Chapter 28: Love

Chapter 28:  Love

I write these God’s Hearts as the Holy Spirit leads me.  I don’t have an agenda of topics chosen months in advance, I simply write in accord with the Lord’s leading.  And these last few weeks I’ve been brought back to the central truth of God’s love for us and am compelled to pass that on. 

It feels to me that the Lord wants to remind all of us that while we are working and serving alongside the Lord in His kingdom that we must not forget how much we are loved.

The heart of God’s love for us is beautifully expressed in Zephaniah,

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

Just this one verse alone reveals a depth of the heart of our Lord in regards to each one of us.

1.  God is in your midst

2.  He is the mighty one who saves

3.  He rejoices over you with gladness

4.  He quiets you with his love

5.  He exults and sings over you

Lets review these one by one.

  1. God in our midst means that we are not alone

Though the weight of our work and of life itself may press down on us we can know that God is with us. 

Immanuel means ‘God with us’ and is one of the names given to Jesus.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 ESV

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 ESV

God with us means that God is working through us.  As we rest in the presence and work of Jesus Christ he works through us.  We take comfort in this.  The work is not all ours to do.  Rather we enter into dependance on God and as we invite Jesus Christ into our lives we agree with Him and when we agree with the Lord life takes on new satisfaction.

2.  The mighty one who saves indicates a continuous present tense

God has saved us.  God is saving us.  God will save us.  We experience the truth and presence of God in our past, present, and future.

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21 ESV

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5 ESV

The love of Father God foreknew us and prepared a way for us. Jesus Christ his Son entered into our present tense and died a sinless death so that you and I might live.  Our Holy Spirit remains with us leading and guiding us each and every day.

This work of God never ends.  It goes on in our lives and in the lives of every human being on planet earth. God is continually drawing all people unto himself in love and kindness and understanding.  This we can count on.  This we rest in.

No longer do we need to force God upon each other.  No longer must we micro-manage those around us.  No longer must we fear.  God is active in all our lives even when we cannot perceive Him.

Because of this we can come to a place of greater understanding alongside our fellow human beings.  We are released to just be people alongside people for Jesus is the one working in all our lives.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 ESV

3.  He rejoices over you with gladness 

God’s heart over us works to dispel the lies and condemnations within us.  Remember the utter joy of a child born to you?  This is the same joy (but bigger yet) that God experiences in regards to you each and every minute of every day.

I ask:  How might His joy about you change how you view yourself, God, and this life you are living?

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 ESV

“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.” Psalm 16:9 ESV

Life alongside God brings us to deeper understanding of our lives.  We realize that there is another reality to living than just this earthly experience and our earthly struggles.

We learn alongside God that even though there are difficulties God is in the midst.

4.  He quiets us with His love is the exact result of God in our midst

We cannot stay stressed when we are aware of the presence of God.  In His presence our anxiety, our worry, our concerns fall to the side. We are quieted in our inner person.

“For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.” Psalm 33:21 ESV

“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” Psalm 107:29 ESV

While we make our plans and do the work of our lives it takes on a new ease as we allow the Lord’s quieting over us.  We do the same work but our hearts don’t worry the same.  We carry on the same tasks but we are more relaxed and okay with God’s leading.  We do not rush to control or fix things like we once did. God quiets us and we enter into His rest.

5. He exults and sings over you and he exults and sings over each one

In this love of the Lord we realize that he loves everyone to the same extent that he loves us.  And as we realize this we begin to take greater care with those around us.  We realize that we must treat others as the great loves of God that they are.

As we experience God’s love and exulting and singing over us we bring this same spirit and manner over others.  We learn too to rejoice in our fellow human beings.  We begin to see the beauty of mankind all around us.

God’s singing over us changes how we perceive each other.  We, all of us, every single person, is precious to God, and we dare not use and abuse them.  It is God’s love that alerts us to this.

“And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you,” 1 Thessalonians 3:12 ESV

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 

John 13:35 ESV

We are reminded today that though we work to understand God more, though we work to bring justice where there is injustice, though we work to teach and guide and lead those depending on us, though we strive to accomplish much good in the countries in which we live, we remember that love and our manner alongside God and others is the most important thing of all.

We remember that how we treat each other matters first and foremost.  We remember that God loves us with a deep and abiding love and we are reminded to slow down, to take notice of our fellow human beings, to acknowledge each other in kindness and understanding.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.  As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 

1 Corinthians 13 ESV

Prayer

“God we come before you today dependant on you to grow your love in us.  We cannot love as you love unless you change our hearts from the inside out.  Please give us your love.  We wait on you for this and we thank you for the work you will be doing within us.  We praise you Lord.  Thank you.” 

Application

  • Today, spend some time worshipping and thanking the Lord for his great love for you. 
  • Remain in the presence of God
  • Be silent before Him 
  • Ask to know His love more

Summary  – love 

We are not alone.  John 1:14

God delights over us.  Zephaniah 3:17

He saved us, is saving us, and continues to save us.  Matthew 11:29 

God makes us glad.  Psalm 33:21

We love others because of God’s great love for us.  John 13:35

Chapter 15: In Weakness

Chapter 15: In Weakness

It is hard being a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For within the role is the dynamic of all of God and then all of who we are.

All of God are the miracles and the signs and the wonders.

All of us are the aches and pains and the loss and the sorrow that we each personally have.

We preach healing and we experience sickness ourselves.

We declare healthy lives and we struggle with estranged relationships.

We teach and lead others to Christ and then can barely find him for ourselves.

I am reminded of Elijah in the book of 1 Kings chapters 18 & 19.

Elijah was a mighty man of God.  He walked in obedience and risked his life time and again to bring the word of the Lord.

For instance, in 1 Kings 18 we find him battling it out with the priests of Baal with a mighty result,

“Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust.  It even licked up all the water in the trench!”  1 Kings 18:38 NLT 

A great work of the Lord to be followed by another miracle (Read 1 Kings 18:41-44) and then special strength,

“Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah.  He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.” 1 Kings 18:46 NLT

All of this simply shows the Holy Spirit pouring through Elijah.  As God and Elijah worked as one, mighty miracles took place and a great witness of the Lord’s power was established.

And then that particular work was over and Elijah went off into the wilderness and we read,

“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”  1 Kings 19:4b NLT

After the great works of the Lord Elijah finds himself despondent and oh so very human. 

He is dejected and tired, to the point of wanting the Lord to take him.

Don’t we all feel this in our persons?  After a work of God pouring through us we are simply reminded of our humanity and the frailty of our hearts and minds and lives.

Praying healing over a crowd, speaking God’s heart to your congregation, visiting the sick and the down-trodden, all this and more carries a mark of God upon it, and when the work ceases for a time we must simply rest.

I suggest that the exhaustion after God’s work is simply very normal.  It is something we can in fact expect, always remembering that in that exhausted place the Lord cares for us.

“Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.  But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!”  He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water!  So he ate and drank and lay down again. 

Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said,  “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.  There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.”  1 Kings 19:5-9 NLT

Ministering the Lord to others is not about us being larger than life.  It is about the extraordinary of God stirring through our very ordinary lives.

If we expect to be extraordinary, we will be disappointed and disillusioned.

No, rather it is our God who is extraordinary.  And in fact, when we feel very human, we can be sure we have just encountered our living God.

For it is the contrast of us and God that reminds us of our weakness.

The good news is that where we know we are weak there the Lord is strong indeed.

Time and again we find in the Bible promises and hope for those who are weak:

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:29 NLT

Paul himself said this, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time he said,  “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.”  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT 

In all this we come to find that there is nothing to fear in weakness.

We find that our humanity and the frailty of being human is exactly what God wants to harness for his Kingdom.

When we know our weakness, when we feel our humanity, that is when we depend on God more than ever before, and that is when there is more room for God to work.

And through it all, the hardships, the deprivations, and the sacrifice we find as the Psalmist did,

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”  Psalm 73:26 NLT 

Be strong in the Lord today, as you bring him your weakness.  Allow the Spirit to inhabit all of your life and simply be blessed today.

Application

The only thing, and most powerful thing, to do with our weaknesses is to dedicate them to the Lord, for his glory, and unto the Kingdom of God through us. 

  • Take some time to come to prayer and bring your weaknesses to God. 
  • Confess where you have been upset and angry about your weakness. 
  • Name the difficulty accompanied with your weakness. 
  • Tell God how you feel about your weakness. 
  • Then, commit your weakness to the glory of God, dedicate your weakness to his purposes. 

Prayer 

“God, today I come in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. Father, you know this weakness that I have, you know how I have struggled with this, and you know the purposes you have through it. Today I commit even my weakness to your glory and honour and to your plans and purposes. I declare that my weakness will contain the strength of the Lord, in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen”

Summary – In Weakness

In our weakness God proves strong.  Psalm 73:26

We serve the Lord and he does the work through us.  Philippians 2:13

God takes our ordinary and makes it extraordinary.  John 14:12

The work belongs to the Lord, we are conduits of Him.  John 5:30

Chapter 3. Honest Prayers

3.  Honest Prayers

per — Capturing God’s Heart Volume #25

We find intimacy with our Lord through prayer, and yet for many of us we are unsure how to pray.  We worry that we are not saying the right words. We may think that the burden of prayer lies with us.  We may not understand how conversational prayer works.

While we do not have time for a full study of prayer here, we will look at a primary principle of prayer:   – Come before the Lord with a commitment to honesty —

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”  Psalm 51:6 ESV

Opening our inner being before the Lord is much of what prayer is about.  How can we expect intimacy with God if we are pretending deep within ourselves?

Admitting to our own thoughts and desires in quiet before the Lord, breaks down the barriers between us and him.

We need not worry about having our lives in good order first, for God knows more than us how unholy our inner person is.  Our part is to admit and acknowledge all that is not okay.

Jeremiah asked,  “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.  Who really knows how bad it is?”  Jeremiah 17:9 NLT and the answer is, God knows.

It is therefore best to come before the Lord without pretence.  In fact, we find some pretty strong language about how God feels about pretence and hypocrisy.

“I hate all your show and pretence —
    the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.”  Amos 5:21 NLT

Pretence and hypocrisy are the difference between our outer lives before the Lord (and others) and our inner hearts.  To walk with God we must put aside our pretending and simply come in honesty and truth before the Lord.

King David, who wrote many of the Psalms, is our master teacher in coming before the Lord in all honesty of heart and mind.  Consider this passage,

“O Lord, how long will you forget me?  Forever?  How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?  how long will my enemy have the upper hand?”  Psalm 13:1-2 NLT

Haven’t we all wondered at times where God is?  Well, David wasn’t afraid to say this to God.  He knew that God was big enough for his doubts and his fears and he brought his whole heart to the Lord.  He refused pretence (pretending) and chose honesty.

David later gave this advice to his son Solomon,

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately.  Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind.  For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought.  If you seek him, you will find him.  But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”  1 Chronicles 28:9 NLT

Every relationship is built on honesty and trust.  It is no different with God and us.  In fact, God also works at intimacy with his people. In John we find Jesus telling us this very thing,

“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves.  Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”  

John 15:15 NLT

In fact, in Amos we find this amazing statement,

“Indeed, the Sovereign LORD never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7 NLT

God reveals himself to us, and invites us to reveal ourselves to him.

In the midst of our honesty before God, when we take courage to speak what we are thinking and feeling, we come to find the peace of God stealing into our hearts.

David’s cry to God in Psalm 13 concludes this way,

“But I trust in your unfailing love.
    I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord
    because he is good to me.”  Psalm 13:5-6 NLT

And as we read many of the Psalms we find this same progression again and again.

1. God I’m really having trouble here

2. Where are you?

3. Help me!

4. I commit to your goodness

5. Thank-you for being my God

We start out blaming God and throwing our hurts and accusations before him, and then, once we have spoken our minds we find the Spirit of God softly coming alongside, validating and putting an arm so to speak around our hearts; we know we have been heard.

In fact, we are told,

“The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”  Romans 8:26 NLT

Not only does God hear our prayers, but he joins in with our prayers and in fact intercedes for us in an even deeper way than what we can do ourselves.  Our Holy Spirit advocates on our behalf as we cry out to God.

We become partners with the God-head as we pray.  Jesus himself has entered into our struggles and has experienced all of what it is to be human,

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 4:14-16  NIV 

Amen and amen.

Come to the Lord in the honesty of your heart today.  Speak your mind and heart. 

Welcome dialogue. Listen for what the Spirit is saying to you.  Allow validation.  Release anger. Accept grace and peace and comfort.

Your life will be infused with greater courage and trust as you go forward with the Lord in this way, day by day.  Be blessed.

Prayer

“God I come to you in the honesty of my heart.  I am a little afraid to be honest with you, for I have somehow believed that you want me to be happy all the time.  But of course, I am not happy all the time.   And so I bring you my troubles, I bring you my worries, I bring you my doubts.  I invite you into all of these things. And all of these things I give to you, declaring them for your glory and honour. 

Show me in a new way Father, that you are big enough for all the parts of my life.  The parts that are working well and the parts that are not working well.  Teach me, guide me, heal me, refresh me.   Thank you for loving me and for loving my honest prayers.  Teach me to become increasingly honest with you and with myself.  I desire intimacy in our relationship, I desire to bring you my whole heart.  Bless you Lord.  Amen”

Application

As we dialogue with God in prayer it is vital to come before him quietly.  If we are doing all the talking it is impossible to hear what God may be saying to us. (8)  To hear the Holy Spirit requires a heart that is quiet before him. It is good, therefore, to each day take some time to sit in the presence of God and learn to listen to him. 

1.  Make a plan to be quiet before God for a time each day.  It is hard to quiet our hearts before him, but it is a key part of growing in intimate relationship with God. 

2.  For one month keep a small journal of your times in silence before God.  Make note of how you did. Was it easy to be quiet before God or was it hard? 

3.  You may want to make note of the things that you sense God is saying to you. 

4.  After a few weeks look back on your notes and see how being silent before God has become easier and more natural. 

5.  The next time you meet as a class, share how you are growing in silence before God and share what God has been saying to you and how he is leading you. 

“God, I come before you in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ.  Today I bring myself quietly before you.  I invite you to speak to me.  I want to hear from you.  To any lying, deceiving, or confusing spirits, I say to these to be quiet in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ.  I want to hear from God only, I invite your wisdom.  Thank you Lord.  Amen” 

Summary – honest prayers

Our hearts are deceitful.  Proverbs 21:2,  Jeremiah 17:9

We must be honest before god and others.  Ephesians 4:25,  Hebrews 4:12

This builds intimacy with God.  Matthew 5:8,  Proverbs 3:5

We take time each day with God.   Psalm 51:10,  1 Timothy 1:5

He woos us and draws us into continued honesty and increased relationship. 

2 Corinthians 5:19,  2 Samuel 22:31

 

Footnotes: 

8. The Bible warns us against praying as the pagans do. We read in Matthew 6:7-8 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayer are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” NLT

And in Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, “As you enter the house of God, keep you ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.” NLT

The power of prayer is in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and as we agree with God (coming out of agreement with Satan). There is no power in repetition of words and there is no power through the volume of our voice. Shouting will not affect the enemy. In fact, shouting out at the gods is what the pagans do. It is those who practice witchcraft and demonism that shout and make a big show. We do not want our Christian prayer practices to look like pagan prayer practices. 

We are called to be different and our prayer practices will reveal what we believe about God. For instance, are we confident that he will heal us? Then we simply say, “In the name of Jesus I command all pain to go right now” and it does. Jesus wants to heal us, we simply release this healing simply yet powerfully. In all things the power of prayer is based on the work and name of Jesus Christ. 

“That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil sports with a simple command and he healed all the sick.” Matthew 8:16 NLT

Chapter 2. Faith (Whole Hearts)

Chapter 2.  Faith  (Whole Hearts) — Capturing God’s Heart #Volume 22

When I think about faith I think about our hearts.  The core of our lives comes from our hearts. Our hearts experience many things. It is with our hearts that we feel and decide and go forward in life.

It is also in our hearts that we find darkness and lies and fear.

In essence life springs from our hearts. In Proverbs 4:23 we read,  “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  ESV

Every part of our lives is an outworking of our hearts.  It is why it is so important that we get our hearts right with God and that we align our hearts with God’s heart.

The Psalmist says it well,  “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart.”  Psalm 119:2  ESV

It is in pretence that we come to God with only part of our hearts.  For we are told over and over that to really walk with God we must do so with our Whole Hearts.

In fact, in Mark we are told that even when we make sacrifice and offerings, if these things are not done in whole-hearted love for the Lord they mean nothing. (5)

“And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  Mark 12:33  NKJV

Earlier in this same chapter of Mark we read that the greatest commandment of all is, 

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  Mark 12:30 ESV 

Sometimes when we have known about God for a long time, we can think that to bring a part of ourselves is okay and that we can get away with a half-hearted life.  But this doesn’t work.

And so we also find in the Bible many promises of God to help us with our hearts.  For instance in Jeremiah we read this,  

“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”  Jeremiah 24:7  ESV

Faith then is simply giving over our whole hearts to God, accepting the love of Jesus Christ to change our hearts, and then living out the truths about God through our hearts and lives.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16  ESV

In Ezekiel we read a great verse and another amazing promise from God,

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”  Ezekiel 36:25-27 ESV  (6)

What we find is that we give God our whole heart and then God takes care of our whole heart.

We ourselves cannot change our own hearts.  There are parts of our own hearts that we cannot even access and do not even know about.  But God does.  And so it is God who takes on the care of our hearts when we invite and accept and live in the life of Jesus Christ given over for us.

And in Romans we find more of God’s promise for us,

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:26-28 ESV

Because God can take all of our lives, the good and the bad, we offer up to the Lord all of our lives.  Even the bad things, even the sad things, even our broken places and our failures are used by God for good when we give them over to the Lord. (7)

So we simply bring God all of us.  We do not hide any parts of our hearts.  We do not need to hide in fear or pretend that we are something we are not. Rather we come in honesty and openness and with our whole hearts.

And when we do this we will find that God is big enough for all of our lives and our hearts.

“God we come to you today in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We acknowledge you as Lord and Saviour of our lives. We say yes and amen to your work in our hearts.  We thank-you.

Today we bring to you the things we have been afraid to bring to you.  We bring you our bitterness, we bring you our hatreds, we bring you our fears and our worries.

We declare our trust in you God and declare your love for our hearts.  Thank-you Jesus for dying for our hearts, for our lives, and being the one who carries all our darkness and the evil in our hearts.  We give you our whole hearts today.  Amen”

May you be encouraged today to not keep any parts of your hearts from God.  For God passionately loves you and will make you whole and strong from the depths of your heart.

“I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise.” Psalm 138:1  ESV

Application

As leaders in the Kingdom of God we want to come to an understanding and faith that God is working in the hearts of people at all times.  We may have those in our congregations that concern us with how they are living their lives but regardless of other people’s choices we want to deal carefully with people at all times. 

In all situations the best first thing to do is to go to prayer regarding those we are concerned about.  In prayer we can take our own frustrations to the Lord regarding those ones we are trying to lead.  In prayer we can, for example, forgive people (general or specific) for being difficult.  It is important to go before the Lord in prayer in this way.  As leaders you carry a lot of responsibility and it is easy to become weighed down and bitter about the problems and the problem people around you. 

Therefore, take the time to empty your heart to God.  Bring Him all of your concerns and confess to him your own hearts responses as you are trying to lead.  As you bring your anger and frustrations to God he refreshes you and enables you to lead in a new way. 

It does no good to lead out of a heart of bitterness, envy, anger, frustration — when we do this our leading becomes a weighty thing upon people; instead of blessing we become part of the enemies plans for condemnation.  We don’t want this. We want to be a blessing to those we serve and lead. 

And so, in prayer and time spent with God, we pour out our concerns and our heart for his people, and we agree with God for their good futures.  We set aside our frustrations and we take on his good heart for others.  To lead well we need to bring our whole hearts to God in this way so that we may lead even better. 

“God, today I come with my frustrations and my anger about the state of the people in my church.  God I often do not know what to do.  But you do.  And so first I leave my frustration, anger, and bitterness at the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ.  I take on your gentle spirit and I ask that you would increase my confidence and my faith that you are working in all of our lives.  I commit my own life to your heart once more, and I say yes and amen to your continued good working in the lives of those you have called me to serve and to lead.  May we all find your good grace together. In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen” 

Summary – faith (whole hearts) 

We come to God with our whole hearts.   Mark 12:30

A divided heart and mind gains nothing.   James 1:8,  James 4:8,  Isaiah 29:13

God is the one who gives us a new heart.   Jeremiah 24:7,  Ezekiel 11:19

We must be faithful to bring him our whole hearts. 

Jeremiah 17:10,  Proverbs 3:5-6,  Matthew 22:37 

 

Footnotes:

(note, footnotes run concurrent through the entire course. in other words, footnotes 1-4 were in last months chapter)

5. A divided heart bears no fruit. James 4:3, James 1:8

6. Our justification is in Christ, but so too our sanctification. We are freed unto God’s ways because of and through the work of Jesus Christ. 

 7. Remember that there is no shame or condemnation in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1. As we bring our entire hearts to him we find this true and that he is the lifter of our heads. Psalm 3:3

 

Chapter 1. The Great Expectation

CCIM College Course: Chapter 1.  The Great Expectation

( per — Capturing God’s Heart Volume #19 )

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.  The government will rest on his shoulders.  And he will be called:  Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6 NLT 

The story of Christ is a simple one. 

Long years back God created heaven and earth, land and sea, animals, fish, birds, and human kind. Men and women, male and female, we were created in the image of God. 

God, being love, orchestrated a great multiplication of love as the Spirit of God was breathed into and through us and as humans were mandated with filling the earth and taking great care of this world. These first humans were Adam and Eve.  Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:7

There was though, one injunction, one command,  “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  Genesis 2:17 ESV

But, as we know, Adam and Eve did eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.  The Bible tells us that immediately they became aware of their sin in crushing self-consciousness; they lost their innocence and ability to live life freely as children of God.  We are told they hid themselves, ashamed and broken. 

Yet, we then read the most amazing thing.  God came walking in the cool of the evening as was his habit. God came toward Adam and Eve, seeking them out to fellowship and walk together as in the days before. 

We then read that God, the creator of heaven and earth and everything in it, the one who birthed every good thing we know, killed one of his creations in order to cover over the shame and nakedness and embarrassment, the self-consciousness and sense of condemnation that Adam and Eve were experiencing. 

And God has been coming toward us ever since.  Even though our sin may seem offensive to God, he takes no offence. It is impossible to offend God because offence lies in the heart of the offended. 

Proverbs 19:11,  Ephesians 4:1-16,  Proverbs 17:9

God emulates his scriptures where we read in Ephesians, 

“.. with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:2-3 NLT 

And we must not forget this amazing passage in Romans, 

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 

No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Romans 8:38-39 NLT

We know that we all have sin as the Apostle Paul testified, 

“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.” Romans 7:18

But, God says, 

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ Says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’ “   Jeremiah 29:11 NLT 

The heart of God is for us.  God is for you!  God is your solution.  God is the solution to our dying, chaotic, broken, weary, world.  Matthew 11:28;  Jeremiah 31:25;  Revelation 22:17 

As we read in Romans, 

“For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.  Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”   Romans 5:17-21 ESV

You see, God is bigger than your sin.  God’s love washes away a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

God took care of the sin problem some 2000 years ago.  

“He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”  1 John 2:2 NLT 

And so, we remain in expectation of God’s heart for us, over us, in us.  Jesus has done a great work for  us!  The gospel is NOT about what we do for God, but the gospel is about what God has done for us!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”  Ephesians 2:8 ESV

“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”  Romans 5:11 NLT 

All through time God has continued to come toward us.  The Bible is the story of God intersecting our human experience, meeting us as people in all our various contexts and cultures.  

God is always communicating to you and to I.  Jesus is our priest and Holy Spirit is our leader and guide.  Look to the Lord. Cry out to God.  Call on the name of the Lord and things will go well with you.  

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:6-8 ESV

God is on for you.  God loves you.  God is restoring you.  Call on the name of the Lord. 

Application

The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (really, love and light and life) spilled out for us on the cross of Calvary, is the investment of God in our freedom, healing, transformation, and protection in this world and in the spirit realm. 

We can choose to come under the blood covering of Christ, or we can refuse.  All this means, is to accept that Jesus Christ has taken care of the death requirement that sin always demands (and mightily overcame it with life!).

Within the covering of Christ we are saved and kept in God. Outside of the covering of Christ we are on our own and without the protection of the Lord and without new life. 

When we accept Jesus as Saviour we accept his covering.  To accept his covering we put down our own best efforts, our striving, and our law-based thinking and behaviour.  To receive Christ is to turn from our own keeping of law and religion. 

Jesus Christ came to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  We must get this. 

Religion says, “You must sacrifice” — Jesus says, “I am the sacrifice”  Hebrews 9:11-15

Religion says, “You must try harder” — Jesus says, “Rest in me”  Matthew 11:28-30

Religion says, “You have failed” — Jesus says, “I am making all things new”  Rev. 21:5

Religion says, “You must obey your pastor” (1) — Jesus says, “I am your priest”  Hebrews 7:15-28

Our part is to stop trying to make ourselves right with God.  We cannot.  Galatians 2:18-19. 

Instead, we enter into His rest.  We truly accept and receive deep into our inner being the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.  Galatians 5:4

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you answer these next questions:

“Holy Spirit I come in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ.  I ask that you would reveal to me where I am still trying to keep the law and to make things right on my own.  Show me my errors of self-effort and of refusing to come into your grace.  Amen”  (2)

Find a quiet place to sit before God.  Ask these questions one at a time, waiting to hear what the Holy Spirit wants to show you.  Then write down your response to each question. 

1.  Holy Spirit, where am I still trying to make things right with God? (3)

2.  Holy Spirit, is there something in my life that I think is too big for the grace of God? 

3.  Holy Spirit, what area of my life am I holding back from God? 

The answers to each of these things must be brought to the cross of Jesus Christ and left there. 

We bring our self efforts, we bring our striving, we bring our pride that would want to be good and right, and we enter into Christ, for he alone has made (and is making) all things right. 

Galatians 5:1 (4)

“Jesus I enter into the blood covering that you provide for me.  I put down my striving and my self efforts. I am sorry.  I move from law and religion to your salvation which has paid the price for me.  I am free and I ask that you bring your freedom and life to my heart in a new way today.  I enter into your rest in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Summary – the great expectation 

The gospel is the story of God loving and making away for the restoration of all people. 

Isaiah 42:1-4,  Jeremiah 29:11,  Luke 4:18

We are caught in sin and brokenness.    Romans 3:23,  Proverbs 6:16-19,  Romans 1:28-31

God comes toward us in forgiveness.   Isaiah 1:18,  1 John 1:9,  Isaiah 53:5

God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Romans 5:8,  Isaiah 40:28-31,  John 1:1-5

God offers himself as our sacrifice.   John 3:16,  1 John 2:2,  Revelation 1:5

When we accept Jesus we accept his help.   2 Corinthians 5:17,  John 5:24,  Psalm 23:3

In Jesus, and Jesus alone, we are renewed. 1 Corinthians 15:22,  Galatians 5:1,  

Ephesians 2:8-9

We stop trying to make our lives good.   Acts 13:39,  Romans 5:1-5,  Titus 3:5-7

We stop trying to keep the law.   Proverbs 3:5-6,  Galatians 3:3-10,  Ephesians 2:8

We live unto God.   Jeremiah 24:7,  Romans 10:4,  2 Peter 3:18

 

Footnotes:

  1. We must take the passage about obeying our leaders and weigh it against all other scripture. The primary heart of this passage is about receiving what our leaders have for us. It is encouraging us to have a heart that is eager to hear their perspective and to take their wisdom into account. Do our leaders have good stuff for us? Certainly. Do our leaders have our best in mind? Of course. But this does not mean that we are to obey them as children obey their parents. It is not this kind of relationship. Acts 5:29 And good leaders will not demand obedience from their people. They know that each person is accountable to the Lord for their unique calling and gifting and to weigh-in too heavily in matters that do not belong to them is to risk touching the glory of the Lord as it is revealed in each other. We take great care in telling others what to do or not to do for we know that when we are working with people we are on Holy ground before the Lord. At the same time, for those increasing in the things of the Lord you must have a mentor or mentors. Learn from those older than you, those more advanced in the things of the Kingdom of God. Your humility and ability to receive from others is part of your protection in the Lord. Do not rush ahead of those who have wisdoms to extend to your life and spiritual growth and ministry.
  2. Note: this is very important as you cannot know this yourself. 
  3. NOTE: there are right things to do, but we cannot make ourselves right with God, only he makes us right with him
  4. Take the time to read the entire book of Galatians

Capturing God’s Heart – Sabbath – Volume 38

It is hard taking a day of rest. There is this driving fear that would keep us working, working, working. Bills need to be paid, food needs to be bought; there is just always something that needs to be taken care of.

It is why it is so difficult to understand on a human level God’s rhythm, and command even, to take a weekly sabbath.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11

God, at the beginning of time, set into place a rhythm for our working and our resting. And while we do not any longer live under the law of the Old Testament, we do want to understand the principle behind this command; we want to know God’s heart and intention for us in this admonition to keep a sabbath.

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Capturing God’s Heart – Choose Christ – Volume 33

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17

God is always coming towards us, inviting us, wooing us, offering us himself to live by. In our natural state we are against God’s ways. In our humanness we would rather hate than love, condemn than receive.

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Grace Says

Some years ago now the Lord entered me into a vision. I was standing on the threshold of the universe and before me was the vast expanse of eternity with the entire thing packed down running over with grace; a heady, sweet, thick fragrance of our Lord. And I was given a dipper and given the privilege of dipping of this grace and distributing it all around the world. Dipping and pouring out grace here, dipping and pouring out grace there, again and again and again.

In the time since I’ve come to learn that grace is the awareness and deep knowledge that God is big enough for every single thing in our lives. Meaning, there is nothing beyond his grace, nothing beyond his compassion, nothing beyond his knowing and understanding.

Now, grace is not a pardon or a pass per se, its not a concession and it carries no grief or guilt. It demands no reckoning for the reckoning has already been done in the work of Jesus Christ. It is complete and free for the taking.

Grace is a mighty, active, alive, vibrant, work of our Lord that does not just relieve us from sin but changes the entire way we see and do life.

Where before we may have been fearful, pinched in our expectations, narrow in our thinking, grace introduces us to the expansive thought, perspective and heart of our God.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

The entire first chapter of Isaiah is a litany of the abhorrent attitudes and useless sacrifices of the people. They were not a changed people. Sure they continued making sacrifices and bringing burnt offerings but they did not enter into the transformation of the Lord.

And as the Lord lays this disastrous way of being out for them, nearly right smack in the middle is this verse, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” 

God in active, passionate investment of his very self has taken care of the problem. The only thing we must do, is admit we need the help, that we need him.

Continuing to bring our sacrifices and our burnt offerings proves we do not yet know our Lord. For our Lord is grace.

Continuing to try to make things right, to prove up, to do better next time, proves we do not yet know our Lord.

For our Lord is grace.

Grace says, “Stop trying so hard. Repent yes, and then rest in my work done for you. I’ve taken care of the divide between us. Put down every single thing that you hold between yourself and me. Put down your shame. Put down your self hatreds. Put down your guilt. Put down your disqualifications. I have made it right, I have made us right. Enter into me.”

What is Prayer?

In our society that has become very spiritual it is easy to mistake warm fuzzy feelings with prayer. Most everyone I know will send up prayers for those in need. We are wired to do this and it is one way to express our emotions regarding the situations and circumstances of others.

Within this I’ve known people who genuinely believe that as they send warm thoughts to another that this will make a difference for the person. That somehow in our warm cozy north american beds that warm thoughts sent out into the universe will put an end to poverty or sexual trafficking or …

This kind of thinking and belief comes across as most ridiculous in the wake of enormous tragedy such as the recent typhoon in the Philippines, the tsunamis in Japan, and earthquakes in India, just to name a few. In the face of photographs that mark unimaginable catastrophe it seems ridiculous to me to read responses such as “I’m sending positive thoughts your way.”

Really?

Now, for myself and in the work that I do I am often telling people in very dire straights that I am praying for them. Sometimes I wonder how lame this must sound and feel. Sometimes, in light of the huge need, it feels that I am no different than these folks who send warm positive thoughts.

And yet I know it is different.

It is different because true prayer is grounded in a person. True prayer reckons on God who is bigger and mightier than us. Prayer that makes a difference acknowledges our own lack and the Lord’s own greatness. My warm fuzzy thoughts will not make a difference for anyone.

Prayer after all is hard work. I’m not so sure that positive thoughts are hard work unless one calls willful denial hard. For prayer doesn’t push away difficulty and pain and loss and grief but instead draws them into the heart and lays them before God.

Prayer isn’t about setting aside all potential negative results from our mind rather it is about entering into and bringing those very things into the throne room of heaven and advocating solutions and peace instead. Prayer is about agreeing with our Lord that the assignments unto death have no power any longer.

Sometimes its about speaking these things out, sometimes its about carrying these things in our being as though birthing a great desire. Prayer is participation in all that has gone wrong and in all that can be made right. Prayer doesn’t deny tragedy and it doesn’t deny goodness, it holds both firmly together and in that dichotomy of all that we know makes a space for God to work.

But unless we have agreed in our own personal lives to life instead of death, to God’s ways instead of Satan’s ways, unless we have come under the covering of the Lord Jesus Christ personally, it is pretty hard to advocate life for another if we’ve not even found it for ourselves.

It’s pretty hard to advocate peace for others until we’ve found it ourselves; pretty hard to declare solutions unless we know the solution maker. For belief isn’t just for belief sake. Belief is grounded in the person of Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the presence of our Holy Spirit.

Prayer here, in this context, is a powerful thing indeed.

It’s so much more than positive (may I say wishful) thinking.

Prayer after all isn’t about us. It’s not about how positive or sympathetic we can be.

Prayers that make a difference do so because they acknowledge the One who can make a difference.

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16b

The Power of Lament

At each church I visited in Mozambique there was time given for testimony from their people. After all the singing and before the message the women would sing until someone stood to share at which time they would stop singing. As soon as the person was finished their few sentences the women would start in singing once more. This rhythm of song and sharing was repeated until each person who wanted had shared.

I visited 9 churches and they were all the same in this regard. Even the songs being sung were similar in style and cadence except for one church. In Mutarara it was different.

When I had first arrived in the area it was after sun-set. I was given a seat and all around and before me were the children sitting. They had been waiting for me and once I arrived they drew in close.

Now in a land with no lights after dark I sorta shine like a glow-worm with my one little bit of flashlight. At least I assume I do. As for the ones around me I couldn’t see them whatsoever. I could tell though that the boys in front of me were scolding and hitting and jostling each other.

At first I was horrified. Gosh, they hate each other I thought. But over the course of my few days there I realized that Mutarara is just a hard land and the people themselves were hard to match; strength for strength, stamina for stamina. And it showed up in their song during testimony time.

The women broke into song as I’d seen everywhere else, but their song was a deep mournful lament.

It was beautiful and stunning. It felt more real to me than all of the happy upbeat songs I’d heard everywhere else. It rang more true and captured the difficulty of the land and the lives who lived there.

I was reminded how much I love lament and of the beauty woven through an honesty of sorrow. It caught my heart and I so wish I had recorded their song on my phone.

All I could do was bask in the beauty of their honest hearts before the Lord, a common reckoning of difficulty and its ability to strengthen us and to in fact make us glad.

Lament is an important part of our experience in this life. After all Christ himself was a man of sorrows. Will we join him?

Some years ago I knew a woman who was dying. She had an inoperable disease and was simply facing each new day with a strength that only comes when someone is facing death.

In the midst of her last few months she confided to me, “I look back over my life and I realize all the things I have not cried over, and now I don’t have the time.”

And in these few simple words is the truth to the power and beauty of lament, of tear, of grief. How it must be undergone in this life or we’ve lost our chance.

Where might you lament today?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

Who’s the Boss?

As with any para-church organization, as with any start-up of any sort, as with any new church plant, we at Capturing Courage have been walking through financial challenges and lessons for awhile now. And we have learned a lot of things.

I used to shy away from money matters. Money used to frighten me and there was always a sense of confusion about how to navigate choices and decisions regarding money. But of course this didn’t do me any good whatsoever. I used to think that the answer to this confusion would be to have more money. After all, if I wasn’t hindered in my choices perhaps I wouldn’t be so confused.

But large infusions of money are never the answer. I know this now. For if we are not competent in the little we won’t be competent in the much. These last few years have seen us becoming competent in the little. And it’s been a really good thing.

In the midst of the last couple of years a few definitive things have been sorted out within my own being that are now impacting the character and nature of us at CCI (as in any organization the leader sets the tone and standard and growth – the organization won’t grow beyond the leaders growth).

The first thing the Lord did was to separate my sense of self from money. In other words, who I am has nothing to do with, takes no bearing from, where our money is at at any given time. Meaning, if I had debt (I learned this in the midst of debt) I was not a less-than person. God poured into me his love and grace and comfort and leading just the same in debt as in much.

This was the work of many painful months (as the Lord dismembered my unholy soul ties with money – I was way too associated with money), looking back I wouldn’t undo this. For this separation then set into place the ability to have much without it making any statement about myself as well. And as we go forward within the many promises and assurances from the Lord that there is plenty of money for the work called of us it is imperative that much does not speak of us but speaks of our Lord.

In other words, I am the same person whether in want or in wealth. This was a critical first thing to learn and something I learned down to the marrow of my bones. As Paul wrote in Philippians, ” for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” 4:11-12

This journey with money has simply been a process of removing ego from the mix. In any of the things we are called to, but particularly within the spirit realm, there must not be anything of us in the mix. Meaning, where we are in the flesh we are weak and prone to compromise and confusion (and outright attack). Where we are in the spirit things are clear and systematic, genuine and true investments in the kingdom of God.

Ego particularly shows up in money decisions. I recently received a text from one of our Ugandan pastors who was expecting me in January. I had let him know that we had made the decision that I would not travel there in January for a number of reasons. His reply was laden thick with disappointment and it caught at my heart.

All of a sudden, where one day before I was so sure that I wasn’t to travel, I now desperately wanted to head there in January. But upon further study of my heart I realized that there was still woven through me this lie and feeling of being a disappointment. I went before the Lord with it, did some business alongside the spirit, wept and prayed it through, and have come out the other side freer than before.

You see, if our decisions are laden with our own ego and the lies and such woven there, our decisions will be bad ones. And we will end up ineffective and unproductive in the work at hand.

We have made it very clear in our statements about how we decide when and where to travel and that we move according to the Holy Spirit only. We don’t go with our best ideas or anyone else’s for that matter. Yet right there in the midst of feeling a disappointment all of the careful movement with the spirit was almost thrown out the window.

For, with the spirit + not disappointing = really bad decision making.

Ego had to be removed once more from the equation. Money matters and the decisions around them highlight where our ego’s remain in the mix. For in my need (notice, my need, not the Lords) to not disappoint I was ready to bombard our donors for more money and to ‘make it happen’ for January in Uganda.

But in this I would have violated so many of the things we have learned. For instance:

1. Do with what we have.

2. God is not in a rush.

3. Faithful with a little.

4. Trust the timing of each trip.

5. Slow steady growth is best.

6. Do not move with the programs of men.

7. Rest in the Lord and he will provide.

And quite frankly, if the only way we can follow the leading of the Lord and understand his timing is by the money at hand or not at hand, we are still crippled as leaders. If the only thing that tells us that ‘yes now it is time to go to such and such a place’ is the money available we are sunk.

It’s one of the other things I’ve been learning and that must still be fully realized in my being, that money is a non-entity. That in the kingdom of God money holds no more power than a flea on the ground. It is us who give way too much power to money. It is us who exaggerate its voice.

To truly move by the Spirit would be the ability (for us at CCI) to hold back even with much money in the bank. For are we making rational decisions alongside the spirit or emotional decisions alongside money?

Our hearts want to go everywhere today. As we continue building and investing and showing up in relationship after relationship my own heart is torn and tested time and again. We cannot go everywhere at once. I’m not even so sure we can go everywhere in this coming year. So how do we decide?

What I do know, is that we wait on the leading and the guiding of the Holy Spirit. We put aside our own best thoughts and wisdoms and we truly wait. Then, when the Lord says, ‘Go’, then we go, and not before. At the same time when the Lord says, ‘Go’ we make our plans in the provision of the Lord even if we cannot see it all at the front end.

Money is simply passion and energy and vision and we call it forth in surrender and service to the leading of our Lord. The lack of it will not lead us, the much of it will not lead us. Rather, we are led by the Spirit of our Living God.

As we surrender again and again to this way of being alongside our Lord we create a space, we lead the way, we set the stage, we model to money that it too must surrender to this way. Money must also bow itself to the timing and direction of our Lord here at CCI.

Amen and amen in the name and the blood of our Living Lord Jesus Christ.

With all glory to you Father.