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Monday, June 26, 2017

Expectations Kill

"All my hope is in You, God"  great lyrics to a great song.
No one I know is actually living that out.

If all my hope is truly in God, I would have no expectations on others, and I would live from a place of faith and trust in the God, who I know to be, faithful and true.

No expectations, I don't expect you to treat me fairly, or nicely, or courteously.  I don't expect my day to go the way I planned or hoped.

I don't expect you to meet my needs.

You are set free from my expectations and I am set free because I don't live with any expectations on you.

Love, unconditional love can finally grow.  It cannot grow with the choking, light stealing, nutrition stealing vine of expectations curled tightly around it squeezing out freedom and joy.  Expectations can always find a way to feel, let down, disappointed, discouraged, angry, and depressed.  Each one of these is centered on self, how they treated me, made me feel, hurt me.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Be Still, Cease Striving, Drop Your Hands,

Day 5 at camp.  God kept it very simple, by referring to Psalm 46, and taking us to a place of rest.  Maintain the relationship with God at all costs.  Rest and trust in Him to work through your yielded vessel.  Micah 6:8 clearly states what God expects.  "do justice" only He knows all the background and history of any situation, only His life can do it.  "Love kindness" His love flowing through us, "walk humbly with your God".  The beginning, middle and end of the answer to the question, Now what? for the person who is newly born again is, maintain your close relationship with God.  From that place of relationship, His life will flow through you. 

Day 6, my last day, because God had me give away Friday to a woman who is working on staff who has been specifically named, by at least 3 other staff in their testimonies as a person they relied on during a hard time. We looked at the ways that Satan works in his kingdom as contrasted with how things work in the Kingdom of God. 
The Loser rules through, power/control, threat and manipulation.
The Kingdom of God is about weakness, surrender and trust.  Deut. 32:36, "When He sees that their strength is gone".  Daniel 12:7, "When they come to the end of their power."  Rev. 12:11, "They love not their lives unto the death." 
It is a blessing to come to the place, the knowledge of our absolute weakness, because it is from that place and only that place that God can work.  Refusing to use our own power, and by faith connecting to/trusting in His power and life, all the glory goes to our faithful God.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From Gomer to chosen, holy, and dearly loved!

Day 4 at camp, 2nd part of the series, Who is God?  Who are we?  Now what?
Who are we?
We started with words you almost never here in Sunday School, "Turn to the book of Hosea."
We reviewed what God called Hosea, whose name means salvation, to do.
Go and marry a prostitute!
We saw that this was God giving a living, breathing picture of His amazing love!
Gomer, the prostitute, has one child to Hosea, one child to another man, and another child, 3 in all.
Then Gomer runs away and returns to her old lifestyle.
In Chapter 3 God says to Hosea, go get her and buy her back.  Gomer is his wife, he never divorced her, she ran away, why does he have to buy her back?  Amazing love!  Salvation is all of Him and none of us!
We turned to Chapter 14 and read the end of verse 3 and verse 4.  "For in You the fatherless finds mercy.”
I will heal their apostasy,
I will love them freely,
For My anger has turned away from them."                                             
God promises here to heal their apostasy, which is a full turning away from God.  Amazing Love

Lastly we looked at Col. 3:12 in light of the fact that before salvation we are Gomer, what are we after salvation.
We are Chosen By God, Holy-set apart for Him, and Dearly Loved!

Amen and Amen.
Pray that God takes these truths deep into the hearts of everyone at camp!

God describing God

Day 3 at camp, started a 3 part series.  Who is God?  Who are we?  Let's go!

In Exodus 34:6,7   God describes Himself.  Well you can't get much more direct than that, so we read it.  "The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.” "

I emphasized when God says "slow to anger" it is far more amazing and big than when we say, slow to anger.  With the Ammonites, it took about 400 years!  Then we looked at the mercy hidden in visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children.  I personally know of a man saved from alcoholism when his 3 year old daughter looked at him with tears in her eyes and said, "Why are you doing this daddy?"  Seeing that your sin is affecting those you love, may be the thing that wakes you up.

Next we looked at Micah 7:18  "Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity
And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in unchanging love."
Seeing the amazing love that even has an answer for rebellious acts, intentional acts, and seeing that if we can think of things that we delight in, then consider that God delights in unchanging love, we are beginning to get a true picture of the God we serve. 

Once again sitting on a hillside at camp with about 60 young people and their counselors, what a privilege!  Thank you God of unchanging love!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Life Giving Water for Your Desert

Day 2 at camp.
Shared what I consider to be the key to maintaining a close walk with the Lord.  At the start of your day (whenever that happens to be) stop and give Him some time.   Every day we start as a dry desert, and I shared these scriptures; Isaiah 35:1-6, 40:3, 4, 51:3.  We need His life giving water.  If you start out dry and do not seek water you will continue to be dry and you will say and do things that you should not do, and you will not be in a position to give away the water (love) that you have received.
Then I gave this example of a simple early morning time with God.
"I know You love me God, the cross is proof of that.
    You are my defender today.
       My expectations are on You, not on other people - when people let me down, and they will, help me to put my focus back on You.
Jesus help me to see other people with Your eyes and speak to them with Your words. 
         You have done everything that needs done - even in the midst of my activity help me to res in You."

Short and to the point, such a blessing to share truth with 66 youth and their counselors.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mary, Don't cling to me!

Today is the first day of "camp".  This guy, who never went to church camp, and who hasn't done anything with teens in about 14 years has been given the opportunity to speak to and hopefully with, 8th and 9th graders all this week.  God willing I will post an overview of what I intend to focus on.

Mary Magdalene is only shown doing two things in scripture, sitting at the feet of Jesus or looking for Jesus.  She did not shy away from the horror of the crucifixion and saw with her own eyes, her Savior's agonizing death on the cross.  Early on that resurrection morning all she was looking for was Jesus' body, His dead lifeless body.  Then she heard His voice, speaking her name.  Her eyes were blinded by hot tears of sorrow and disappointment, but her ears clearly heard the voice of her Beloved.  How many times in the last 3 days had she gone over her regrets?  She couldn't even give voice to words of hope, "If I ever see Him again...", but now, it was Him and she knew it.  I picture her throwing herself at His feet and wrapping herself around His knees and grabbing a hold of Him so tight that a cobra that saw her doing it would be jealous.  She had let Him go once and that was never going to happen again. 
Jesus made her a priority, interrupting His trip back to the Father to comfort her, to commission her, she was "sent out" by Jesus with a specific message.  Apostle means sent one. 
Now come the words that I picture being spoken as a command, because without a command from Him, she was never, ever going to voluntarily let go.
"Stop clinging to me!"  He had to say it, she was using all her strength to keep a hold of Him.
Worship looks like this.  Do you see any of this on a typical Sunday morning?
Mary breathed in grace and forgiveness from Jesus and she breathed out gratitude and praise.
This is our model of behavior.
We have the Holy Spirit to enable us to always connect to Jesus.  Do we "cast aside all hindrances" to get to Him?  Do you give the first part of your day to Him?  Nothing else matters, and the path to growing closer to Him involves knowing who He is, which leads to knowing who you are, which leads to overflowing love for Him and for others,

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Away With You

The truck my brother sat in the bed of when he committed suicide, was taken away to a junk yard today.  The lot where it was impounded after the police investigation, did not want it, so I had to drive it "home" to our old house, and it has sat there waiting for legal stuff to be handled, before it could be disposed of. 
He never liked it.  It was a Ford and he was a Chevy man, he only got it because once years ago I had borrowed his Chevy truck after a heavy snow and rolled it on its side damaging the whole side of the truck.  He repaired everything with putty and paint and the poor thing looked like the two-face character from Batman with one side nice and one side messed up bad.  So eventually he had to replace that Chevy and the only thing he could find  was this blue Ford, so he got it, only intending to keep it, until, he could find a Chevy.

He never did find one.

He had told people his legs were bothering him and he wouldn't be able to cut their grass this year, but that was the only clue we had that anything was wrong.

Dead air, that is what they call it when a radio station has silence being broadcast.  Paul Simon in his "The Sound of Silence" song speaks of superficial communication that creates emptiness.  True communication is intimate, revealing, vulnerable, accepting.  It is a rare gift in this world, and the Satanic plan is to make it more and more rare.

So AWAY WITH YOU old nasty truck of death
and AWAY WITH YOU superficial communication.

God help us, make us a people who have true, intimate communion with You, and with each other, and in that LOVE we will make You known.

 "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another"  John 13:35

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ministry of John the Baptist

To bring the mountains down low...
Live a life of humility and gratitude for grace and those who are puffed up will see and know the true way to God.
To bring up the valleys...
Live a life of faith and trust and those who are ruled by fear and anxiety will see and know the God who is faithful and true, and can be trusted at all times.
Rough ground become level...
Live a life that does not waver when hard times come and many will see God is always with us, not just during the smooth and pleasant part of the journey but ALWAYS!

We let His life and His love flow through us and it attracts others to HIM.  We lay our life down for others and they can see there is a better way.  We hope in God, and He reveals Himself as faithful and true.

We love others, with the love that He first loved us.

Pretty simple.