Saturday, October 31, 2009

Heaven:Return to Forever

Heaven will bring ultimate rewards

Matthew 25:31-36

The Sheep and the Goats 31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Matthew 25:40-43
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

Matthew 25:45-46
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

So what is the point of this passage?

It appears that we will be judged on the interactions that we have here on earth...there is a qualitative difference which appears to be applied. The sheep are the good guys and the goats...are well the goats.

The difference is how we have treated the least of these brothers..."'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Sheep are engaged in support of the whole of the brothers...and goats are concerned only with themselves.

There are rewards that will be given out at the judgement seat of Christ. Rewards for those who have engaged in the activity of helping the brothers and then judgement for those who have not.

This has connection with the whole conversation between works vs. faith...the major idea and is the ultimate place where we will find out if we got it right. Our faith...should motivate us to help those who are in need...the least of these brothers. It is the expression of what is happening within...

The qualitative distinction between sheep and goats rest on relationship and on the expression of that internal relationship.

John 10

7Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.

Grace experienced needs to be grace express through us. So do we only help the household of faith?

Hard almost brings us back full circle to Cain and Able. Am I my brother's keeper? the implication is that we are indeed our brother's keeper...that the family is extensive...not just those who have made a decision to follow Christ but also those who may in the future make that decision...

In so many ways heaven and eternity is a return to Eden to the garden where God walked with man...where there was meaningful work to be done... and yet an Eden where innocence is re-established.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Heaven:What do we know for sure...what do we not know?

I have had some thoughts lately on heaven, what does the Chistian faith teach...what do we not know...

Heaven is a place where wrongs will be righted.

Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

The things that make us mourn will be gone. Death and pain with be a thing of the past.

Does that mean that we will not have anything that we care about enough to cry? No we will care very much? But those things will be in the past in a way that we can't really understand right now. The hurts of the past will not impact the reality of our life in heaven.

No more pain...when you think about that simple statement alone it is mind boggleing. On earth in 2009, pain fulfills a needed purpose. Pain tells us that something is not right...that we are either hurting or in danger and must take action. In heaven there will no longer be a need for pain. We will be safe in a way that pain will not be needed.

What will that be like? How we will feel about the past? How can we ever experience a place where the past will not bear on the present? A place where we are safe enough that the safeguard of pain will not be needed?

All of them good questions that just wait for heaven's gates to be answered. I know that for the time being I need to have a level of faith and just plain trust in a loving God that he will be able...more than able to create a place that is a place of fundamental healing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Κύριος Notes :A Price Paid


Once Again
And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Scripture Reflection: Luke 23

26As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

I wonder what the thoughts were of Simon as he followed You up that hill outside of the city. Was he aware of who You were Lord? Did he understand why You were dieing? Did anyone on that day understand what was happening Lord? You were all alone walking, stumbling ahead of Simeon, too weak from what you had already be through to carry your own cross.

27A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' 30Then " 'they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!" ' 31For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

Were you thinking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem with this generation? Could be...were you thinking of the end of things that is yet to be...not sure. It is clear that Your death has carried a cost...a cost for you...a cost for the Father...a cost of rejection.

Thank you Jesus for the price that you paid for my redemption.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Κύριος Notes :Politics Power and Accountability


Once Again
Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing, poured out to death
Many times I've wondered at Your gift of life
And I'm in that place once again
I'm in that place once again
And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Scripture Reflection: Luke 23
12That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

Politics makes for strange friendships. When I think of the present American political environment I realize that politics have not changed much in 2000 years. Still there is the push to make or find middle ground. I wonder how much Christians have sacrificed in search for a voice in the political process.

13Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16Therefore, I will punish him and then release him."

Pilate could see that You were being set up. He was even willing to be involved to a point...punishing you within an inch of Your life. But he did not want to agree with Your murder at the hands of these men.

Pilate the one who regularly would condemn innocents as an example of Roman power and for the rule of terror when needed, did not want to be involved in your death. Lord Jesus, I think of Pilate when I think of political power without courage and without accountability for exercise. There is a need for courage that You frequent call for from with me. I wonder if I am not sometimes like Pilate aware of the truth and yet frozen by my surroundings into following where I need not go.

18With one voice they cried out, "Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!" 19(Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)
20Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
22For the third time he spoke to them: "Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him."
23But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

I think of that crowd and the power that they could have had for justice...many of these same people were there while you were teaching in the temple courts. Many may have seen miracles happen before their eyes and yet the cries came from their mouth's to crucify. I wonder if the high priest's servant was in that crowd and I wonder if his ear burned when he thought of how recently he had felt your healing touch. Did the words stick in his throat?

I always would like to push away from these events and some how believe that I am qualitatively different than the people that sent You to Your death Lord Jesus. The reality is that I am not...I walk away from this encounter realizing that I am not different...I am not better...I an just saved by your grace. Nothing more.

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Κύριος Notes :Night in the Heart of Herod


Thank You for this time Lord Jesus
To listen and to hear Your quiet Voice.
Have control over this time and in this place Lord Jesus.

Scripture Reflection: Luke 23
8When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. 9He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.

Lord Jesus--You were a curiosity to Herod. He wanted to see tricks with fish and bread or walking on water...or blind men healed before his eyes. Something verifiable for the record books...something that a calloused and seasoned political infighter could believe in...Herod Antipas was looking for something more than power, more than money or success.

John intrigued him and You mystified him. Ultimately he was a second rate king in client nation of Roman who inherited his power and wealth. He ended up being exiled to Gaul with his second wife and dieing in obscurity by best historical accounts. I wonder if he ever thought of this interview...I wonder if the look in your eyes ever made an impact on his jaundiced and jaded soul.

10The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.

Politics won out over Herod's curiosity. The hatred of the religious elect was enough to make him want to get out of the middle of the situation. Herod was someone who was not willing to be brought into the middle of anything where he would have to make the powers that be upset with him.

Lord Jesus in the middle of this interchange and intrigue there is the thread of the Holy that can be seen. There is a call to the just, there is a need to allow honesty in the middle of trumped up charges. There is the sense of the Father's hand revealing people for who they are.

Lord Jesus as I look at this account again and reflect on the sacrifice that You made, I realize how futile my attempts have been at being authentic are without your power alive within me. You were able at your your most vulnerable to bring out the truth in people of power.

Lord Jesus continue your work in me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Κύριος Notes :Darkness Reigned Over Justice


Justice and Mercy
You've put a new song in my mouth
It is a hymn of praise to You
Jus-tice and mercy are its theme
And I will live it back to You

Scripture Reflection: Luke 23
4Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."

There was a side of Pilate that could see the injustice that was being asked of him. He knew the power blocks in the community in which he he was living. He knew that You had the leadership angry at you.

Justice needs to have courage mixed with it to have any impact.

5But they insisted, "He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here."
6On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

Pilate above all was a political leader and a man who was unable to deal with pressure without worrying about his job. What would have happened if he had been able to stand up for justice in this case? I am sure that these men would have found a way to their end. But how would have that choice have changed Pilate?

Lord Jesus you remind me that choices change me...they form and shape who I am. My choice to follow you each day shapes my life, guards and guides my path.

Help me to follow you and to make the choices that would reflect your glory today.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Κύριος Notes :Darkness Reigned in Roman Hands


Light of the world
King of all days
oh, so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came To the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor
Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,All together wonderful to me

Scripture Reflection: Luke 23
1Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king."

Lord Jesus the charges changed when they had to take you to Caesar's representative. It wasn't blasphemy anymore. It was sedation...rebel rousing and being unwilling to pay taxes to Caesar. They were willing to do whatever it took to make sure you were on that cross.

I wondered what happened to these men who were so sure of themselves at this point in their lives. did they see the temple mount all that was left of Herod's temple? Did they see their children and grandchildren die in the destruction of Jerusalem, or did they tuck tail and run when they saw the Roman legions on the way?

3So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

These men who lead you to Pilate They knew who you claimed to be all along. You were not the kind of Christ that they wanted. The real question I am willing to serve You even when what you ask is out of my control and not what I really want?

Looking at the decision of these men after the fact it is very easy to get comfortable and to miss the point entirely. You always bring me to the point of a decision...a place where I either have to change or twist the point. They did not want to allow for you to be Christ when you would break the sabbath by healing and see tithing as less important then justice.

Am I willing to allow you to break out of the limits that I have imposed on you by my limited view? Am I willing to have you move in my life without restraint? That remains the question.

Light of the World shine on even when it is hard for me to see what is brought to light.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Κύριος Notes :Day Break on a Day when Darkness Reigned


Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness.
Opened my eyes, let me see.
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You
Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me

Scripture Reflection: Luke 22

66At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67"If you are the Christ,
" they said, "tell us."

Beaten and ridiculed by people you could have sent through the gates of hell with one command, you listened to their questions. In the middle of it there was no answer that would lead to acquittal or freedom. You know what it is to be wrongly accused and in the middle of it you did not rebuke them.

Jesus answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."
70They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am."
71Then they said, "Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips."

They did not want to know if You were the Christ except to convict you of blasphemy. They knew their reaction before they even asked the question.

I would like to think that I am different than these men. They accused you without a moments hesitation even as the evidence of your last miracle was dancing around the room on the head of the servant who had his ear cut off. Yet, I know that I am quick to accuse you of not caring, or not watching out for me, or being absent because things are not working out exactly as I would like them to. Forgive me Jesus for so often pointing the finger of accusation at others when I am doing much the same thing.

This was the day break of a day when darkness would reign and evil would appear to triumph over God's plan...but Easter is coming!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Κύριος Notes :Prophecy Demanded


May The Words Of My Mouth
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart
Bless Your name, bless Your name, Jesus
And the deeds of the day and the truth in my ways
Speak of You, speak of You, Jesus
For this is what I'm glad to do
It's time to live a life of love that pleases You
And I will give my all to You
Surrender everything I have and follow You
I'll follow You

Scripture Reflection: Luke 22
63The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?" 65And they said many other insulting things to him.

Lord Jesus, these men may have been some of the crowd that listened and followed your teaching just a few days earlier. They could have been in the temple or on the street when you healed or taught but now were beating the Son of God and were asking for words of prophecy.

These men were mocking, but I wonder if I sometime view prophecy as something that should be on my timetable? Do I demand a word of prophecy from you Lord Jesus?

The spiritual gifts and graces are not at my command nor are they brought out as if they were board games to entertain or amuse. Prophecy and the word of the Lord must be approached not on demand but more as I am waiting for the latest news of that could change my life from the national news outlets, or more to the point...a word from a loved one who has been on a long journey and is bringing me news from the rest of the family.

Lord Jesus teach me the means of grace and how to use them with a heart tuned to hear all that you would have me to hear. Let me never be one who demands prophecy but rather let me be someone who allows and creates the conditions in my life so that when prophecy is communicated I have listening ears.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Κύριος Notes: Denial X3


Yes, I Will
Will I stumble in the darkness?
In my weakness, when I feel afraid
Hear me Jesus, Hear me Jesus, when I call Your name
Oh help me Lord, won't You help me Lord
Please help me Lord
Would you help me Lord
Follow You Jesus, all the way up that hill
Follow You Jesus, all the way up that hill
To the cross where the river runs
Crimson even still, yes I will
Follow You Lord, I will
Bebo Norman

Scripture Reflection:Luke 22

54Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.

Why did Peter follow at a distance? Lord Jesus others ran away and were scattered as you said they would be...But here is Peter wanting to follow but not close enough to get caught. Lord Jesus help me to follow so close that I am right there with you. Peter was close but not close enough.

This was one of those times in Peter's life where he must have looked back on with sincere and utter regret. It would not be the last time that he would look at what he had done and wonder why, how,...was that even me?

55But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."
57But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.

It was a unnamed servant brought Peter to the point of denial. What power this poor, lowly servant girl had on this big fishermen from Galilee a man weathered by the storms on the Sea of Galilee was wither by the voice of a young servant girl in the dark beside the fire.

58A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.
59About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."
60Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.

Lord Jesus, You knew what Peter would go knew when he went through it and you understood his need. You understand my know when I am going to make a mess of it all...and you are there.

Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." 62And he went outside and wept bitterly.

There is regret when I don't measure up Lord...there are tears in the middle of denial. Truth be told Peter and I are not far apart sometimes. I find myself weeping bitter tears of a reality that has been impacted by my inability to just stand my ground to a servant girl.

What did denial teach Peter? That there are lessons to be learned even in denial...That Your love reaches beyond our own inability to follow...That without your intervention in our lives we are not enough to meet the challenge...That hope is in Your work and word for our everyday lives...That you don't leave us in the dark for long.

Lord Jesus help me to live up to these few simple lines in a life that is more complex than it needs to be.

Follow You Jesus, all the way up that hill
Follow You Jesus, all the way up that hill
To the cross where the river runs
Crimson even still, yes I will
Follow You Lord, I will

Κύριος Notes: When Darkness Reigned?

Yes I Will
In the passion of Your sacrifice
I saw the prophecy fulfilled
The Healer of the world, the wounded Christ
I heard You say, come follow me
So I will, yes I will

Follow You Jesus, all the way up that hill
Follow You Jesus, all the way up that hill
To the cross where the river runs
Crimson even still, yes I will
Follow You Lord, I will
Bebo Norman
Scripture Reflection:Luke 22

47While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

Lord Jesus there is sad irony in a kiss being the method of betrayal.

49When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him.

I wonder who it was that cut off the servant of the high priest...something tells me Peter, but it could have been any of them. You had just spoken of sword just a few moments there was confusion. Lord should we strike with our swords? The question was logical...and yet in such contrast to Your message Lord Jesus. In the middle of being arrested You healed the servant of the person who wanted you dead.

52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns."

But this is your hour—when darkness reigns." --Those are haunting words you spoke Lord Jesus...words that were accurate. Good Friday as we call it was really Dark began with a Garden garden arrest when those closest to you failed to pray. The darkness continued with betray at the kiss of a friend, and sword draw in the defense of a gospel of grace... and yet in the middle of it...this last healing...a severed ear replaced. He who has ears to hear let him is clear that few choose to hear your message or see your light on this day.

In the middle of all of this it is so crystal clear that you allowed the accepted the obeyed the call of the Father to the cross...darkness reigned because you allowed it room to on this day. You allowed people to choose to participate in your death.

Lord Jesus it is a mystifies me the depth of your love for me...people just like me were so important to you that you allowed the cross. So you call me to follow you... to take up my cross and to follow you up the hill... to be yours even when the darkness surrounds me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Κύριος Notes: A Prayer Away From Heaven's Strength


His Strength Is Perfect
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength,
But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me;
No great success to show,
No glory on my own,
Yet in my weakness He is there to let me know . . .
His strength is perfect when our strength is gone;
He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in His power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfect
Scripture Reflections: Luke 22
39Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

In the middle of temptation, at times the last thing I think of is prayer Lord Jesus...prayer was the first thing that you thought of in your hour of need. That is a fundamental difference. Lord Jesus don't let me miss the fundamentals in the middle of the complex.

Lord Jesus the prayer that you asked the disciples to pray was not strength during temptation but that the disciples would not fall into if it was a location, and something that can be avoided...reminds me of the prayer that you taught the disciples..."lead us not into temptation."

In this day that will begin in just a few short hours, may I not fall into temptation, and if I have to travel through it because there is no route around it, please send strength from heavenly places.

41He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.

Lord Jesus, yielding to the Father's will, you found strength from beyond this world. Victory is not found in pulling myself up by my boot straps, but by yielding to the One that made my feet in the first place.

44And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Lord Jesus, you went through the agony of the garden, the court and the cross. Thank you for the fact that in the middle of temptation you yielded to the will of the Father.

45When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

At this point the disciples understood what was coming. They understood and yet did not find the strength to pray when they needed to, it was a lesson that would take time from them to learn...just like it has taken time for me to learn it.

Κύριος Notes The Battle Takes Many Forms

Praise starts this day.
Praise fills this day.
Praise as a statement of faith.
Praise as tool of your Holy Spirit.
Scripture Reflections: Luke 22

35Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered.

Lord Jesus the sending out of the seventy two was a time when the disciples saw the beginnings of a movement of grace. It was camp meeting, prayer conference and missions weekend all rolled up in one event. It was a high point spiritually and emotionally for the disciples. The disciples remembered being sent out and the great impact that they had seen on the lives of the people. I am sure it was one of those events that the disciples and the community that they were a part of remembered around the fire at night and talked about with their families when they got the chance.

Lord Jesus there are high points of your grace that I need to remember and focus on...times when your work and presence was so clear. Times when the Holy Spirits work was amazing and inspiring. Thank you for those times.

36He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."

Lord there was a change in the direction of your ministry that you were telling the disciples to prepare for. A change in reception that could be expected from the crowds and a change in way to plan for the disciples. This was a time for battle and when there would be contrast to the events that they remember. It was a time when they would have to prepare for their worlds to be shaken.

There are also those times when there is need to prepare for the battle that is coming. Don't let me miss the words of warning that you will send my way for the upcoming battle. I know that you continue to call your people to the battle and for spiritual warfare.
38The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That is enough," he replied.

Help me in this day to prepare for the battle that you call your people to...may I hear your call and meet the challenge of this day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Κύριος Notes:Surrender is More Than Words

I'm giving You my heart, all that is within
I lay it all down, for the sake of You my King
And I surrender all to You, all to You
And I surrender all to You, all to You
I'm giving You my dreams, laying down my rights
I'm giving up my pride, for the promise of new life*
And I surrender all to You, all to You
And I surrender all to You, all to You

Scripture Reflections: Luke 22
31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Lord Jesus you prayed for Simon that this stone could become a rock...that this one who was about to go through a difficult, and questioning time would come out the other side and be able to be a help to the rest of the brothers.

That is a powerful thought...with the power and the strength of the Son of God and the prophetic view of the rest of the life that was before Peter you prayed for him. At a time when your own life on Earth was at it's hardest point you prayed for Peter.

"Satan has asked to Sift you like wheat"...reminiscent of Job. Sometimes this life feels like Job's experience, just for a few self-indulgent moments. I have never thought of ongoing conversations between Satan and God, but there must be some type of communication. I wonder what the conversation about me is like?...and about Living Springs folk? It gives me great hope that you are praying for us Lord Jesus...that you live to make intercession for us to the Father. Right now you are in communication with the Father on our behalf.

33But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."
34Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."

I would guess that Peter really thought that he was ready to go to prison and death for You Lord when he said this. His impulsive and quick reactions brought him to the point of rash words yet again. This is not the last time that Peter would speak too soon and think too late.

Peter here is saying that he would willing go to the very darkest places for you, just hours before he denys that he even knows you. Lord Jesus teach me the lessons of real surrender and not just saying the words.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Κύριος Notes:Unfinished

Perfect People
Suddenly it's like a weight is lifted
When you hear the words that you are loved
He knows where you are and where you've been
And you never have to go there again
here's no such thing as perfect people
There's no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are, broken and scarred
Lift up your heart and be amazed
And be changed by a perfect God
Who lived and died to give new life
To heal our imperfections
So look up and see love. Let grace be enough
Natalie Grant

Scripture Reflections: Luke 22

24Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

The timing of this dispute is so tragic and ironic. As the first communion was celebrated the core group that Jesus had spent his active ministry establishing was discussing who was greatest in their little crew. From the point of view of the disciples, they were expecting that Jesus was going to be setting up his earthly kingdom and they wanted to establish who was most important...they wanted to know pecking order.

25Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Lord Jesus you pointed them to your what you have lived out for them in front of them day and night. Greatness is determined by servant hood not by authority that is exercised over those who have less power. Greatness is demonstrated by the master washing the feet of the disciples. Greatness is the master touching the leper who had not been touched for years. Greatness is determined by faithfulness to the call of God.

28You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The kingdom on earth that the disciples were looking for was set up only in the hearts up until now. There is fulfillment that still waits here Lord Jesus. The disciples waited and watched that night knowing nothing of what the next few hours would bring.

Lord Jesus I am left thinking of the places where the pieces just don't fit together yet...the unfinished parts there are to me, just like that night found the disciples unfinished. It may be that the finish they needed could only be brought about by your departure. They needed growth and spiritual formation that could only come without your foot steps beside them everyday.

So why is it Lord that I get so out of sorts when I have not felt You beside me for a while? There are times when You seem to close. Then there are those times when for all my attempts at connection I am left with no feeling, just the discipline of living out Your word each day. And then in the middle of the obedience I trip over You as if you were just a step or two behind me all the time.

Tonight as I write this I realize that all that I am is utterly dependant on You...I can not live this life out without You. Don't leave me here this far from home. As I sit here tonight the darkness surrounds me, the dogs are asleep at my feet and the house is quiet with just the hint of coming fall in the chill in the air. I realize that these times when I don't feel your closeness are really the times of growth in my soul, they are the times when I am in the Jesus school of learning the walk and not just the talk.

Teach me the walk step upon step, day upon day...a life that is lived out with genuineness, grace and a hint of Your unfolding plan on the edges of my sight.

Κύριος Notes: Betrayal Large and Small

There"s no such thing as perfect people
There no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are, broken and scarred
Lift up your heart and be amazed, and be changed
by a perfect God
Natalie Grant
Scripture Reflections: Luke 22

20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Lord Jesus, when I think of this last teaching moment with you disciples it is hard to imagine the thoughts must have been going through you mind as you were preparing for what was ahead. A new covenant established at the cost of your blood. Law gives way to grace. You died for willingly sacrificed your life on my behalf.

21But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him." 23They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

Judas was sitting right there at the table hearing the words flow over him as you spoke. Yet he was unmoved or at the very least he kept the deal that he made. Was it the money? Was it a grab for power? Was it a twisted attempt to force you to act with power?

It doesn't even really matter why. He made his choice. He paid the price for betrayal. A price that continues in eternity. I would like to think that there is a difference in kind between Judas and myself...that I could never make that kind of error in judgement. But truth be known, the difference is just a matter of degrees. Every time that I react in ways that are not as You would have me to, Lord, I betray you in my own way.

Yesterday as we celebrated communion together at worship, you reminded me again Lord Jesus of your death for me... You suffered so that people just like my friends at Living Springs could come together and rejoice at what was done on our behalf. We could not have earned what we freely were given.

Lord Jesus thank you for your death on the cross for me.