Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Knowing and Growing!

Just about everybody knows that one of the hardest things to do in this life is to be objective or to see yourself and who you are with honesty. To understand yourself as others do, to see the things they see that our own "too close up" perspective prevents us from seeing. If for just one day we could read peoples thoughts that we interact with...how would it affect us?

Of course we're no different, everyday as we interact with others we withhold our observations. We think of it as a "kindness" we're extending not to tell them about some deal breaking aspect of their personality, we just smile politely and let it go, we'd rather not broach the topic at all based on our own "assumption of futility." There's always the risk that sharing our observations with them might open us up to some unwanted emotional reaction or foist us into the role of quasi-therapist based on the nature and severity of their observed behavior or personality quirk. The reasons not to engage people are abundant and valid, however it's often through this personal scrutiny by others that we have the opportunity to learn some very important things about ourselves. It's the stuff that we're too thick headed to pick up from the subtle hints that people drop about for us.

The realization of our own ignorance is always painful, and in my experience few things have the same power to motivate me to change as much as feeling as if I'm somehow the "Last to know".

If we could know, or see, exactly who and what we are, and know the truth about the hindrances that keep us from experiencing all the many blessings God has for us here in this world I think you'd see a stampede of people heading for the same place! I don't think that any of us would be able to get to a church altar fast enough or request nearly enough people to join us in praying for our deliverance from "whatever this thing is that's on our back".

That I might be enabled to be who God has purposed me to be,the joyful, healthful, bountiful, wonderful, totally fulfilled me!

2 Peter 1:3
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

The all important first step we take in truth is realizing our need for a Savior. We start by being convicted by The Holy Spirit of our sinfulness and having a sincere desire to repent and turn from our rebellion back toward God! We accept Christ's sacrifice as being for us then we can be "born again". Then we can begin to grow spiritually in a new relationship "In Christ" based on His atoning blood and the grace which was shown to us that we might wear His breastplate of righteousness.

Psalm 5:12
For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

Ephesians 6:11-13
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

If we could see our tormentor, our oppressor, in the light of Gods glory, for what he truly is, I think we'd all be astonished, not only that we allowed this abuse to go on for so long but that he was able to so deceive us and mankind as a whole at all.

The prophet Isaiah had this to say regarding our enemy Satan...

Isaiah 14:16
“ Those who see you will gaze at you,
And consider you, saying:

‘ Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,

I once saw a Tom and Jerry cartoon where Jerry stood in front of a flashlight behind a sheet to cast an imposing shadow so that Tom would be frightened of him...It was funny!

But are we just as easily frightened by our enemy who has no real power over us other than what we give him?

His only real power is in the deceptions he's able to convince us to believe!

I can tell you, that when the lights finally come up someday, and they will... I definitely don't want to be found cowering in fear there in front of a mouse behind a sheet! Like I said before, I hate being the "last to know".

I want to KNOW! Not just to keep from looking stupid..

But so that I can GROW! in all of the ways that please my Heavenly Father...


What about YOU? Would you like to start all over with a clean slate and a new life free from fear and lack and hopelessness? If you're sick of the scare tactics and the manipulation that Satan is using against you then in the name of Jesus walk up and pull down that sheet and see for yourself what's had you down, and sick, and depressed and anxious and then...

give him the boot!
It's HIGH time SATAN, that you know you're not welcome here anymore!

Jesus is the Lord over my life and I've been empowered by Him

to cast you out in HIS name!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Life Sentence

I don't think I'll get an argument from anyone that we aren't living in "troubled times". Whats that you say? That it's all about money and that rich people have it made...That must be why celebrities are so happy then, they're rich and famous! I felt so badly today when I heard about Patrick Swayze's death. And while of course I don't know him personally, the few times I've seen him and his wife Lisa together on television I could see how much in love they appeared to be.
Photo credit Alan Light
I live pretty far off of the beaten track, my yard is a community of animals! Dogs, cats, chickens, and a few others that are thankfully only visitors like the skunks. Among all of those animals I have my favorites. I have a kitten who gives me such enjoyment to watch him play that he's found favor in my eye's.

I feed him before I feed any of the others, I let him in the house, I look after his needs especially among all of the others.
Yesterday, one of my other cats gave birth to three kittens and it appears as though she has abandoned them. I feel badly about their inevitable death but at the same time I can't justify an intervention on my part because I already have too many cats to feed. I guess that may seem cold hearted, but I just really can't take on that commitment.

I also have a chicken that likes to jump up onto the window sill by where I write and boldly ask me for food in her own way. To me, there's something about any created thing that has the courage to overcome it's fears and stand up in a world it has very little understanding of to earnestly seek the fulfillment of it's individual needs. I'm compelled to feed her simply because she's come to the right place and has asked me...I'll most generally feed that chicken whenever she does.
I don't know what if anything all of these stories have in common. I wondered if maybe they were some kind of parable explaining our lives or how God looks at us. Perhaps this, that death truly is the great equalizer, and life is for those who truly live it, for those who will ask for what they need or want from whomever or whatever they feel is able to provide it.
All of us are here under a sentence, unfortunately its not a life sentence. I hate to spoil all of the cute animal stories and celebrity news but I've got bills to pay. Did you know that the wages of sin is still death? And that all of mankind is under the curse of that death sentence because of our sin?
Whoa,whoa, whoa, right there Alton...Easy killer, you kind of hit me over the head with that! I mean, one minute I'm sittin here reading your blog about your pets and that dirty dancin guy n' the next minute you're telling me that I'm cursed and that I'm gonna die...I suppose next you'll also tell me that after I die, I'm going to go to...that place! won't you?
I mean, what about all of that "God is love" stuff ?
You know, that's what I don't get about the whole "God thing", He puts us here in this world and tells us how much He loves us, but what does it get us? sometimes it gets us abandoned to die like those kittens! Or we end up feeling that we're not Gods favorite because otherwise He would've blessed us like He does others. This is a tough world that's full of hurt and pain! And God has His nose all out of joint because we're "sinners" give me a break...
Who does He think He is? oh, that's right He is God. Okay, wait a minute...So what your tryin' to tell me is that just because He created everything in the whole universe, that He has the right to make all of the rules for everybody? I understand that He's God and all but why can't He just make a place for all of His children and a different place for everyone else where they don't have to follow His rules? Yeah, I do remember we sort of covered that already...that's the other place, that by refusing to choose what Christ did on the cross as being "for me personally and my sin's" that people will go to on account of the wages of our sin still having to be paid by someone. Hmmm, It's starting to make more sense to me but I read it in the Bible where it says that God is no "respecter of persons", but it's kind of like that cat story you told, doesn't God play favorites? I mean we all know that the Jewish people are "His People" It's almost like it's not a level playing field or like the rest of us don't have the same opportunity to be blessed because they're always up in the window gettin' fed just like that chicken, So He's a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him? I guess that makes sense too, Kinda like that kitten...you chose him because he was joyfully blessed by what you had already provided for him instead of just hanging around waiting on the next meal to be provided like the rest.
He's a Holy Sovereign God, whose judgments are just and whose thoughts and ways are higher than ours. He has a personality and feelings, and He responds to people who reach out to Him in pain because He first reached out to each of us through the unthinkable sacrifice of His own Son here in this brutal and barbaric world so that you and I might have a hope of an eternity other than the "unthinkable" one we would be facing otherwise. Would you be so bound by our enemy here in this world and by your pride, your "intellect", or by fear that you wouldn't accept His offer of salvation? The ramifications of this one choice will echo in your mind through eternity weather it's yea,or nay! You had the opportunity to respond either way, to choose a death sentence...OR
A Life Sentence...(need a minute?)

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Jesus' Name

Who hasn't called out Jesus' name in the midst of some threatening circumstance? I've heard people who by their own admission weren't believers let it slip when they were frightened or startled. I've also noticed it's His name that people most commonly use to announce their frustrations over someone or something they feel disgusted towards...as if to say "Lord, please deliver me from the vexation of this"


People trade on His name and spend it like a currency to convey the justness and importance of their petitions to others or to make a dramatic point. I've seen it used manipulatively at times to engage the emotions or conscience like a "hotline" to peoples' hearts. In that moment, nobody denies it's effect or challenges it's power even if they openly doubt His existence. why is that?

I think that it's because on some deep level of our consciousness there's an acute awareness of exactly who Jesus is and just how powerful His name is!

James 2:19

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

I'm pretty sure I've felt that trembling inside of me before!

I'm not advocating taking the Lords name in vain, quite the contrary. What I am saying is that we should use the authority it holds for exactly what it was intended because of all that Jesus did to give us that power and authority over sin, sickness and death!

"In His Name"...

John 15:16

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Luke 9

1Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

2And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.


What might happen if more Christians were to approach their own circumstances and those of others wielding His name with the same boldness and authority as the apostles did. Not vainly, but with the same familiar sincerity some unbelievers seem to have. If we could, after hearing of some needful or hopelessly unfortunate situation pause for a moment of reflection, and then feeling no hesitation or doubt, place the matter in Gods hands by praying over it in Jesus' name!

I'd love to find out!

Of course many of us do some or all of those things already. We'll claim the blood and the authority given us through Christ Jesus faster than some can say,

"No thank you, I really don't believe in all of that hoo-doo mumbo-jumbo"!

I think too many Christians are scared to step out and claim the authority we have as heirs of Christ. It's not something that's taught in a lot of church's, maybe because most Christians are too spiritually immature and they're afraid that if they do they'll end up with a "wildfire" on their hands of people doing all sorts of off the wall stuff "In Jesus' Name'...

Better a wildfire than no fire.

2 Timothy 3:5

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

There's great power in Jesus' name! As Christians we all have a responsibility to understand that and to respect the power of His name and definitely not take it in vain! I also feel as though it's a privilege to share Christ with people and to act as His ambassador to "whosoever" will listen to me. As it was with the disciples, I don't feel as though our primary mandate is to perform miracles of healing but instead to preach the kingdom of God. Neither do I feel that the time of miracles is past or that we shouldn't always pray for peoples' healings and deliverance's. It was clear to Jesus that He couldn't perform any miracles in Nazareth because of the doubt of the people there which supports the idea of our primary function being to "free the captives" of sin first. When we pray in Jesus' name, we're asking for His will to be done in the people or circumstances we're praying for. But The Lord isn't going to violate anybodies freewill either! That's The commission, to show people the grace and love that's not only being offered to them by God for eternity, but that's all around us everyday. To tell people of Gods great desire for them to come to know Him! While we're doing this, we're called to lay hands on the sick and see them healed, and to not hesitate to take authority over demons wherever we find them, all of these things we're called to do...

In Jesus' Name!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When I Pray

In the mid nineties a book was published entitled "Conversations With God". I thought the title was interesting and I heard great things about it so I bought it. And although I wouldn't recommend the book for various reasons heretical piece of trash I'm still intrigued by it's title. Having a conversation with God sounds so much more casual that prayer, and for many "too busy" people it's a good fit. It's our inner dialogue when we're asking for direction in our lives or when we need answers. It can be us turning to God in sudden desperation and knowing that He's there. Prayer is a conversation with God, one in which we do most of the talking... although I have heard His voice speak to me before but that's a whole other story. I've read in other places that prayer is the lifting up of our desires to God and hoping that they match His, and I can see the truth of that. To many, prayer most commonly happens in what we think of as being the traditional way, In a church or in a private place, heads bowed and on their knee's. How we choose to relate to God is a personal thing to each of us, but regardless of how it happens we're called to...
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

So what is prayer and how can we do it without ceasing?
Isn't it all of those things I mentioned and so much more?
Proverbs 3:6
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
As Christians, It's at the heart of what it means to have a relationship with Christ. It's the acknowledgment of our brokenness and of what Christ's death on the cross means to us. It's how we are to live our lives in His presence, abiding in Him and He in us. When people ask me if God is real, or how do I know He loves me I often tell them "Why don't you just ask Him?"... "Start a conversation with Him and see where it goes!"
Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
We can pray in the Spirit, speak in tongues, or with the tongues of man and of angel's. Prophesy in His name, cast out demons or call Him Lord, Lord! We can worship on Sunday, or Thursday, or even on alternating Tuesdays...

But it's only what's in our hearts that matters to God!
I've written this to myself and maybe to other people who may feel somewhat discouraged at times about their prayer life. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of the people and things that really need to be prayed over in my life. At one point I was carrying a note pad in my back pocket to write down my prayer requests. I stopped because it was a "hassle"...oh boy, I have no defence for that! I know that our enemy is clever, and that he's always looking to lay down some ground work so that at some point we might think,
" How could you NOT carry a note pad around in your pocket, don't you care? You're a "bad Christian" lol...or this one, "I'm just no good at this, I can't pray like so and so, it's so beautiful when they pray!", This goes for bible reading as well, "I just fall asleep when I try to pray at night, whats the use?"
Prayer is an expression of the heart... We can use it to praise God! We can use it to lift up others into the presence of God, or to tell God the details of whats going on with us and to ask how we can bring our lives more into line with His will. I think whats critical is that we talk to God about whats most important to each of us, whatever that might be! That we do acknowledge Him in all of our ways and seek His council as to our lives. I've "prayed" in cars, and I've prayed for cars! I've whispered a quiet word and I've screamed at the top of my lungs! Most of the time I wake up and drift off to sleep in "prayer" thinking about how to live in Gods purpose more fully,or how to know him more intimately and serve Him more effectively. I know that if I had only "prayed" in one way I would've never been able to "pray without ceasing." I don't think that God wants us to view prayer as a task that we must perform, or as an empty ritual thats done solely for the approval of others who may see or hear us. I don't think He's impressed with anybodies great oratorical skills or commanding "King James Version" vocabulary. My problem is that I tend to become "religious" about prayer and that mostly has the effect of taking all of the fun out of it. What gives our prayers "umpfh" is the faith that's behind them. I like to think of faith as being a conduit between us and God through which all bussiness is done.
Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.