood when God directs you into a wilderness to rearrange your dome! And will you be able to stand like Moses the second time as he sends you back into that same wilderness to rearrange the domes of other people. Will you be able to stand like David whom Samuel anointed as King, while Saul was still King . . . sending David deeper in the wilderness as he now runs for his life from Saul!
Daniel 11:33-35 - Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned, captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, many who are not sincere will join them. Some wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, because it is still to come at the appointed time.
2 Timothy 3:12-13 - Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
John 15:17-21 - These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it hated me first before it hated you. If you were of the world, then the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but that I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
What if you’re actually running from the exact situation, persecution, affliction, trials and tribulations, that are meant to define you? But you’re running from those places not understanding that God does not make it easy to be a king in the kingdom of God!
Weekly Tuneup - Week 20
God has made us unique and it is that uniqueness that he wants in our walk with him. He is not looking for clones, and he does not want to alter our personalities, nor does he want to process people through some mold. Sure he's probably looking to trash a few things in our personal lives, but what he's really searching for are those individual personalities who are willing to work it out, talk it out and walk it out. When I think of the original twelve, I can only imagine what it was like recruiting this bunch. When I think of John, he strikes me as this peace, love, Woodstock type. If he had lived in the 1970s he probably would have driven a flowered Volkswagen van. A mellow laid back dude, deep thinker, probably one of those silent types. Then Jesus got hold of him and sent him even deeper. Well this silent one became one of the Sons of Thunder, so when peace, love, and Woodstock met the greatest love of all, one can only imagine the transformation.
Now on the other side of all this I see Peter. I picture him with some pretty rough edges. He strikes me as a Popeye, William Wallace type. He was probably the anchor of the fishing fleet. His men admired him; his brother followed him. He struck me as a kick the door down first, think about it later type of person. He was probably a type of who would lead the brawl, bodies flying all over, only to wake up the next morning trying to make sense of it all. Jesus saw in him the ability to stand for what he believed . . . the plan now was to tweak it a bit.
So far I've only begun trying to figure these guys out and we've got Dr Love and Hulk Hogan. Let's take a look at Matthew. He reminds me of a chicken hawk and a government rat. A taxman who was despised by all. He probably knew and heard every sales pitch under the sun. If there ever was someone who walked in a false identity, this was probably the guy. He also knew how to save his bacon and how to doctor up the records. In his workplace he heard nothing but stories and he was probably a great storyteller himself, and then on one specific day the real story walked up to his tax table and said to him, "Come and follow me".
We now have Dr. Love, Hulk Hogan and the Government Rat. Now can you imagine these three guys in the same room? When you actually think about it, it would be hilarious. With Luke jumping on board, this motley crew had an opportuinity to get balanced out. Luke was probably the only stable professional one out of the whole bunch. As a professional doctor he had to figure things out. As a humble educated historian traveler he got to hang out with the three amigos. Luke, being the professional, struck me as the one who probably asked all the right questions. As one who was in the healing profession he got to hang out with the greatest healer of all. Now Luke's educated cranium gets totally rocked when Simon the zealot shows up, Simon the Middle East extremist! This guy had one thing on his mind and that was to overthrow the Romans. Can you picture Luke and Simon having a conversation? His one-track mind probably got him into all kinds of arguments during the round table discussions. He most likely saw Jesus as the one who was finally going to rid the Romans from the neighborhood. But after all the inaugurations, these hard nosers ended up with a great argument for the hard- nosers of the world! Then there's Thomas! Imagine walking down the street with this guy! All you would hear is, "I don't think so! I doubt it! Get out of town!" Jesus probably had some serious one- on- ones with him. Then there were the young guns like John Mark who became known as a runner because when things got heated up - he'd bail on everybody. But in the end he was the go-between for Peter and Paul.
The bottom line is that Jesus picked out some people with amazing personality and he tweaked them a bit. He didn't clone them nor did he force them to express things a certain way. Ignited by heaven they creatively expressed the things of heaven in their unique ways. They all came to know a God that is very innovative, and in their individual ways they expressed the things of God.
Now I’m convinced the game plan hasn't changed a whole lot for today. He's still looking for some very real and unique people.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 19
TREASURES FROM HEAVEN
With a world full of under currants, hidden motives, stirring up all kinds of extremisms, causing division, distrust and fear, there are those who truly want to walk in love. Ones who are willing to see others lifted up, esteemed, and even healed. Ones who are willing to serve and see others freed from the pressures that have overwhelmed their loved ones. As Jesus who demonstrated that sacrifice of love as a bridge for others, so are those out there who also want to be that bridge of love to others. It’s these very bridges that have gone through their own pressures that have allowed the molding process to shape that present bridge in their own lives. Even with their limited resources, they were still able to become the hands, the feet and bridge to those around them. In a world that has truly gone mad in many ways, these ones are still willing to demonstrate that love, that amazing love, that unconditional love towards others. God in his kindness has allowed these ones to be in our midst. It is these ones that are the real treasures from heaven.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Romans 12:9-11 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Matthew 5:43-48 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
1 John 4:7-12 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 18
What was Gods original intent? Noah’s ark was discovered on Mt Ararat, the discovery of the three rivers that use to run through the garden of Eden was discovered, the Egyptian chariots sitting in the bottom of the red sea were discovered, then there’s the discovery of the dead sea scrolls, plus those historical roman documents that spoke about the one that rose from the dead speaking of another kingdom for 40 days. The trail of evidence is huge! Standing there front and centre it really demands a verdict. For it clearly speaks of a Godly intent. What was his original intention? Was it for something intimate? Well I believe it does! All those religious square dances have kept us away from really pressing into knowing God in a more intimate way.
Let’s really go back to square one! God said in Genesis, “Let us make man in our image.” Obviously the “Us” is speaking of the three that are hanging out in heaven (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and to be made in their image means that we are somehow fashioned like them so that we can hang out with them. In order to walk with them we need to move like them, so our design came from an existing pattern. Gods’ original intent was to make intimacy a happening place for us. After creating Adam and Eve unto his Image, he would then come and walk with them in the cool of the day. Can you imagine hanging with the very person that created absolutely everything. Every evening God Himself coming aside as a Father meeting up with his son and daughter. What an incredible time that must have been! I believe most of these visits were a large part of God just wanting to hang out. Just Adam, Eve, and God hanging out discussing whatever. In their walks Adam and Eve had the potential of getting downloaded from the greatest creationist, the greatest scientist, the greatest agriculturalist, the greatest astronomer, I mean you could ask him anything and he would come with the best of answers as he painted the skies right before your very eyes.
Unfortunately the fallen one stuck his head in and things got a little twisted as Adam and Eve listened to the twisted one, that serpent angel who himself lost everything heavenly is now pressing to see that everyone else loses out heavenly. How many times have we listened to someone who’s really out there in left field? Right! Well garden privileges were lost and that challenge-filled existence of an uphill climb now prevails even today. But I believe that what was far more devastating was the fact that they lost their freedom to hang out with their Heavenly Father. Even thou the hammer came down I believe this did not of altered God’s desire to hanging out with mankind. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had an intention in getting us all back on track.
First, let’s check out Enoch and see what was going on there. We actually know very little about him, but Genesis tells us that Enoch walked with God; then he was no more because God took him away. Amazing! First, we were told that God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, now we find that Enoch walked and hung out with him too. Kinda gives you the idea that God likes going out for walks. What does it really mean when it tells us that Enoch walked with God? I don’t believe it means that he just sat at the back of the yellow bus, I believe it means that he was actively pursuing a relationship with him. These two were talking and seriously hanging out. Enoch become such a close friend that God decided to take him home to hang out there with him! What an incredible thing!
Let’s look at another example. We read that Abraham believed God, and that he was called God’s friend. What was it in Abraham’s life that would cause God to refer to him as a friend? I would love for God to think of me in that way! We find with Abraham, God was also came down to talk with him. In fact, in Genesis we find Abraham walking God out from his camp. God was leaving the campfire and Abraham decided to walk him out. Out to where? We know that God really doesn’t have to walk out to get back to Heaven, I mean really! So why the walk? Why didn’t He just vanish? I mean he is God! Well I believe God was enjoying the walk and enjoying the time he was spending with a friend, just like He did with Enoch, and Adam. Obviously He wanted to hang out and have conversation. Two friends just talking away!
Let’s examine one more life before we move on. Let’s check out David. Now there were a few times that David could be described as anything but Godly, and a few times when he acted like a downright scoundrel. By the time you chalk up murder, adultery, and a few more crimes, he is hardly the kind of character to whom you would give an award to for good behavior. However, in Acts David is described as a man after God’s own heart. What would possibly cause God to say something like that about a man who’s got a wild track record? It certainly wasn’t because David did or said all the right things, or that he consistently kept all the laws in check. In fact, I believe there were probably a ton of people in Israel at that time that were keeping it whole lot more cleaner, and were a whole lot more faithfully than David ever was. If that be so, then what was it about David’s life that pleased God so much?
I believe we can find a lot of insight into this by looking into the Psalms. This is where we best find David’s heart revealed. In fact, as a boy, when David was anointed by Samuel to be the next king, God told Samuel that “Man looks at the outside appearance, but God looks at the heart” I believe this confirms what God loved about David in what was found in his heart. We find repeatedly that David earnestly desired to know God and to be close to Him. He repeatedly asked God to search his heart and he pleaded with God not to take His Holy Spirit away from him.
I am not trying to say that God doesn’t care about our actions. David had some serious one on ones with God about his actions, but God was looking deeper into David’s heart than just someone who was doing all the right things while coming short at times. As he tried to consistently do the right thing, his heart in most cases, was stationed at the right place, which is the very thing that God loved about him. Not like unto the Pharisees. I believe God is looking for hearts like David today. Remember, also, that all three of these examples are taken from the Old Testament prior to Jesus bringing that gift of salvation, and prior to the Holy Spirit ever living inside the believer. This tells me that God’s desire for fellowship with those that he has created has never stopped.
Now, let’s move forward in time when Jesus came. The biggest struggle that Jesus had with the Pharisees and religious leaders was the fact that, although they were doing all the right things, and keeping the law to a tee, their hearts were far from Him. We are quick to hammer these Pharisees, but how many times have we been caught up in our business while our personal one on one with the Lord suffers?
Let’s take a closer look at why Jesus came. Back in the day of Adam and Eve’s sin, God began to foretell of Christ’s coming. When it all went sideways . . . Adam and Eve, without knowing turned all authority over to satan, plus they lost the innocence of their character, and the right to stand before God. They were pretty well cut off from God’s presence . . . sin now stood in the way. It became a huge barrier they could not cross.
When Jesus died on that cross, he accomplished something far more than just paying the price for eternal life while tearing down the barrier. He said in Matthew that all authority had been given to Him. He purchased back the authority that Adam and Eve lost in the garden. He also clearly states in the gospel of John that he was no longer calling us servants, but was now calling us friends. Jesus was clearly drawing a line in the sand that friendship was his intention. To walk with us as original intended back in the day. That walking in the garden was to be restored, and has now been restored. We can now walk with him, the barrier has been removed, friendship is restored, and we are now free to pursue something that has intimacy all over it. A relationship with God that is way more than most of us could ever fathom.
Romans 5:11 - So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God
Weekly Tuneup - Week 17
WAIT UPON THE LORD
Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say?" This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger, as though he did not hear. So when they continued asking him, He raised himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. - John 8:1-8
So what was really happening when Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground? Well if I had to guess . . . he was waiting on the Holy Spirit. Even though all the attention was on him, he never felt pressured to give that instant answer - even though they kept pressing him for that answer. As he stooped over, the full force of the religious spirit pressed against him. He waiting upon the Lord ( waiting upon the Father) until He got the word, and when he got that word . . . what a word it was! That word came directly from the throne, It was full of the wisdom of God, It confounded and convicted the Pharisees and scribes, while it completely dismantled the religious spirit. After speaking the word out, he didn’t add to it, he simply continued to write on the ground, and my guess is - what he was writing was the sins for each individual that picked up a rock. Talk about getting rocked! Wow! The power of waiting upon the Lord!
Psalm 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait for You.
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart.
Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who wait for the Lord.
Psalm 33:20, 22 Our soul waits for the Lord: He is our help and our shield. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we wait for You.
Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 59:9 I will wait for You, Oh you my strength, for God is my defense.
Psalm 130:5-6 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning - yes, more than they that watch for the morning.
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; blessed are all those who wait for Him.
Isaiah 40:31 They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 49:23 You will know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me.
Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 16
Jude spoke of those shepherds who fed themselves and ignored the flock: He states how they spoke evil of what they do not know; and whatever they do know, like brute beasts, they corrupt for themselves. How they run greedily for profit. And during our (agapao) love feasts, serving (poimaino), they would feed and tend only to themselves, not the flock. For them it was all about self preservation. He describes them as clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots, as they tend to their bosko feast. Other than these two verses where it speaks about feeding sheep in a bosko type fashion, the other usage of bosko was in the context of the slopping of hogs! Boskoing was the position the prodigal son found himself in, prior to coming to his senses.
Now, poimaino is what God calls us to do as his shepherds. It involves more than just pushing the feed off the back of a truck. It involves tending to them, and tending to their needs with personalized care. It’s a life of giving, not taking. The giving of yourself without restraint or concern for your own needs. This tender care of a poimaino shepherding seems to be a rare model in our western culture. People today are gathered into the shed for their Sunday feeding, and if quality shepherd time is needed, well that may not happen, it may be squeezed out by the one man show, and when the time is up, then comes the bill, known as the tithe! One of the many defibrillators used for the sake of self preservation, where feed continues to slide off the back of the truck!
There are other verses that shed abit more light on the Greek word poimaino, clearly showing us the difference between the bosko approach of feeding, and the tender care that comes with poimaino. It says to be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd (poimaino) the bride of Christ which he purchased with his own blood - Acts 20:28. Shepherd (poimaino) the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness - 1 Peter 5:2. For the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd (poimaino), and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes - Revelation 7:17. Have you ever ask yourself where their tears came from?
As we can all see, poimaino is what Jesus does to, and for us, as his flock. Jesus asked Peter three times, Do you agapao love me? I agapao you Peter! Are you willing to deny all of your self-interests and love me more than these; your boat, your nets, and even the great catch you just received? Peter, phileo love is not enough to be a true shepherd of my sheep. You said you would never deny me, but I am asking you to deny yourself! You must tend my sheep with agapao love as I have loved you. Your life is no longer your own. You can no longer address yourself in what you like, nor step out and walk in the power of your old nature. You must be so shrouded by my love, where you cannot help but lay down your life for my flock, loving them like I do. Brotherly love is not enough. It will fail you in the work that I am calling you into. You must agapao me and my flock and become that servant . . . not as one seeking his own interests, but as one who is interested in others. You must die to selfish gain. Your old man will not make the grade to where I am leading you.
You who would be great . . . are you ready to be that humble and lowly servant and cast away a life that would consume your self interests? Are you still girding up for yourself, leading the flock where you want it to go? If so, take note, Jesus does not take your presumptuous ways with his sheep lightly! We need to ask our own hearts, Do we agapao love our Lord? If we do, it will show in the way we treat his sheep. If someone says, "I love (agapao) God," and does away with his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love [agapao] his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen - 1 John 4:20.
In passing through this God-ordained stripping, Simon would come to see the utter futility of attempting to follow Jesus in the strength of his own soul. In what must have been perceived as an utter state of failure and shame, Simon would learn to have no confidence in his flesh. He would learn to distrust his own resolve and tenacity. He would be converted from one life-source to another, from his natural strength, into the life and recourses of Christ. Oh, how Simon loved the lord! Surely if anyone would follow Christ to the very end, Simon would! But little did Simon know that just before him was a testing, a sifting that would shake him to the core of his being. Things looked dismal for he had not only failed to lay down his life for Christ but had even denied Christ three times, in order to save it. Simon had been winnowed and the chaff of self-confidence and self-reliance had been blown away. Simon was left in the constant memory of his utter failure, the very words of Jesus, "when you are converted, strengthen your brethren," were all but forgotten.
It was imperative that Simon's faith in his natural strength, resolve and abilities should fail him. Simon, in his own strength, could not embrace the cross. His bold declaration "even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!" echoed in his mind, in condemning tones, as a haunting and constant reminder of his weakness. Simon would not make the same mistake twice. He would never again overstate his strength and resolve. However on that faithful day Jesus asked him those three telling questions, Simon would be sorely tempted. Jesus would test Simon, giving him every opportunity to repeat those fatal words.
Simon could never lay down his life for Jesus but Peter could, and did. More than any other apostle, the faults of Simon have been put on display, even documented in the scriptures for all to read. But we also see the method, the principle means, by which God makes gentle shepherds out of rough old fishermen. This sifting of Simon represents a vivid picture of how God continues to sift those whom he has called, that one day they would be of great service and truly tend to his sheep. Christ has seen our desire to serve him, but before we can truly poimaino Christ's sheep, before we can strengthen the brethren, we must go through the sifting, that our natural Simon-like strength would be winnowed and blown away by the Wind of God's Spirit.
So you see . . . true shepherds are not ordained, they are born upon the threshing floor!
Weekly Tuneup - Week 15
FATHER, SON, HOLY SPIRIT
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11; 20:1; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.
God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
Genesis 18:1; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 14
HOPE OF GLORY
There are many individuals who are wearing faded garments. They're saying that the glory of the Lord has faded. Some feel the glory has actually departed. We are in a time where the glory of the Lord is about to enter back into your lives, and on a much greater level, — but have you prepared yourself to enter into that glory?
" I am inviting you to come in to a deeper dimension in your walk with me. I will resuscitate you once again. As you allow me to, I will bring you back to life and release my glory cloud over you in a greater measure. As you tune in to the frequencies of heaven, you will learn how to tap into my glory which never runs dry. I desire to immerse you daily in my presence. With that you will then understand kingdom principles in a new way. In my glory you will discover hidden treasures of both old and new. This is where you will receive revelation at a whole new level. I will release my glory in your lives in a way that you have not yet known. I will show you how to enter into my presence from within and how to distinguish good from evil wherever you go. You will learn to perceive and press through the dark clouds that try to block your path. You will experience what it is to be led by a cloud by day and by a fire by night.
You will recognize those things which have blocked your progress as you stay in intimate communion with me. As your conscience is clear, you will be able to discern with more clarity. Don't take offence when I show you things that need correction in your life. Allow me to reveal what is in your heart. As you allow me to work deep inside your innermost being - you will be empowered to come into a new place in me. Focus your heart as you submit your spirit to me. As you decrease, and allow me to increase, you will find that your words will release new things, bring change and carry weight. You will soon recognize my presence in your daily life. Those areas that have been desolate will no longer be barren. I desire to fill my temple with my cloud once again. My vision for your life is greater than you could see in the natural, or perceive in the spirit. Be determined just as Moses was when he said, "If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. My presence shall surely go with you, and I will give you rest.
Exodus 33:15 Then he said to Him, "If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.
Exodus 40:35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
1 Kings 8:10-11 And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
Haggai 2:9 The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,' says the Lord of hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the Lord of hosts."
Weekly Tuneup - Week 13
In the New Testament, Jesus declared Himself "lord of the Sabbath" - Matthew 12:8. The actual Sabbath day has now manfested in Jesus and he now is our rest. His very presence has become our Sabbath. He equated Himself with God the Father, becoming God in human form. As God the Father declared the Sabbath - Jesus came and defined it! In addition, Jesus declared, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" - Mark 2:27. In Hebrews 3 and 4, the author developed the concept of Jesus as our Sabbath rest, revealing how a relationship with Jesus Christ frees us from the works of the law and allows a person to rest in Jesus. Ultimately, those who believe in Jesus will spend eternity in a Sabbath rest with Him - Hebrews 4:9.
Hebrews 4 speaks of Jesus as our Sabbath rest. Verses 9-10 in particular state, "So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his." How is Jesus our Sabbath rest? The key to understanding how Jesus is our Sabbath rest is understanding what the Sabbath means. The Hebrew word shabat was the word "rest" in the Old Testament first used in regard to God "resting" from creation on the seventh day. The Sabbath would later become part of the Law of Moses, referring to the Sabbath day, Saturday, upon which the Jewish people were to do no work. The Sabbath was designed as a day set aside to not only rest from works, but to also rest in the him! That Sabbath day 2000 years ago manifested itself in the flesh, and because of that that living breathing Sabbath . . . we now rest in him! He is our Sabbath!
Many continue to live as if their salvation depends on some good deeds that they need to perform. Yet Jesus has provided it all. It is by his grace we receive salvation, through faith. As Ephesians 2:8-9 reveal, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Being commissioned to spread the kingdom is a whole lot different than doing good deeds to sustain your salvation, and to give you that self worthyness that you feel you need. We are worthy and he is our rest!
Jesus serves as our Sabbath rest in the sense that He provides freedom from living under the the law. His sacrifice has paid the price for our salvation. We accept salvation as His free gift, entering into His rest both now as well as in eternity in His presence. Hebrews 4 ends with words of comfort for those who enter God's Sabbath rest: "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" - Hebrews 4:16. As a result of Christ's finished work, we can confidently come before God, receiving mercy and grace as we walk into that amazing place of rest.
Mathew 12:8 - For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.
Mark 2:27 - The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
Hebrews 4:9-10 - So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 12
Once we recognize that the weaknesses that we carry around has that potential to be a type of tutor, and not some fatal disease, then we can move on with the program, and discover how wonderfully we have been designed! The truth is that we have been wonderfully made, which includes our weaknesses. To deny that we are weak, is to deny that wonderful chemistry whereby we become one with him through our dependence on his strength. Which, when invited, will show up in the midst of weakness. Beating ourselves up while struggling through our weaknesses was never meant to be part of the program! To not recognize that available strength can only lead us down the road where we will, to some degree, beat ourselves up. To depend on his strength while contending with an ongoing weakness, is really what the program is all about! As God is the problem solver, we get to be that problem that gets to overcome through our trust in him. Our lives become the creative ground, that working equation, where that formula gets penciled out to overcome. Our life, in the midst of weakness, develops, and then reveals, that wonderful truth about his strength. His power being made perfect in the midst of our weakness! Our weakness is the very field by which his strength is revealed! As we press forward into the new season, along with all the new streams that he has for us, the greater our need becomes for his strength. Every fresh piece of ground reveals our need for his strength . . . new lands means new giants! As we walk together where we do our part, and he does his part, we see more and more how wonderfully we have been made. As the veil is pulled we see a relationship that is way beyond what we could ever imagine! Every time a formula is penciled out in our lives, that bit of strength now becomes wisdom! And that wisdom makes us all the wiser in our dependence upon him!
2 Corinthians 12:9 - But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Psalm 139:14 - I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Isaiah 40:31 - But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Psalm 27:14 - Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Psalm 34:17 - When you cry for help, the Lord hears and will deliver you out of all your troubles. The Lord is near those that are broken hearted and mends those that are crushed in spirit.
Deuteronomy 31:6 - Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 20:4 - For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’
Isaiah 41:10 - Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 11
HE IS FAITHFUL
If the love of God is truly unconditional, then He would gladly meet with us where ever we're at! There is no needed posturing of position to make sure that he will meet with us, there are no requisitions needed to be drafted out, nor qualifications to considered, or prepositions that need lining up for him to come. For he himself has personally made it possible for us to meet with him where ever we're at. There are no three steps, five steps or twelve steps needed, just the one step, and that step is to step into the meeting place with him. He is there in the midst of whatever we're going through, whatever hardships, whatever struggles, weaknesses, addictions or afflictions. Whatever those troubles maybe, premeditated or not, he will meet with us and his presence will surround us! Why? Because his love is unconditional, and his faithfulness is amazing! There are no conditions . . . he will meet with us if we call him! The day that we accepted him into our hearts, his love embraced forever . . . and forever unconditional ! So whatever the troubles maybe . . . he is right there ready to engage. We just need to take that one step, and that step is to step into the meeting!
- Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you - Psalms 50:15
- If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed - John 8:36
- God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able - 1 Corinthians 10:13
- Because you have set your love upon me, I will answer you: I will be with you in trouble - Psalms 91:14-15
- Fear thou not, for I am with you, I will strengthen you, I will help you - Isaiah 41:10
- My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed - Isaiah 54:10
- Grace be to you and peace from God; Who comforts in our time of tribulation - 2 Corinthians 1:2-4
- Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid - John 14:27
- Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, your God is with you where so ever you go - Joshua 1:9
- I will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make known my words unto you - Proverbs 1:23
- I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with mine eye - Psalms 32:8
- If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to men liberally - James 1:5
- Wait upon the Lord, he shall renew your strength, you shall walk, and not faint - Isaiah 40:31
- Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart - Psalms 27:14
Weekly Tuneup Week 10
Before you can love others, we really need to receive God's love for our self, because it’s pretty tough to give away something you don't have. And to think you have it without ever experiencing it is an even bigger joke! God seriously loves you! And his love for you is unconditional - there are no strings attached, no hidden motives, and on top of that there is nothing that you can do - to get God NOT to love you! It’s pretty well a done deal even if you try and push it aside! There’s nothing that can separate you from the love of God. No outside force can stop you from receiving that love. But there is one thing, and one thing only, that can stop you . . . and that is you! The other amazing fact besides you being able to push this love aside, is that this great love also comes with an eternal component to it!
Knowing that God loves you is central in understanding the gospel, for the entire Gospel is based on God's love. And that’s the good news! God has not withheld His love from us! Instead, God has poured out his love towards us and is seriously trying to consume our hearts with that love. For God so loved us that he gave us Jesus, and who so ever believes in the son of God and the sacrifices that he made for us . . . receives eternal life! Amazing grace and eternity! It’s really a win win situation!
With that love now buzzing around in our lives, what do we do with that new found love? We now know that God loves us, so now what? What should we be doing with that love? Well maybe giving it away is an option! Since God so loved us, maybe we ought to love one another and pay it forward. In other words, our response to the good news of God's love is that maybe we should love others as he has loved us. I think that’s a great option since Jesus repeatedly commanded us to love others. If his love had no strings attached, maybe we should walk in the same love program! And that is to love unconditionally!
However, it is impossible to love others unless you have actually encountered God's love. We are able to walk in genuine love because he loved us first. We felt his embrace, his mercy, his kindness, his patience, his compassion, his tenderness. In other words, we are able to love other people because of his relentless love towards us. Think of our ability to love others like a glass of water. At first, the glass is empty. If you don't have any water in your glass, then it’s pretty tough to give any of it away. But when we hold our glass under a faucet and let the water pour; our glass will fill up. Then, once it’s full, our glass will overflow, and that water will pour out to everyone around you. We become that fresh oasis to those around us.
Now the other thing is if God is on the move, and we are definitely in an end time season where God is on the move, and this moving has everything to do with his love, then maybe we should be moving forward with that love too. Maybe we too should be spreading the love! Maybe we too should be showing some unconditional love! Maybe it's time to seriously pony up with Gods love!
Weekly Tuneup - Week 9
TO WALK WITH GOD
What It Is to Walk with God? It’s got to be more than just throwing prayers up to the celling hoping that some will stick! What I’ve tapped into is that to walk with God is to live one’s life in the consciousness of God’s presence, with a conscious communion with him. To have that thought constantly before you, “God is with me,” and every now and then to be speaking to him, but still even more, listening for him to speak back. To walk with God is to live in the real, constant and conscious companionship of God. Almost like a good friend, but without the baggage!
It is possible for us to have that consciousness, that nearness and fellowship of God in our daily life. To walk and talk with him as we walk and talk with a true friend. To have him talk to us, and to commune with him in a silence that is far more meaningful than any words could be. I would gladly linger here in this sweet place. What would the results be of walking in that place The results of walking with God, is great joy, abounding joy. “In Your presence, you will fill me with joy” - Psalm 16:11 There is no greater joy than that which comes from right companionship. When we have the conscious presence and companionship of God on earth, we then have two heavens, the heaven to which we are going, and a heaven here on earth. Can you remember some ecstatic hour of your life when you walked, and listened with an earthly companion whom you loved as you loved no other? That hour is only faintly suggestive of the delight that comes from walking with God, for He is an infinitely dearer and better and more glorious companion than any earthly one could be. How the details of everyday life are transfigured if only the constant fellowship of God were in them.
Psalm 16:8 - “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken”. How can we be moved if God is with us? How often God says to his friends as they approach the coming danger: “Do not fear, for I am with you” - Isaiah 41:10 God is here, he is right here by our side. Our wrestling is not only with flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. But what does it matter? God is with us. Oh, if only we bore in mind at every moment the thought of His presence with us, if only we could hear Him saying, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand,” then fear would not have its way in our hearts under any circumstances.
No matter how near it may come to our front doors, there would be a calm, and an abounding peace. As we walk and talk with him, we could constantly say, under all circumstances, “The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid of? When evil men advance against me, when enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.” No wonder the Psalmist wrote in this connection, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” The conscious companionship of God is the great secret of abiding peace.
Communion with God rather than scholarship opens to us the mind and thought of God. There is no hint that Enoch was a scholared man, and yet this plain man by walking with God and talking with God got such an insight into the purposes of God as no other man of his time had. And so it is even today, that an average everyday person, who walks with God may know more of the mind of God than many an eminent college professor, or even a professor in a theological seminary. The important question concerning this dispute between religion and the spiritual is not, what do the scholars say, but what do the men and women who walk with God say. If one is considering going to someone for spiritual instruction, the first question is not how much of a scholar he is, not how much does he know of Latin and Hebrew and Greek and philosophy and psychology, but does he walk with God?
Nothing else is so cleansing as the consciousness of God’s presence. Things that we have long tolerated become intolerable when we bring them into the white light of the presence of the Holy One. How many things we do in the darkness of the night, yes, even in the broad light of day, that we could not for a moment think of doing if we realized God was right there by our side. If we walk with God, more and more will His beauty illuminate and reflect itself in our lives. Moses’ very face shone as he came down from the forty days and forty nights of conversation with God. So will our whole life soon shine with a heavenly glow and glory if we habitually walk with God. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” - 2 Corinthians 3:18
Our lives may be quiet and even obscure; it may be impossible to the point of what men call great achievements, but the highest usefulness lies not in such things, but in the silent, almost unnoticed but potent and pervasive influence of a life, whose light illumines, whose beauty compliments, and whose nobility elevates all who come in contact with it. If you wish to be really, permanently, eternally useful, then walk with God.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 8
THE BREATH OF LIFE
I had dream/vision where I was sitting alone and then someone approached me from behind and placed their hand upon my one shoulder. As the breath of the one that stood over me hit me, I instantly knew it was the Lord himself. Words in itself can not describe the breath of God as it impacts you. The clashing of two worlds — the supernatural invading the flesh. The very moment that breath cascaded upon my head and rippled down my shoulders I instantly knew that by this breath — things were created, things were established, things were restored, renewed, revived and revealed. That cascading sensation — like a wave, passed its way through every molecule in my body, leaving an amazing freshness as my body totally surrendered to its unbelievable presence. An intense goodness flooded through every part of my being. Every cell instantly sensing the creative authority of the creator. A profound sense of the commanded authority of an absolute God. As the continual blasts of his breath waved through me, my breath fell into the rhythm of his breath. My spirit slowly aligned with his spirit. As he stood behind me his breath impacted my back, powered through and captured my breath. I saw a collective breath with the expression of God having a powerful creative component to it as it was released upon the surrounding environment. It moved with such creative expression. The glory of God swirling every breath as it flowed with such an expression of his glory. What a sensation! A display of supreme power and amazing grace all wrapped in one. When I woke up all I could think about was the intense life behind every breath as it passed every cell and molecule in my body. That dream/vision was probably my third dream regarding the breath of the Lord. Obviously it’s an important piece of information and for some reason heaven was putting their finger on it. The whole sensation of that breath resided in the room for quite some time. I just breathed it all in! Obviously my curiosity got the best of me and I had to research this very unusual phenomena A good place to start — the book of Genesis. This is what I found, “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” 1500 years later the Lord speaks to Ezekiel about a valley of dry bones. As he breathed on the valley of dry bones an army stood up. The creativeness of his breath brought life upon those slain bones. God raised himself an army! The bizarre thing is that Jesus shows up with the apostolic model and does a little breathing of his own in the book of John “. . . as my Father has sent me — so do I send you!” and then he breathed upon them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit!” And with that breath — the apostolic age was born. Then I stumbled upon a Hebrew meaning for the word salvation — to take a breath. That pretty well closed off the research! My overall sense is that as it was in the beginning with the apostolic age so will it be in these later days — but with greater intensity. The breath of the Lord plans to impact through a multitude of creative applications. My guess is he’s looking for those that will breath with him as he breaths upon them. Those that will take a breath — His breath!
Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it - Isaiah 42:5
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life - Job 33:4
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature - Genesis 2:7
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. - John 20:22
Weekly Tuneup - Week 7
CALLED TO BE UNSHAKABLE
Luke 6: 46-49 But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
I am calling you to be strong, immovable, and unshakable. I am looking for those who are not easily moved and swayed by tests, trials or the worlds system. Many of you are required to go the extra mile, and those of you who are called to be ruler over much requires a stronger and deeper foundation. For this very reason, you are called to live by a higher standard. Just as a tree must sway back and forth in high winds to avoid snapping, any tall building must also do the same. You must live up to a higher expectation and walk in a manner worthy of the calling that I have on your life. Allow me to remove those things that are hindering you from your growth, and people who are deterring you from all that I have called you to do. Align yourself with my will and refuse to get entangled with anything that will destroy your life and discredit your name. Those who have strength and a determination to go higher are those that will go higher. Those who are determined to dig deeper are those who will have a much stronger foundation, and those who are determined to be steadfast are those who will build with precision.
Stay steadfast in my word so that the process will not be hindered. Stay in an attitude of prayer to be strengthened. I have designed you to withstand the shaking that is experienced during difficult times. Allow me as the master architect to create a structure that will not be easily broken or cracked under pressure. Allow me to build your foundation in accordance to my word. Live your life in sync with my plans. Do not see yourself as inadequate or weak because I called you to be a strong tower. Don't think that you are incompetent of being used by me, but continue to pursue what I have placed in your heart to do. I am not seeking the wise according to the flesh. I am not seeking those who are noble according to the world's standards. I am seeking for ones like you and I will open new doors for you in the coming months that will cause you to be effective in what you have been created to do. I have created you for a purpose. Don't feel overwhelmed with responsibilities but allow me to lead you one step at a time. My plan for your life will continue to move you forward as you progress in your ability to endure.
Luke 6: 46-49 But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
1 Corinthians 1:25-26 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
1 Corinthians 3:9-15 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 6
TIME TO CHECK THE GROUND
In a dream I saw two huge waves. They were the size of mountains, but the second one was not as big as the first one, but it wasn’t a whole lot smaller. The first one had that clearing of the way, raising up a standard, kind of feel to it. Its intentions were to rearrange, restructure, realign, repair and re-establish from the ground up, and prepare it for the second wave. The second wave, which was not far behind, represented a massive harvest. The first wave was to prepare for the second wave. For those who have aligned the ground that they are presently standing on, in accordance to heaven, will welcome the first wave as something absolutely refreshing. For those that have not prepared their ground in accordance to heaven, well that ground will either be instantly realigned or it will be swept away. As I saw the two waves, which at that time were only a short distance away, tells me that this event will happen very soon. You might wanna check to make sure that the ground that you are presently standing on has what it takes to handle that first wave.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 5
HOW VALUABLE ARE YOU REALLY
In John 1:1-2 we discover that the actual agent in creation was not God the Father, but the divine Word, who was with God from eternity – the Person who was later manifested in human history as Jesus of Nazareth: All things were made through Him, the Word, and without Him nothing was made that was made. Creation, as a whole, was brought about by the spoken word of God: By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God. For He spoke and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. But the creation of Adam, as described in Genesis 2:7, was uniquely different: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being - literally, a living soul.
Picture the scene! The Lord kneeled down, took dust in His hands, mixed it with water and molded it into the body of a man. So there it was – the most perfect piece of sculpture ever fashioned – more perfect than any masterpiece of Michelangelo. But it was lifeless! Then something marvelous happened. The Creator leaned forward, put His divine lips against the lips of clay, His divine nostrils against the nostrils of clay and breathed into them. His breath penetrated the form of clay, and transformed it into a living human being with every organ of its body functioning perfectly, and with all the marvelous, spiritual, intellectual and emotional responses of which a human being is capable. No other being has ever been created in such a way.
The words used to describe this miracle are particularly vivid. Hebrew is one of those languages in which the sound of certain words is directly related to the action which they describe. The sound of the Hebrew word translated breathed can be rendered “yipakh”. It consists of a tiny internal “explosion,” followed by a forceful, on-going release of air from the throat. Thus it vividly represents the action which it describes. As the Lord stooped down over those lips and nostrils of clay, He did not let out weak sigh – He forcefully breathed Himself into that body of clay, which thus received a miraculous impartation of the very life of God! Immediately, man became a triune being, composed of spirit, soul and body. The spirit came from the inbreathed breath of God; his body was clay, transformed into living, pulsating flesh; his soul, produced by the uniting of spirit and body, became a unique, individual personality, capable of making decisions – I will or I will not.
Together with his God-given mate, Adam was appointed to rule the earth as God’s representative. The triunity of his inner nature represented the likeness of the triune God. His outward form mirrored the image of the Lord who created him. Both in his inward nature and his outward form, he uniquely represented God to the rest of earth’s creatures. Furthermore, Adam and Eve enjoyed regular personal fellowship with the Lord. At the close of each day He came to spend time with them. Who knows what revelations of Himself He shared with them? We do know, however, that God granted Adam the privilege of choosing names for all the other living creatures.
The greatest tragedy of human history followed. Tricked by Satan, Adam and Eve traded their God-given inheritance for a piece of fruit! This disobedience affected every part of Adam’s triune nature. His spirit – cut off from God – died. In his soul he became a rebel henceforth at war with his Creator. His body became subject to sickness, ageing and, ultimately, death. God had warned Adam concerning the tree of knowledge, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” It was Adam’s spirit that died instantly; his body did not die for more than 900 years. Adam’s disobedience was terrible in its consequences, yet it brought to light an aspect of God’s nature that would otherwise never have been fully revealed: the unfathomable depth of His love. God has never given up on Adam and his descendants. He longs to bring us back to Himself.
This is beautifully expressed in James 4:5 “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us” – the spirit that was breathed into Adam at his creation. Incredible though it may seem, God continues to long for the personal fellowship which He once enjoyed with Adam, but which was broken by Adam’s rebellion – a rebellion that has been perpetuated in every one of Adam’s descendants. Furthermore, at infinite cost, God has made a way for us to be restored to Himself. He sent Jesus “to seek and to save that which was lost.” By His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, Jesus has made it possible for each of us to be forgiven and cleansed from sin and to become members of God’s own family.
In Matthew 13:45-46 Jesus told a parable which beautifully describes the wonder of our redemption: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. For me this depicts the redemption of a human soul. Jesus is the merchant – not a tourist or a sightseer – but a man who has dealt in pearls all his life, and knows the exact value of every pearl. The pearl that He has purchased is just one human soul – yours or mine. It cost Him all He had – everything He owned. It cost Jesus everything He had to buy you back to Himself. Though He was Lord of the entire universe, He laid it all aside and died in absolute poverty. He owned nothing. The robe and the tomb in which He was buried were both borrowed. “Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”
Perhaps you have never seen yourself as important. You have a poor self-image. You may look back on a life of pain and disappointment: a deprived and unhappy childhood, a marriage that ended in divorce, or a career that never materialized, or years wasted on drugs and alcohol. Your past and your future both convey the same message: Failure! Not to Jesus! He loved you so much that He gave up everything to redeem you for Himself. Repeat the beautiful words of the Apostle Paul, make them your own: “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” Now see yourself as that pearl held in the nail-scarred hand of Jesus. Hear Him saying to you, You’re so beautiful! You cost Me everything I had, but I don’t regret it. Now you’re Mine forever!
Hebrews 11:3, Psalm 33:9, Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 3:8, Genesis 2:19, Genesis 2:17, Luke 19:10, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Galatians 2:20
Weekly Tuneup - Week 4
A WORK IN PROGRESS
What we call a work in progress, others may call it sanctification. Whatever people call it, it’s a process that we all find ourselves going through once we’ve stepped out of the spiritual womb. Instant sanctification is a rarity, and my guess is that whatever looked like instant sanctification probably got kicked around like a tin can down the road, and who knows what surprises came out of that process. The day that I accepted the good Lords message of salvation, the process of change was ignited. Ya! What Jesus did totally sanctified us and pardoned us, but walking that sanctified life in the natural, well that's a whole different ball game! Yes that rascally little rabbit of the unsanctified was pulled out of the hat, but not everything came out. Deep inside were still remnants of that rascal, and that rabbit was now heading for character refinement, and character development. What we call the process has now kicked into high gear. In some cases it may take a while to iron out all the kinks, and even longer with all those idiosyncrasies. Maybe that’s why we’re not called to judge others. Because in judging, we are actually making a judgement call on how God is progressing in that persons life. Depending on the condition of the heart, what was meant to be a simple process, at times, could take a while! This is where the fruits of the spirit really need to kick in because you really don’t wanna to be the guy that’s holding up the score cards.
At that initial stage when that rabbit is pulled, and stuff still resides, whatever may still be in the closet – now needs to come out. Gods intel has a way of getting those little rascals out. But while there’s a tearing down there’s also a building up, and that has everything to do with heaven building us up according to heavens designs, to become that person that we were meant to be. Heaven has an identity laid out for us, but the world wants us to be the big cowboy, and the battle rages on.
The molding process begins as heaven starts to deal with our worldly image of being the cowboy, into that eternal spiritual being that we need to be for today and for eternity. My own fiery experiences have re-arranged my dome and tenderized my heart. As the cowboy in me was changing, so was my village. As years went by, I found that my new village was just as weird, at times even weirder than the last village. And the tumbling of sanctification continued. As the tumbler was a rockin’ there were days that I’d look in the mirror and I just wanna pull my hair out. Then I’d be banging on heaven’s door trying to get some kind of intel on all this weirdness, and when that heavenly door cracked open, all I heard was the joy of the Lord. The boys are having a party! Great! Well I’m glad somebody’s having fun! Then I heard this “Don’t worry! Be happy!” come from behind the door! That’s not what I was really looking for, but it did remind me of a time when my dad was teaching me how to ride a bike. While scared stiff trying to ride the crazy thing, my dad was smiling away on the sideline with that don’t worry be happy look! Well I figured out how to ride that crazy thing, so I guess I now need to figure out how to ride out this thing.
What I found out about the overall process is that the Good Lord is wanting us to walk in a more consistent level of goodness over longer periods of time. To take up the challenge of being honest about ourselves so that we would be willing to face the truth, and start handling the garbage a little better. Then there’s the challenge of overcoming pride and becoming humble enough to listen to sound criticism, admit our mistakes, and make things right with those that we’ve offended. Then there’s the pain of staggering around struggling with old habits, trying to replace them with new habits. Then there’s the discouragement of taking two steps forward and three steps backward, or three steps forward and one step backward. Then there’s the exhausting tug-of-war between wanting to do what is right and being tempted and messing up. We’re not finished yet! Then on top of all that! There’s the needed discipline to prepare both the heart and mind for the challenges of today. Such is the list of things that make being in his image, a whole lot more difficult than what we ever imagined. But the process is not a one-sided deal. In reality, the weight of the process is both on God and on us. Without God doing his part there is no hope of any serious progress in the process. Heaven knows that they must do their part if we are to be a changed, and sanctified people, and so heaven opens up more and more as we engage.
Sure this sanctification may look like another list of do’s and don’ts, but if we actually pursue an understanding on how the kingdom of heaven actually functions, that revelation alone will automatically place us on the sanctified treadmill and get us into shape. If you’re gonna cowboy up! Then cowboy up on the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. That alone will give tremendous life to the process, plus create a huge shift in your character and align your identity into something more heavenly.
So! Don’t worry! Be happy! And may the joy of the Lord be your strength!
Jude 1:24 - Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Hebrews 13:21 - Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ;
Philippians 1:6 - And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Weekly Tuneup - Week 3
FORGIVE - THAT'S CRAZY
One of the craziest things we as a people are ever called to do is to respond to evil with kindness, and to forgive when we should really be lacing up the boots. We here stories about people who have responded to hatred with love, but when this thing starts to crawl into our tent, our default system seems to steer us towards anger, hatred, with a coldness that’ll bring a whole bunch of other uglies. Studies have shown that one of the big keys to a good healthy life is to let go of all the hurts and do the unthinkable - forgive the unforgivable. That one who performed that nice little square dance on us may not deserve to be forgiven for all the suffering he or she has inflicted, but we deserve to be free of this evil, and to be free from the coming evils that always seem to follow that initial assault.
One of the greatest acts of love is to forgive, but let’s not get mixed up about what forgiveness is! Forgiveness is not agreeing, but a releasing. It is simply releasing a person from their sinful act against you, just as God in His grace has released you from your sins against Him. To seriously forgive anyone that has really messed us up, we need to trust God to give us the ability to forgive. When the cut is deep, it’s going to take something supernatural to pony up and forgive. Its not easy, especially when the heart has been stomped on. But there is a realm of forgiveness that every believer can walk in. And that is by stepping out in a faith that’ll give us this type of forgiveness. A supernatural forgiveness with no stings attached, and that cannot be done through our own natural ability. The good Lord’s application of forgiveness gives us not only the ability to forgive, but also with the ability to totally eradicate any thought or memory of those crimes that have come against us. From there we have our freedom back, that place of rest . . . free from all the uglies. Every believer must learn how to live and walk in that realm of supernatural forgiveness.
Jesus knew all about that forgiveness, and that is why He connected it so closely with our interaction to his Fathers kingdom - Mark 11. The kingdom of God will not flow in an unforgiving heart. Galatians 5:6 - Says that faith works big-time through acts of kindness and love. If you are holding anything against another person, then it will hinder the release of that kingdom power. By harboring that unforgiveness—no matter how small it may seem—you literally handcuff the hands of God and close the doors to any kingdom activity. So whatever initial boots came flying your way . . . more will come because of unforgiveness. It’s like a double whammy. It’s not fair! The adversary is a dirty fighter! Don’t be suckered into that one two punch of his! Mark 26 - Jesus clearly stated that if we do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive you. This is spiritual law and there’s no getting around this one. Luke 6:37 - Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. It’s real tough to get a breakthrough without any forgiveness in the room! When we allow unforgiveness to build up, we end up clogging the main pipe between heaven and us. Unforgiveness puts a huge halt to any flow of kingdom power that may be heading our way. Not a good thing to do when you’re staring at the face of evil.
God’s love is the most powerful force in today’s existence. Satan knows that and learned first-hand just how powerful that love is when he faced Jesus 2,000 years ago. At Calvary, what looked like victory for him turned out to be his ultimate defeat - Matthew 28:18; Mark 16:15-20. He clearly learned by that defeat what the love of God can do, and the tremendous power that lies in forgiveness.
Jesus said a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, so should you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are part of my family, if you have loved one to another - John 13:34-35. The evidence of our dedication to God is the love we have for others. It is that true, pure, unadulterated love of God manifesting itself in our lives that sets us apart from other people. A revelation of that love walk, mixed with supernatural forgiveness in our spirits allows amazing kingdom restoration power to flow.
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.” ― Nelson Mandela
“I only forgave when I saw how destructive my hate was, how it consumed my energies, crippled my friendships and disabled any good that I wanted to do.” ― Gracilla Martinez
“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ― Mark Twain
The devil is never deeper in hell, nor farther removed from us than when we can pray "Father forgive them; they know not what they do." ― E. M. Bounds
“We never touch the ocean of God's love so much as when we love our enemies. It is a joy to accept forgiveness, but it is almost a greater joy to give forgiveness.” ― Corrie Ten Boon
“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” ― John F. Kennedy
“I wish I had learned earlier about forgiveness, both giving it and receiving it and the freedom of spirit it can bring.” ― Edith Buxton
Weekly Tuneup - Week 2
BIG COWBOY NOT GETTING THE LOVE ?
If you don't feel like you're getting the love that you think you should be getting, then maybe you should be asking yourself about giving the love you should be giving. Too often we look only at what other people are doing for us, instead of what we are doing for them. Jesus instructs us to look out for the needs of one another, to look for ways to serve others, and to walk in love with each other, and for each other. In John 13:34-35, Jesus actually commands us to love: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have lo ved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are part of my family, if you love one another."
Love is so important, everyone needs real love. People in the world are hungry for that love; and they are searching for that genuine love. Not a façade, but the real deal of real love. Proverbs 19:22 tells us that what a man truly desires is unfailing love. We as believers have an opportunity to give that love, which the world so desperately desires. So instead of wondering why you're not getting the love that you think you should be getting, you should really decide to give the love that you should be giving. The love of God dwells within you! So give it away! And yes it is possible to be joyful most of the time! Not because we’re spared from the afflictions of this world, or from the one who is the author of all those afflictions, but because the one who created us, known as the comforter, now dwells within us. Jesus states that we will suffer. In Matthew 10:17-18, Jesus warns us, "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils, and flog you in their synagogues.” Jesus clearly defines that on his account we will be brought before governors and kings as his witnesses, and not everybody out there is going to have open arms, some will be wearing boots! This may be problematic for those who have entered through the rose garden, but in the words of Jesus, "If they call me Beelzebub, how much more are they going to call the members of my family!" Not only does Jesus promise that believers will suffer, the Apostle Paul assures us that the path to being an heir of God demands sharing in the sufferings Romans 8:17. Similarly, Paul writes this to those in Philippi: it has been granted to you on behalf of Jesus not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him Philippians 1:29. In other words things can, and will get intense. Just because you know Jesus, doesn’t mean that it’s all clear sailing! You’re out there creating paradigm shifts. People are going to get ugly! The trick is to swap that ugly for the love that dwells inside of you! As believers, we will not be spared from suffering. Acts 9:15-16, Philippians 3:10-11, and 1 Timothy 1:8-9 So despite being assured affliction and suffering, CJesus-followers can be somewhat joyful nonetheless. Why? Well, we do win at the end, and the suffering of today will help mold us to being that better person for tomorrow. Suffering has a way of refining our character. But there is a way be joyful while the realities of day to day life overwhelms us, and that is by being confident knowing that, in spite of the immense sin that surrounds us, along with the real life issues that still haunts us, we are secured in Jesus. Sure it’s tough to push aside the death that so encompasses our world, but we should not fear the one who can kill the body only, when, instead of fear, we should rest in the love of Him who is able to keep us from the eternal flames of hell Luke 12:4-7 Or, to put it more positively, we should be rejoicing towards a God who has given us amazing love, and because of that love we now have salvation, we now have eternal life, and a joy ( if we allow it) that is overflowing 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.
The faith that justifies is the very same faith that satisfies. Saving faith satisfies us by weaning us from those short-lived satisfactions, to that ultimate satisfaction in Jesus. Thus, despite the fact that suffering will come even—or, perhaps, especially—to us who profess a faith in Jesus, we can have great joy not because we are spared affliction - but because of he who is faithful, will never leave his watch, and he will never forsake us. He will work all things out for His good pleasure. And if we hang in there long enough, we’ll have an opportunity to figure out the good work that he is establishing in us. And when that piece of enlightenment starts to unfold before us, we’ll get to see more of the bigger picture, and not only about us, but also about those that He sends us too.
So in the meantime don’t worry, be happy, it’s time to cowboy up and share the love! I see you’re smiling! That’s good!
Weekly Tuneup - Week 1
LOVE - NO STRINGS ATTACHED
Before you can love others, you need to receive God's love for yourself, because it's tough to give away something that you don't have. God deeply and intimately loves you! His love for you is unconditional—no strings attached, and there is nothing that you can do to get God not to love you. Indeed, Romans 8:38-39 says that there is nothing that can ever separate us from God's love. Knowing that God loves you is central to your understanding of the Gospel, for the entire Gospel is based on God's love John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10. The good news is that God hasn't withheld His love from us; instead, God has poured out his love into our hearts Romans 5:5 . But what do we do with that love? We know God loves us, but so what? What should we do with God's love? Give it away! Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another John 4:11 . In other words, our response to the news of God's love for us needs to be to love others. Indeed, Jesus repeatedly commanded us to love others Matthew 5:43-47, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 6:27-35, John 13:34-35, John 15:12,17 . However, it is impossible to love others unless you know, believe and receive God's love. 1 John 4:19 says we love because he first loved us. In other words, we are able to love other people, because God first showed His love to us. If God hadn't shown His love to us, we would have no standard and no example on which to base our love for others. Similarly, 1 John 4:7 says dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Here again, our ability to love one another is only because love comes from God. Think of your ability to love others like a glass of water. At first, the glass is empty. If you don't have any water in your glass, then you obviously can't give water to anyone else. But when you hold your glass under a faucet and let the water pour out into your glass, it will fill up. Then, once it is full, your glass will overflow, and you can let the water pour out to everyone around you. If you don't have love in you, then you can't give love to anyone else. Therefore, you must first receive God's love, before you can love one another. You can't enjoy today if you're worrying about the past or the future. Your mind and your thoughts could be stuck in the past, continually thinking about what has already happened. If that's the case, it's best to get over it. The past has already happened; you can't do anything to change it. Rather, you ought to trust God that he is working out those things for ultimate good Romans 8:28 . On the other hand, your mind could be stuck in the future, thinking about what might happen, what you fear will happen, and things you wish wouldn't happen. However, being a person of faith requires trust . . . trusting God about the future. Romans 15:13 says, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him. You'll have joy and peace when you trust in God. Why? Because you'll be able to rest and relax knowing that God has good plans in store for you Jeremiah 29:11 . Don't worry about the past or the future. Instead, have faith; trust God. When you trust God to help you learn from the past and provide for your future, you're free to enjoy your life today.