Thursday, April 29, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Home With Uncommon Grace

Scripture Reflections: Matthew 13
53When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked.
Lord Jesus--Here in the middle of people being healed and teaching that had heaven just barely covered in parables, the people who knew you best missed the point. " Where did this person who grew up right under our feet get this wisdom and power?" In the middle of the mundane and the usual you break through into our world.

"Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56Aren't all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" 57And they took offense at him.

Lord Jesus--It was the in Hometown Galilee with family scattered all around that the thought of Your being someone that could change their lives rattled the world of these people. They had known you before you were on the national stage. I wonder what the feelings were in their hearts...was it frustration with their own lives? Was there the need to make their own not leaving home alright?

But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor."

58And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

Bottom lined and personal...

These people from your childhood on planet Earth limited the agent of creation by their lack of faith...they refused to see the Majestic among the mundane. Lord Jesus where are the places where I am missing the Majestic in the middle of the mundane? Where am I limiting Your work by my lack of faith in your ability to work? Right where I am in the middle of a mundane the middle of a normal week on a same corner that I have been at long enough to call home, you want to work majestically and with uncommon grace.

Lord Jesus work as you see fit here in this place I call home.

Notes to the Lord:The Net in my hand

Matthew 13
47"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51"Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked.
"Yes," they replied.

Lord Jesus--It is not my worry to sort out what your net brings in, it is just my job to throw down the net, to pull in the put my hand to the work that you put before me. You and the angels of light will do the sorting at the end of the age.

I am so keenly aware of the reality of the situation that confronts me. I am not wise enough or know enough of the lives of those who I find in the net to sort it all out. What I can do is to live this day that will begin before me to the glory of the One who put me here in the first place.

Response to the message is not my problem either. It is the responsibility of those who are drawn in. Those are the parts that get so confusing at times for me. What if I had just communicated it better...but response is not my problem...being true to Your call Lord Jesus...that is what I have control over.

So in the day is in front of me Lord Jesus lead me in your way. Help me keep pulling in the net in my hand, I leave the rest to you.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Notes to the Lord:How much is it worth?

Matthew 13
44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Lord Jesus--The discovery the kingdom is like finding a hidden treasure. It is just barely under the surface of the world we live in. Every once in a while it peeks through.

Sometimes the kingdom can be seen in the joyful dance of Haitians in the street after an Earthquake with no real reason to rejoice except for the work of your grace. Or the treasure is sometimes seen in the eyes a mother caring for her sick child too exhausted to go on, but to engaged to give up. I see the treasure alive here on this twisted planet from time to time.

The point of the story though is the simple fact that once found this treasure is cherished and is worth a total buy in. Risking everything on the treasure of your work in my life is what these twin stories are all about. Half hearted acceptance is nothing less than missing the point of the kingdom in the first place.

Lord Jesus--Help me see in this day the treasure hidden just below the surface.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Dough

Scripture Reflections:Matthew 13
33He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."

Lord Jesus--Dough? As I was ushering at a church service the other night and collecting the offering the thought occurred to me that there are those think that church is a place that only wants money and collects it from the impressionable and gullible. So they think we worry about dough, but not the dough that you are speaking of.

So what do you mean Lord when you say dough? How is the kingdom like dough and yeast?

When I am in the mix and it feels as if everything in my life is in the mixing bowl of life...I am really just where you want me to be? For the process to work water and flour have to come together. That is not always comfortable or pretty. For the mixture to be something more than a mess yeast has to come into the mix. And then there is the time it takes to let the dough rise...the yeast has to do its work. In time it leaves the whole batch changed.

Lord Jesus--Remind me that the process continues to change me, even when it seems like nothing is happening. Sometimes the dough needs time to rise. But beyond time, the yeast has to have extensive impact touching each part of the mixture if it is going to be bread. Change has to work through the whole batch...nothing worse than heavy flat bread.

But sooner of later...there is that smell of bread in the oven and somehow I am ok with the process, the mess and the mixing bowls.

34Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

"I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world."

Lord Jesus--Help me to accept the process, mixing,mess and waiting. Continue your work in my heart and life...and in the lives of your people.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Notes to the Lord: Reflections on Overflow

A couple of thoughts that are rumbling around in gray matter this afternoon.

First thought is there is very good leadership in the denomination that LSCC is apart of. Godly and thoughtful men are leading the church in a strategic and informed way. I know for some of you that come from a more independent church background might get concerned about this connection. I can say that we can be confident in the leadership. I don't talk a lot about this just because it is not something that impacts daily operations of our church.

Bishop Kendell's address it was very good...made me think and cry all at the same time. I am not sure how someone so cognitive can get so close to the emotions...not on my best day. He reminded me of the history of grace that we come from abolitionist of the 19th century that apposed slavery in every form when it cost some of them their careers and their reputations.
Yet, He did not hide the places where the church made mistakes, he faced clearly the issue of legalism that was a part of the history.

The focus was an seeing people come to know Jesus as their savior and Lord...give us a passion for souls was a refrain that was echoed again and again. Learning to tell the story in a way people can hear and understand was a topic that resonated with me. The words that we use so many times are words that normal people don't use...that are almost another language. We need to make connections with people in a way that allows us to tell the story in a way that they can hear. Very good...have been thinking the same way...and I might add it is not easy to do.

Bishop Roller made practical application of all the information and gave us challenge to the pastor types and the representatives from the local churches. Start small groups that include both believers and people may not have made that decision. The goal of the group that anyone who knows Jesus could lead it and just tell the story of our Savior. Great ideas...and my first reaction was abject fear...a church our size they suggest that we start 15 groups. We are going to have to think that one through and trust the leading of the Lord.

So bottom line it Kurt...what do you take away from this event?

I came away a sense that God is working. First God is working inside of me and He has interior work that continues to need to be addressed about my view of the church, and my experience of the church. Second. It comes through to me that I don't have it all down, I need more of Jesus and his work in my life. We need to create places that give people and entrance into our church.

All that and we were in Micky's backyard during the whole time and I never even saw the Magic Kingdom from the air coming in. Somehow it is ironic that we were so engaged in Kingdom Heaven work in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom, but then that is the way it is all the time isn't? Doing Kingdom work right in the back yard of this world's system is what it is all about anyway isn't it? is so good to be home.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Overflowing Thoughts

Thoughts Before a Trip

So in a few hours Brian, Carol and I are off to Orlando Florida to a gathering of Free Methodists from all across the eastern half of the country. I will not make any wise comments that we are meeting in mouse land or Micky's backyard although that is how I think of Orlando.

I have studiously avoided these kind of gatherings for the past 6 years since I have been back in the Free Methodist fold. I am not sure why I don't like these kind of meetings. I have never been one to retreat much. It seems only logical in my mind that retreat is movement in the wrong direction.

But before I leave I commit to all those of Living Spring's Blog Land readers I will engage and listen. I will gain all that God has for this traveling preacher and his friends at this important gathering of the church. Pray for Carol and Brian that God gives them grace to deal with me for a full three days non-stop.

In all seriousness, pray for God's Spirit to be present as we seek his direction and inspiration. I am praying that God will send a new day to this group of people who have such a history of grace received, may there be a new blessing of God's anointing that can be traced to this time when we all came to Micky Land.

Let's not even talk about the fact the I have to FLY to get there...

God Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I can not change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the diffence.

Did I mention that fact that we were flying? Did I mention the fact that I don't like to fly?

Notes to the Lord:Mustard Trees and Me

Scripture Reflections: Matthew 13

31He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

Lord Jesus--You remind me that the Kingdom starts from small beginnings. It is not dramatic, it is not with trumpets, bells and whistles. It is a bit at a time... a little bit here and a little be there. It is all about roots growing unseen...unnoticed at times.

Growth results in changes that are required by that growth. The changes of growth are many. The plant can stand stressors that could never have been withstood at a younger...less mature place in development. Change will result in the ability to shelter what could have never been protected.

Another change that occurs is almost too simple...the plant that was a garden plant just takes over the garden...there is no room for anything else in the garden. What had been a part becomes the whole.

As I write this I am at overflow conference of the Free Methodist Church. Brian and Carol are with me...great people to travel with. Since I have been back in the Free Methodist fold I have not been at a conference where pastors from across the church were present.

I have notice changes that have occurred over the time frame since last I was a participant in a conference like this. I have met old friends who I have not seen in years. That is a good thing. I have noticed that I am now a part of the gray haired crowd. shock there.

But the change that I notice more than anything is the diversity that makes up the group that I am a part of...diversity of language, diversity of expression, diversity of worship, diversity of culture, and diversity of perspective. We serve the same Lord.

Change unseen at some point becomes change experienced.

So bottom line it and make it personal...

Lord Jesus--You call me to faithful steady root, branch and leaf growth. I have to allow the garden plant to take over the garden maybe even the front yard. Will that require changes? Absolutely. I wonder if the mustard seed was amazed at the changes that that growth demanded and brought. I doubt just grew.

Lord Jesus continue your growth in me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Soul Food Harvest

Matthew 13
24Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdo
m of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

Lord Jesus--In the middle of life stuff happens. Weeds come up when I have planted the v
ery best that we I the opportunity to plant. Lord you know so much better than I do the battle that rages all around me. Satan is alive and well even if sometimes I tend to live as if He were a myth. He is still there. In the middle of sowing the best seed the enemy can come in and do harm.
In the middle of the battle, it is good to remem
ber who the enemy.

Ephesians 6:12

12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

People are never the enemy, not at all.
The religious elite of your day were not the enemy, nor was that silly man Herod, or that sad man Pilate who condemned you to death. They were just being used...or maybe more accurately they were allowing themselves to be used.

Lord Jesus--In the middle of seeing the weeds and their reality remind me of the wheat that is also growing all around me. You know me so well Lord Jesus, you know that I can get fixated on the weeds...think about them, worry about them and in the middle of it all miss the wheat that is maturing all around me.

27"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 28" 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?

Lord Jesus--In the middle of real life there will always be questions. In a way it is in the questions that I establish relevance. Is there something that is wrong with the seed that the weeds come up? No. In the real world weeds are a part of the work of it.

29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

Lord Jesus--This is a mixed up muddled up world. In so many ways the weeds and the wheat surround me. I am not always bright enough or in-tune with You enough to sort it all out. I depend on you for the sorting process. I will sow the seed as best and as faithfully as I can. I will tend the crop with all the diligence that is within me...

Lord Jesus I ask Your blessing on the harvest of these efforts. From first to last this is the work of grace this soul food harvest that you are growing all around me. Bless the harvest.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Notes to the Lord: Seed, Soil and Harvest

Scripture Reflection:Matthew 13
18"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

Lord Jesus there are those who even though the Holy Spirit is working in their hearts the message is snatched away from them even as they hear it. Hearing does not always lead to acceptance. The evil one is active in our world. Give me listening ears Lord Jesus.

There are those times when it is so easy to forget that evil is personal, active and engaged in a mission of seek and destroy all that is your will that is around me. Remind me today of the battle that rages all around me. Keep me close to you, you know I tend to wander sometimes without even knowing it.

The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.

Lord Jesus--There is a need for rooted-ness and digging deep into the kingdoms rich soil. The work is to deep as fast as I can as much as I can in these times of peace. Reception of your word is a part of the story but roots sinking down deep is the first primary need. Trouble and persecution will come at times and can only be faced with deep resources in hand.

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

Lord Jesus--The harvest depends on weeding, at the things that would creep in and distract and diffuse your word in my life. Stuff can creep in and coke out the harvest that is promised. Worries of this life...asthma of the soul. Fruitlessness is created by an insidious process of weed creep.

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

Lord Jesus the goal is to see a harvest that is blessed. It is interesting that at the low end of the estimate the harvest is based on multiplication not

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Notes to the Lord:In the Darkness again?

Matthew 13
16But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Lord Jesus--The clarity of salvation history was something that your people in the past longed to hear and didn't. The reality of living in this time is the reality of the blessing of clarity and guidance. The prophets of the Old Testament knew of your work only in snapshots. But in your coming to this insignificant planet on one spiral arm of a galaxy that is pretty unremarkable you showed the whole family picture fact it was so much more than that. You gave us yourself.

So why does it seem to dark at times? It seem like at the times when clarity and vision are needed most that I seem to have no other choice than to step out into the darkness. You ask me to trust you that no matter what happens you are in control and are at work. It is in the dark that I find myself so thankful for your word, and the times when it has been dark before in my life. You worked then you will work now. Lord Jesus thank you for the clarity of this walk with you, and thank you for the darkness. For it is in the darkness that you continue to surprise me with what you end up bringing about...just because of a few fearful and faithful steps into the dark.

So today Lord Jesus thank you for the light. But remind me that it is in the darkness that you can best surprise with me in darkness and light today.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Notes to the Lord:It Takes Work

Matthew 13

10The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"

Lord Jesus--The disciples noticed that you were taking a step back from the people. You continued to heal and continued to teach, but they saw that you were not including the people in the full conversation of your teaching. This question is laced with some of their agenda and plans that they may have had for you. Seeing the step back from clarity was disconcerting for them.

There are times when my expectations get in the way of seeing the direction of your activity in my life. The disciples questioned your direction Lord Jesus. I know the feeling.

11He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Lord Jesus--If I want to see you work in my life, the starting point is where I am not where I would like to be...not my expectations, but my present tense reality. So the starting point is what I have. You have given everyone a bit of light. I am sure that John was pointing to that when he said:

John 1:9 This was the true light that gives light to every man who comes into the world.

Everyone has some light the issue is to move toward the light and to look for the light everywhere that I am. That is where the blessing is, to build on what you have already given and to see you bless it by participating with me in this thing called life. There is work involved in following you, this life that you have called me to is not a passive, observation but an active participation.

13This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'

Lord Jesus--Now down to the reason for parables. It is simple really. The people needed to do some digging, some participation and engagement in the teaching. The next level that you have for me always requires that I am willing to engage at the point of change, growth, and giving my assumptions and expectations to you.

The solution to calloused soul syndrome is the intervention of the Holy Spirit which requires that I am willing to change...that I am willing to let you lead and to follow the light where ever it leads.

1 John 1:7
7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Keep me in the light today Lord Jesus.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Notes To the Lord:My Heart is a Garden?

Matthew 13
1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Lord Jesus--This is a simple story. A story told to make a point in a way that the people could remember. It was a story about a farmer told to people who were very close to the land. They knew and understood the ways of farming. I wonder how many of the people listening had worried about the crows coming and eating their seed? I wonder how many nodding heads there were in the crowd that day as you spoke of the weeds, the sun, the good soil and the reminder of coming harvest.

9He who has ears, let him hear."

Lord Jesus--There were at least a couple of levels at which you were were speaking of spiritual things with word pictures and you were making the people work. The kingdom of God is something that has to sit and grow a bit inside my mind and heart before it begins to have impact. To even receive the word I have to have a receptivity to you.

9He who has ears, let him hear."

This little verse is an invitation to listen with ears that don't just hear the sound waves but that longs for and grasps the spiritual content of your call. So how many times has your call gone right over my head Lord Jesus? How many times has my soul heard yet somehow missed the point? The amazing thing is you continue to work in my heart...this small, twisted and sometimes hard heart. Just like you continued to teach even though you knew that right in front of you were some who in a short while would call out to Pilate for your crucifixion. Your grace is amazing, patient and personal.

In this day that will begin in just a few short hours give me ears to hear your call with clarity and the kind of grace that you demonstrated. Give me the strength to follow your leadership in this day with courage and endurance that only comes from you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Family According to Jesus

Scripture Reflections:Matthew 12:46-50
46While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.

Lord Jesus--Your life was lived within the context of family and interconnected relationships just like mine. I wonder why your brothers and mother were looking to talk with you.

Was it a family issue that the oldest son needed to deal with? Was it that they were worried about you and the enemies that you were making? Or maybe it was the friends that you were keeping that had them concerned. All questions which could have motivated them to seek you out. It must have been difficult for you not to be accessible to your family at the point of their need. You were forced to make decisions that were difficult about the investment of your time just like I do.

48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Lord Jesus--Entrance into your family is based on following you and the direction of the Father. It is not about ritual and formality but about reality of a life that is lived out seeking to follow you whatever you lead. It is about walking in the light.

1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Lord Jesus--Sometimes the following is through places and times that call for the best from within me...sometimes the walk is through times of great blessing. Your leading and direction, your path and your light is where I want to be. Keep me focused on the things that really matter and not the things that would distract me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Notes to the Lord:From Bad to Worse

Scripture Reflections Matthew 12:43-45
43"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.

Lord Jesus--There is a cost to avoiding or misconstruing Your work in my life. The work that cleaned also leaves space for an increase in the impact of evil if I don't fill up the vacuum with the work of Your grace.

45Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go
in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."

Lord Jesus--The generation that your earthly ministry was centered on found itself in that situation.I wonder how you would judge the generation that I am a part of? Let that not be the case in my life.A fundamental lesson of the heart that I continue to learn is that I will be filled with something either I can be filled with Your Spirit or not. But empty is just not an option.

Lord Jesus move as you would seep into every part of me and fill in all of the empty spaces.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Notes to the Lord: Signs, Signs Everywhere Signs

Scripture Reflections: Matthew 12
38Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."

Lord Jesus--These were the same people who had just seen a man restored to sanity from possession. What sign would be enough to move them toward belief? What sign is enough to keep me believing? Whenever I start looking for signs Lord I am in the same company that nothing was enough for. They saw the blind healed, the sick raised up to new health...and yet the still looked for a sign.

Maybe my prayer should be: "Lord, Increase my faith" instead of show me a sign? These men who were accusing you did not identify their request as a prayer but it was. I wonder how that slight difference would have impacted their request?

39He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.

Lord Jesus--These men revered and reverenced Jonah as a prophet and a man of God. Yet they would not have been able to hear him as the people of Nineveh did. Judgment is the sound of people repenting while my hard heart is locked and loaded and aimed at another direction. I would love to distance myself from these bags of hot air that chased You across the country, but I am not sure that I am any different them except because of your grace.

42The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.

Lord Jesus--These men were looking right at the forest and were missing the trees that were right there to be seen. They were the one who missed out on glory of God that was being demonstrated right in front of their eyes.

Lord Jesus in this day let me see clearly the ways in which you are working, don't let me be distracted from the evidence of your glory and grace at work right in front of these eyes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Notes to the Lord:A Need For Mercy

Scripture Reflections: Matthew 12:30-37

30"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Lord Jesus--Crediting to demonic activity the work of God is a fundamental error. When these leaders were crediting this act of exorcism to Satan they were unable to identify the work of the Holy Spirit, or were not telling the truth about knowing that this was the work of the Holy Spirit. You were warning these men that they were on dangerous ground--Holy Ground. The work of the Holy Spirit is always Holy Ground. These men were calling what was Holy profane.

So in the middle of a world that is filled with fakes and imitation how do we know the difference from the real and the imitations? All that glitters isn't gold. How can we know and identify spiritual authenticity?

33"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.

Lord Jesus--Authenticity is fruity, productive, generative...shows results. Good trees produce good fruit. There is nothing like fall when the apples are fresh, and I can pick them right off the tree. Is that you want the Spirits work in my life to be? Sometimes it is a wait until the fruit is in. Help me to be patient and wait for the results the Spirit's work in my life and in the livees of those around me.

34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

Lord Jesus--You know as well as I that there is no qualitative difference between me and any Pharisee that you met on the dusty roads of your ministry. Without your mercy and grace I am lost. There can be no hope of fruit without your grace actively working in my heart and life.

An old prayer of believers across the ages comes to mind..."Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner." Let these be the words that are remembered of me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Notes To the Lord:God At Work

Scripture Reflections: Matthew 12:22-29
22Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" 24But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."

Lord Jesus--Why is it that there was such debate about the miracles that were brought about by your ministry? The people saw and experienced the results of the healings. It was the understanding of the experience that was called into question by the religious elite of the day.These men who attributed demonic activity to these acts of healing were doing it because of their own agendas...their own need for control and protection of their vested interest. By their control and protection of their interests the missed out on the blessing of seeing God at work in power and grace in their day.

How do I view the miraculous that surrounds me? Do I attribute them to the demonic or to the grace of God? There are so many things that when I think of them I can only attribute them to the active intervention of God. Family, home, children that know you Lord Jesus, more work that it meaningful than I know what to do with...all miracles brought about by your hand in grace and goodness.

25Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.29"Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.

Lord Jesus--Your activity in my little world can be confusing to understand...blessings and miracles of grace and glory wrapped up in a brown paper bag. Then sometimes what appears to be outbreaks of power and grace on the face of it in the end turn out to be just hot air personified. It takes a level of discernment to sort through, time to watch and being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit on levels that allow for You to work in ways that are not just in my own self interest.

Lord Jesus in this day let me see with clear eyes the blessing that you have brought about in my life and in the lives of those who surround me. Don't let me be distracted by the packaging,, but let me see Your work for what it is...the grace of God that I can touch in my own hands.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Notes To the Lord:Hope Alive in a Pratical World

Scripture Reflections--Matthew 12: 15-21

15Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, 16warning them not to tell who he was.

Lord Jesus--You knew the context of the culture that you lived in...You could sense when the public opinion was against you. Teach me to be aware of what is going on around me and find ways to be effective for You in these times that are flowing all around me.

17This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18"Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

Lord Jesus--You were sent with the mission in mind of teaching, modeling and proclaiming justice in a world that was not a friend to justice. Equals were to be treated like equals. Your ministry showed that in who you healed. You healed those who needed your touch, when they were available.

In fact the availability of the power of God, to work in the lives of those who needed without respect to who they were or when they were healed, is the reason why you were not accepted. What does that imply about the activity of God in my life? It seems to imply that you will work in ways and times that you see fit. You are in charge of the availability of the movement of God, that I need not chase after the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. You will direct and anoint for the task that is needed to done.

19He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
21In his name the nations will put their hope."

Lord Jesus--You did not debate the movement of God. You did not argue the issue. You accepted where people were at when you saw them. When Nicodemus came to you at night you did not send him away, you accepted his need for privacy.There will come a time when justice will be lead to victory. You will return to this crippled and dieing planet and our hope will be reality.

Lord Jesus in this day accept my availability for the Your Spirit's movement and work. Work as you see fit.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Notes to the Lord: Stretching

Scripture reflection: Matthew 12: 9-14
9Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"

Lord Jesus--Turning points hinge the direction and the orientation that life goes in. For these key people in the nation a simple thing like healing on the Sabbath. Something that should have turned their heart toward the Father actually galvanized opposition to Your ministry.

Lord Jesus--Move the hinge points in my life in a direction that is toward you. I grant you complete freedom in the turnings of that hinges and as they creek and slowly move may they be always toward your grace and hope. May you continue your work of spiritual formation that is taking place within my heart.

11He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

In this simple line of reasoning, you call me to the work Lord Jesus. It is Your call on the lives of all who follow you that it is lawful, it is Your example, to do good on the Sabbath. You legislated by Your word and cut through the encrustation of what had accumulated over the law by tradition. You cut to the heart of what the law was meant to bring about, identifying good and evil. In a sad footnote, by this man's healing You focused the opposition against you. Again identifying good and evil in a way that cuts across all futile attempts at control, and boundary setting on the part of those who lined up against You.

13Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Lord Jesus--There was no one else who could have done what you did for this man in a moment. Surgeon's were not alive and are not alive that could have reconstructed this man's hand like you did without a knife, or operating room and by saying a word of power and grace.

Those words of power and grace are what I long to hear spoken and to see the results in my life and the lives of those around me...hands that can stretch to their full extension and reach, touch and hold what could never have been held without Your words of power being spoken. Speak Lord Jesus!
In the coming day Lord Jesus I will be listening for Your voice help these ears listen.