Unprecedented Days

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I’m excited to announce that this new book will be released December 1, 2018.

Unprecedented Days: 90 Days of Fire is a book that will transform your Christianity to a full pursuit of Christ and life beyond the veil. The profound insights of this book are combined with quotes from others who pave the journey of spiritual awakening. Everyday fuel the fire of your passion with a fresh word of encouragement and revelation. Whether the words are challenging or up lifting, they will add depth and riches in your spiritual journey.

Pre-Sales of the book will be available soon. Be looking for the online order options and book release party information.

Special thanks to Mt. Zion Ridge Press for publishing this book!

 

Just Relax

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers–most of which are never even seen–don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Matthew 6:30-33, The Message

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a stressful situation and wondered how you got there? Even worse–worried about how you were going to get out? Maybe there was a time when your young child was stressed out and as the parent you realized the situation would quickly change and there was no need for the drama.

I love how The Message Bible phrases Jesus’ words here: What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax. We have a saying we use frequently: Just Drink. In other words–just chill. Just relax and have a big drink of God’s River of Living Water. Living Water will change your stress into joy! Like the parent above, we comfort the child and say, just relax; it’s going to be okay.

After all, stress and anxiety stem from our need to get something. We are stressed about someone not meeting our expectations. We are stressed because we spent more than our income. We are anxious over what the doctor might say. These are all things we are receiving or not receiving that cause stress. We worry about what we are getting.

Why not turn loose of the worry about getting and have joy in giving? Jesus wants us to stop worrying about our getting and be occupied with God’s giving. What is God trying to get into my life? What do I need to turn loose of in order to receive what God is giving? God’s giving is sow and you reap; give and it will be given. If you find yourself stressed about the doctor’s report, go and sow joy into someone else. If you find yourself battling loneliness, go and be a friend to another. Anxious about your finances–give an offering.

A while back I did an illustration with an apple. We know when eating an apple we do not eat the seeds of the apple. When we cut the apple, we immediately find the seeds and remove them so they are not eaten. Our income is the same. When God gives–we look for the seed. When our receiving becomes a giving, we move from worry about what we are getting to joy in God’s giving.

God has your everyday human concerns handled. This reminds me of someone going into work to do a job they have not been assigned to do. It’s like someone that is a bookkeeper trying to do the janitor’s job. The bookkeeper can be stressed out and anxious about the cobwebs in the building, but they are worried about something outside of their responsibilities. The boss in this organization would remind the bookkeeper that they are concerned about something that they have no control over. We often try to do God’s job when we have no control over Him or His responsibilities. He says our job is to seek first His Kingdom. The rest is up to Him.

Are you worried and anxious because you want something that God is not giving? Are you driven by a need to get and God is trying to give something greater? Maybe you are anxious about what God is giving and you would rather hang on to what you already have.

The more you saturate, or as The Message says, steep, your life in God, the more you walk in His reality, His provision, His vision. It is easier to trust Him when your life is full of Him. It is less stressful when God is the center focus–not the fear over what you are getting or not getting in this life. God has clothed the wildflowers of the field in splendor; He will certainly take care of me! Just relax! He’s got you covered!

 

Regeneration

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 3:3, NKJV

This is a word we do not commonly hear these days. Regeneration is defined as being reborn or formed again. Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains regeneration as follows:

This word literally means a “new birth.” The Greek word so rendered (palingenesia) is used by classical writers with reference to the changes produced by the return of spring. In Matthew 19:28 the word is equivalent to the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21). It denotes that change of heart elsewhere spoken of as a passing from death to life; becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus; being born again; a renewal of the mind; a resurrection from the dead; a being quickened. This change is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God. As to the nature of the change, it consists in the implanting of a new principle or disposition in the soul; the impartation of spiritual life to those who are by nature “dead in trespasses and sins.” The necessity of such a change is emphatically affirmed in Scripture.

Here in John 3, Jesus describes regeneration as being born again. The instruction to Nicodemus was not something that could be accomplished through his efforts in studying the law or through good works. Nicodemus could not be regenerated by being in a dignified, prestigious religious office. Regeneration occurs only as a work of the Spirit of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:6, NKJV)

This is the life of God at work in the soul of man. As we repent, we are made new. Redemption’s effect is this work of regeneration. This is more than turning over a new leaf or endeavoring to be a better you. Regeneration is a complete overhaul of what was. What was once dead is now alive. The sin that was once acceptable is now detestable. The enjoyment of divine things surpasses the hobbies and interests of this life. That which is godly and honorable are now delightful and pleasing attributes.

The sin that held your conscience captive for so long is erased and the skeletons in the closet of your mind are removed. The Spirit of God transforms you finally and forever. His work is complete and permanent.

Regeneration makes Christ and His work appealing and attractive. Nicodemus was a ruler in the church, and should not be associated with Jesus’ ministry. Regeneration changed His life and changed His desires. The same man who should not associate with Christ was found burying Him after the crucifixion. He brought 100 pounds of myrrh and aloes to anoint the dead body of Jesus and prepare Him for burial. What changed in Nicodemus? What made him go from a man that sought Christ in the secrecy and cover of the night hour to one who would publicly remove the body of Jesus from the cross and care for the mutilated remains? Regeneration! The words of Jesus echoed clearly that day as Nicodemus anointed that precious body for burial. Nicodemus, unless a man is born again. Nicodemus, I am the resurrection and the life. As you anoint my body for burial, this body will not remain in the grave. Just as those who come to me, they will be born again. Though they may appear to be dead, I will make them live!

It is time to allow the anointing of Christ to come upon you that you may live. The regenerating power of God can flow through your life and make you come alive—really alive. Christ is the King who makes all things new. If He can regenerate the lost person, He can certainly quicken you. If you are saddened or discouraged, His anointing power can awaken you. The one who came out of the tomb can bring breakthrough in your life. Like Nicodemus, go to Him at the cross and let the power of Gethsemane’s hill flow into you. Run quickly with Nicodemus to the garden tomb where Christ’s body was laid, and see the resurrection life that can flow into you. Behold Christ today and He will bring life into your weary world!

 

Revive Me

Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
Psalm 143:11

Life is filled with trouble. The word used by David for trouble means distress or trouble; sorrow, pain, anguish. David faced the troubles of life. His leader turned on him and tried to kill him. People he trusted left him. His own family tried to defame him. Sin always invites distress. The consequences of sin are sure to find us out–whether by our own sin, the sin of others, or the sin of this world. Sin will always come around and bite us. The words of the snake may be enticing, but they are filled with venom.

If you have suffered the effects of sin, this verse offers hope: Revive Me! David was asking God to sustain his life; to quicken his life in order that he may live. At times the effects of sin may weary you to the point of depression and a desire to no longer live. The effects of sin may take away your strength, your ambition or zeal. But in the midst of his agony, David cried to the Lord for life! This is supernatural life. It is the God-kind of life given by the work of His presence. It’s the life of God in the soul man. Romans 8:11 tells us that the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead will quicken us.

Is the Spirit of God living in you? Have you become the temple of the Holy Spirit. If He has taken up residence within you, you have the same person that brought the crucified Christ out of His grave. The same Spirit that quickened Lazarus is in you. The same Spirit that raised the widow’s son is in you. The same Spirit that raised the Shunammite’s son is living in you. And if He is in you, He can revive you to new life.

God will work this miracle in you based not on your merit, but according to His name. David said, “for your name’s sake!” Translated from Hebrew, David is saying, “according to or for the purpose of your reputation or glory” quicken or revive me. It is the desire of God to revive you, not by the works of your own righteousness that is like dirty laundry, but according to His righteousness and fame which is perfect and holy. His motive in reviving you is pure, without manipulation or ulterior motives. He is not demanding a hidden agreement; there is no fine print to read. God desires that you be revived according to his righteousness for His own glory.

What a divine picture! God desires you to be quickened and full of life that His glory might be put on display for others to see. You are a living epistle. You are God’s masterpiece. He has displayed you for the world to see His work in you. You are incapable of reviving yourself. No person when they are dying are able to administer resuscitation on themselves. We must have the hand of God massage our heart to life and breathe life into our nostrils.

Lord, revive me! I do not know what others may decide. I do not know how others may respond to my new life. All I know is that I am dying without you. For your glory and my enjoyment, will you come?! The same Spirit that regenerated me at salvation can renew the joy of my salvation. The same Spirit that made me alive to Christ, can sustain and quicken this divine life I am living. Have the troubles of life got you down? Christ can raise you up and quicken you to new life!

Night of Hope

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God
Acts 16:25, NKJV

Can you imagine being beaten and imprisoned for no crime other than being used of God to set a demon possessed person free? Paul and Silas were completely innocent of a crime, but completely guilty of loving the hurting and the broken.

Three years ago, our church launched an outreach called Night of Hope. We were asking God to give us a vision to reach our community in a unique way. Much like Paul and Silas, this ministry has come to people often at their darkest hour. We have the privilege of loving those who feel as though they are in bondage or are broken by life’s hang ups and hurts.

For three years we have given away groceries, hot meals, haircuts, spa treatments, medical screenings, chiropractor adjustments, vaccinations, resources and community assistance. Nearly 100,000 meals have been served. But beyond the tangible ministry, the Gospel has been preached and demonstrated. We have walked with families through death, drug addiction, financial hardship, and salvation.

What had become the midnight hour for Paul and Silas came as the result of bringing the radiance of the Son into a darkened life. Here was a woman bound to her masters and bound to a demon. The fortune telling woman encountered God. In one moment, the brightness of God’s glory invaded her life and liberated her from bondage. It was that miracle that brought Paul and Silas to the prison. But at midnight—in their darkness—they were able to sing out songs of praise because they trusted in God. They had seen His power liberate the demoniac, and they knew that His same power could liberate them from their prison walls.

Are you afflicted today in bondage and brokenness? Has hardship overcome you in this life? Have you seen the spiritual condition in which you lay helpless? The light of God’s glory can liberate you from all oppression! Are you a friend of God discouraged by circumstance? Have you come into a dark place because of your good works? Do you, like Lazarus, feel you have given all for your friend Jesus, and yet He has allowed you to die? Be encouraged! Jesus is on His way to your tomb. Be edified! The resurrection life that liberated the demoniac has come to liberate you.

You can look at your night and say this is a place of hope. Others may have prospered from this woman’s fortune telling, but what had been sown in darkness would now be reaped in everlasting life. God took her out of her night, and brought her into His marvelous light that she might proclaim His wonderful works. God delivered Paul and Silas out of their night and into the light of His joy.

God brought hope to Paul and Silas, and He brought hope to the prison jailer. In the midst of Paul and Silas’s night of beating, torment, and imprisonment God used them to bring salvation to the jailer and his family. In just a matter of hours they witnessed the power of God set the demoniac free, save the jailer, and save the jailer’s family. God delivered the tormented, the tortured, and the trembling persons. He brought hope in the midst of hardship. He will do the same for you! Today might be your Night of Hope!

One Desire Above All

One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord.
Psalm 27:4, NKJV

Our lives have the tendency to be filled with so many things: family, relationships, career, finances, health. Many times, most of us could spend hours talking about the many things happening in our lives.

Here we find David declaring out his single focus and single passion—God I need you more than anything. Not that David was always perfected in His focus, but when he was distracted, he was quick to repent and return to this one desire.

We are all born with desire. Babies from birth want to be held and nurtured by their mother and cry for this affection. Babies communicate their desire for food when they are hungry. Desire still motivates us to action as we get older. We see and experience things in life that are pleasing and pleasurable and thus desires are formed.

How are spiritual desires formed and fed? David answers this in Psalms 27 also. The fulfillment of the desire of His heart also feeds the desire from which it springs forth: I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord. Observing God in His house and gazing upon His beauty ignites a desire for more of Him.

Observing God in His house is to enjoy His presence in your private times of prayer and worship. Seeing and savoring His sweetness happens as you see Him move among your spiritual family in church or small groups. Delighting in God can be done as you see Him revealed in Scripture. Observe Him in His splendor in the avenues by which He reveals Himself and you will desire to see Him more.

Gazing upon the beauty of the Lord will leave you in awe and wonder. Like Jeremiah, you will say, There is none like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might(Jeremiah 10:6, ESV).

Have you been awakened to the Lord’s beauty? Like David, is your heart beating with a single desire to know Him passionately and intimately? If not, let this be your goal before God: to observe Him in His sanctuary. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Like Moses, be bold enough to ask God to show you His glory. God never disappoints, and one moment of revelation will change your life—it will change your desires. Like David, be quick to repent and return to your first love.

As you see Him, allow desire for Him to rise and continue. Do not be like to foolish virgins that are lulled to sleep when the Master is calling. The world and your carnal nature will tell you that desiring God is emotionalism, irrational, or radical. The writers of the Bible will tell you another story. The Holy Spirit will reveal something greater. Allow your passion for God to grow. Deepen your desire for more of Him!

 

 

 

For Such a Time

Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for sucha time as this?
Esther 4:14, NKJV

How wonderful is the call of God on our lives! He brings us out of our orphaned state, adopts us as His children, and makes us His instruments of praise. Esther’s story is a great example of the life-transforming work of God. She became the instrument of praise to declare the salvation of God for her people.

Have you considered lately the work of God in you? He has awakened you to His love. He has immersed you into His presence. He has purified you and washed the stench of sin from you. God has anointed you with His fragrant oils, and placed within your mouth a new song of joy. He has brought you to the Kingdom for such a time as this! Alexander MacLaren expounds on this verse from Esther here:

Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? There speaks the devout statesman, the court-experienced believer. He has seen favourites tended and tossed aside, viziers powerful and beheaded, kings half deified and deserted in their utmost need. Sitting at the gate there, he has seen generations of Hamans go out and in; he has seen the craft, the cruelty, the lusts which have been the apparent causes of the puppets’ rise and fall, and he has looked beyond it all and believed in a Hand that pulled the wires, in a King of Kings who raiseth up one and setteth down another. So he believes that his Esther has come to the kingdom by God’s appointment, to do God’s work at God’s time. And these convictions keep him calm and stir her.

 No man receives the Gospel for his own sake. We are not non-conductors, but stand all linked hand in hand. We are members of the body that the blood may flow freely through us. For no loftier reason did God light the candle than that it might give light. We are beacons kindled to transmit, till every sister light flashes back the ray.

Now is the time for you to arise and radiate the glory of the Lord. His message is redemption and His plan is salvation. He is baptizing people in the Holy Spirit. He is breaking bondages and cleansing the captives. God has positioned you, given you power, and filled your mouth with praise. Now is the time to release the sound. Now is the time to minister to the broken. Now is the time to freely give as you have freely received.

Do you lack assurance in His assignment? Do you lack confidence in His commission? Have you felt that you are incapable to minister to the broken? What timidity keeps you from speaking to the hurting? Be reminded of how God has orchestrated your steps, redeemed you from the pit, washed you from faithlessness, and immersed you in the boldness of His Spirit. Let your light shine so that all men might see your Father’s radiance. You have come to the Kingdom and now you have been made an ambassador of the King.

I’m in Need of Him Alone

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God
Psalm 42:2, NKJV

Charles Price in his book The Real Faithtells the story of a cripple man who was continually brought into the services for healing. Many times, Price and others spent much time praying for the man. Days went by and there was no sign of healing.

One afternoon they wheeled him to a corner in the building. He asked the people to leave the two of us alone, and then said something that has lingered in the chambers of my memory. “What a failure I am,” he declared. “I came here strong in what I thought was my faith in the Lord. As I look deeply into my heart I find something about which I wish to confess. What a poor, miserable failure I have been. I have been spiritually proud of the fact that people have pointed to me as a man who suffered without complaining. They pointed me out as the man who never grumbled, although he had a cross to bear. I grew proud of my reputation and I can see now that what I termed my goodness has been self-righteousness in the sight of my Lord.”

“Dr. Price,” he said, “I don’t need healing half as much as I need Jesus. I am so hungry for His presence. More than anything else in my life, I want to know Him better, and I am content to spend my days in this chair if only He will flood this self-righteous heart of mine with His peace and love.”

Dr. Price describes how he watched the cripple man in the wheel chair disappear around the corner of the building after that conversation. A few days later this man came back to the church for the evening service. He described to Dr. Price how Jesus had met him the night before. He spent the night in prayer and praise and worship. He described how the fog had lifted from his heart and mind and he became conscious of an infusion of Life Divine.

“Why does this man have to wait until tonight?” “He does not,” I replied. “The Great Physician is here now. Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” A moment later it was over. Out of his wheel chair arose that man. He ran and jumped and praised the Lord for his deliverance.

Our God is the Great Physician and He desires to heal. Just as much as He is our healer, He is our creator. If you were to be admitted to Heaven’s triage, the first condition of healing to apply would be that of your heart. What offense lingers there or spiritual pride? Oh, the cancer of your heart that must be cleansed for the life of God to flow into every spiritual extremity. Jesus wants to heal every brokenness and of great importance is that your inner man be made whole.

Do you desire to be healed only in the external, or is there a desperation for utter deliverance–spirit, soul and body? Let the sickness of vanity and pride be cleansed and love-sickness for your first love return. Let your inner man be restored from its blockages that it may be moved with compassion for the lost. Cleanse your soul from every hinderance that the rivers of life may flow freely from within. The Healer is able to heal your physical body, but He also has great concern for your spirit man and soul. May the cry of your heart be:I don’t need healing half as much as I need Jesus. I am so hungry for His presence.

It’s Easy to Receive

Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3, NKJV

What is it that you need from the Lord; is it direction for your path? Do you need divine healing, divine providence, divine wisdom? Where you lack, He can supply. There is a bountiful, surpassing overflow of perfect gifts available to you in Christ.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17, ESV).

We can come to our Father knowing He will not give us a stone instead of bread (Matt 7:9). He has gracious and wonderful gifts to bestow upon His children who will come in faith. He is the Reward and Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him in faith (Heb 11:6). Our Heavenly Father is neither changed by circumstance or diminished by need. With Him there is no variation or shadow due to change. He is always at His zenith. The brightness of His glory is always brightly radiant and continually flowing forth like a perpetual spring of water that neither ends nor is quenched.

Have you become as a humble child with the persuasion of your Father’s love? Might we not receive at times from Him because we withhold ourselves in timidity before Him? Does sickness linger in your body because you understand Him to be a loving Father, but have yet to come to Him in faithful assurance that you might receive of the Father’s love which is continually pouring out in crashing tides that might catch you away like an ocean’s billowing waves.

Healing is not dependent upon the development of a perfect faith by any process of self, but rather contact with Jesus (Charles Price).

You may humble yourself before Him and request the faith to embrace Him. Like the woman with the issue of blood who had heard of Christ’s power, you may come trembling and unclean into the crowd, and leave completely whole as you make contact with Him through faith. He is willing that you come to Him, and He desires that you come to Him. It is through simple childlike faith that you obtain Him and the precious promises He has made available to you. It requires no striving or power of the mind to obtain. The promises of His blessing are not spells that can be chanted until some magic occurs. His Word concerning you is His promise—His declaration concerning you. If He has spoken a word of healing in His Word for you, then healing can be received. If He has spoken a word of salvation in His Word for you, then salvation can be received. Ask the author of His Word to reveal His promise in it concerning you, and may the Revealer of this Word impart the faith to obtain all that He has spoken.

With childlike humility we may receive the faith which receives the reward and the Rewarder. Like the child in Matthew 18, Christ is positioning you in the place to receive all He has spoken. Today is your day to receive!

Vulnerability

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship
Acts 2:42, NKJV

Webster describes the origin of the word vulnerable as originating from the Latin noun vulnus or wound. Vulnus led to the Latin verb vulnerare, meaning to wound, and then to the Late Latin adjective vulnerabilis, which became vulnerable in English in the early 1600’s. Vulnerable originally meant capable of being physically wounded or having the power to wound (the latter is now obsolete), but since the late 1600’s, it has also been used figuratively to suggest a defenselessness against non-physical attacks. In other words, someone (or something) can be vulnerable to criticism or failure as well as to literal wounding.

The word denotes a sense of letting down one’s guard or defenses—becoming open and receptive. Vulnerability is a key in community. To have true community and fellowship, it requires those in the community to let down their guard and become transparent and open. Figuratively, it is not merely allowing others to look at your yard through the privacy fence; it is actually removing the fence altogether and allowing others into your space.

The Bible uses a Greek word Koinonia to help paint this picture. It means fellowship, intimacy, joint participation or camaraderie. It is the sharing of mutual risk and mutual benefit. In Christ’s community this is expressed in the joining of many backgrounds, diversities, and experiences into one Body with Christ as the head.

I used to run a communal living discipleship home for men. In this sense of community, everyone shared not only space and housing, but our lives. If someone in the house was having a bad day, everyone noticed. If there was a success, we all rejoiced. Challenges were faced collectively, not just individually. This environment demanded vulnerability.

Our community in Christ demands vulnerability. When God is convicting and challenging you, community requires vulnerability to share this conviction with others. As James says, confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed (James 5:16). Community requires outdoing one another with love and honor (Romans 12:10). This means you intentionally are looking for ways to bless one another. Vulnerability means that you first walk in forgiveness with your community before you offer your worship (Matt 18). There are nearly 60 commands in Scripture that begin with “one another.” Vulnerability requires walking in community with others.

Ask God to help you let down the walls of fear and pride and become vulnerable within your community. There is no command in scripture that you must score 100% on an entrance exam for Christ’s community. Consider those who followed Jesus: drunks, murderers, thieves, prostitutes, business people, religious people. Come as you are into His community. Let down the walls with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. See what power flows in community as it did in the New Testament church.

The words in this verse “continued steadfastly” means to be preserved in; kept from spoiling; or maintain for future use. There is a direct link between your involvement in Christ’s community and your spiritual preservation. The moment you disconnect from divine fellowship within the Body of Christ, you begin to spoil. At this point some may offer excuses such has offense, hurt, wrongful actions by church leadership, and the like. While unfortunate things happen within the Church, the Church is God’s plan for your spiritual life and fellowship. Walking through these difficulties perfects you and shapes you as you humble yourself before God and remain vulnerable in community.

Today is a new day to walk in community with vulnerability. Take the small step of opening up to someone about what God is doing in your life. Share a Scripture that has been meaningful to you. Pray for one another. Look for way to bless others in your community. You might be surprised at the power of God that flows into your life through community!