Posts tagged ‘Grace’

Change Your Sound pt 5

Psalm 16:11- in your presence is fullness of joy

Acts 3:19- repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be washed away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of The Lord.

We need the presence of God, because it brings fullness of joy and refreshment. This is why we need to change our sound, so that we may experience the manifested presence of God.

Isaiah 6:1-4- in the year that King Uzziah died, I saw The Lord, high and exalted. Seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above Him were seraphim, each with 6 wings: two covering their faces, two covering their feet, and two for flying. And they were calling to one another: ” holy holy holy is The Lord Almighty…..”

Three things happen when we are in Gods presence

1. We see how BIG God is. –

2 chronicles 26:14-15 describes how good a king Uzziah was. He was skilled creating ways to help his armies. Thus, his fame spread far and wide.

At the end of his rule though, full of pride, he walked into the temple of The Lord, and begins to burn incense to The Lord. The priests freaked out and tried to stop him, but Uzziah didn’t listen. He felt like he could worship God however he wanted. Immediately, he broke out in leprosy. He saw his mistake., and was declared unclean. So he had to live the rest of his life away from the people.

This is often true of us- that we think we can worship God however we wish, instead of by the statutes that God has given us. We should be humble before God. Our hearts should be in the right place. In worship, God doesn’t judge our sin. He judges our hearts.

So, Uzziah died, and Isaiah goes into the temple to mourn him. But in the midst of this, He saw God. While he thought Uzziah was big, He realized at that moment how BIG God really was. He saw the majesty and splendor of His glory. This is why we need to be in church. We constantly need reminding of how BIG God’s presence is. This is why Satan fights us so horribly on Sunday mornings. He needs us to stay away from seeing The Lord. When god is showing up in our services, we too will say that “we have seen The Lord. ” If he can keep us from the presence of God, he has done his job well. We can’t let him win.

2. We see how small we really are.

Isaiah 6:5-“Woe to me,” I cried, ” I am ruined! For I am unclean, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, Lord Almighty!”

In God’s presence, we see how small we really are. We see every area of our lives for what it really is. Once we see god, though, our problems become so small. Our concerns shrink. In this scripture, we see the angels declaring how holy God truly is, and we see just how unholy we really are. We can’t become holy by ourselves either.

In Rev 4;8- John has a vision of the living creatures, again, declaring God’s holiness.

Psalm 22:3- “but You are holy God.”

It’s ok for us to see our sin and imperfections when we are in God’s presence. He has no issues with our sin. He DOES have an issue with someone who is not upfront about their sin.

When I’m in God’s presence, my eyes are open to the things God wants to change my life.

3. We see how GOOD GOD is.

His very nature is His goodness.

Isaiah 6:7- then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hands, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it, he touched my tongue and said,” see, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

in His presence, we see our sin, but we also see His goodness, and how His grace has atoned for all of our sin and imperfections. He purges our sin. He strengthens us to be holy. He is not trying to make us feel guilty, but He wants to shower us with his goodness.

Psalms 103:12- as far as the east is from the west, so far Has He removed our transgressions from us.

Our redemption and atonement is not based on our performance. It’s based on His goodness and His love. We can only experience God’s grace when we humble ourselves.

Isaiah 1;18- come now and let us settle the matter, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be as red as crimson, they shall be like wool”

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Living in the Zone: How is my Heart

Luke 6:37-38- judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your lap. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

If you want more of God,

4 things that keep our heart in the right place:

1. Deal with a selfish heart.

Deut. 15:9- be careful not to harbor wicked thoughts: the seventh year , the year for canceling debts, is near. So that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to The Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

First off, wicked thoughts are not bad in themselves. It’s acting on those thoughts and being lead by them. We have to realize that we don’t give to get. We give to please God. We give so that God can change our hearts. Sure there are blessings involved in giving, but the blessing should never be the purpose for our giving. The reason He wants us to learn to give is so at we can be more like Him.

2. God wants to deal with our grieving heart

Deu. 15:10- do not be grieved when you give, because for this thing the Lord will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.

Selfishness will attack you before you give. Grief will attack you after you give. God doesn’t want us to regret what we give, but to walk away in freedom knowing that we have done His will. In order for us to get to a place where we can give without grieving, we have to realize that everything belongs to God. Anything good we relieve in life comes from God. When we operate in knowing that everything belongs to God, we can give freely back to Him by giving to others. It’s how we thank Him for blessing our lives. When you truly believe that God is your source, it eliminates the grieving process. When we believe that He is our source, our perspective changes.

3. Develop a generous heart.

Deu. 15:14- you shall supply him liberally …
Luke 6:32-36- but if you only love those who love you, what credit is that to you? …….but love your enemies. Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great; and you will be a son of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful….therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful.

In doing this, it breaks the miser spirit.

4. Develop a grateful heart.

Deu. 15:15- you shall remember st you were a slave in Egypt, and The Lord redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.

We must remember what God has forgiven us for, how he has sustained us, how much grace He has shown us…then it becomes easy to give our lives away to others.

It’s Already There!!!

Isaiah 61:3- “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison door to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness..”

 

Luke 4:16-22-“So He cane to Nazareth where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him and marveled at the gracious words, which proceeded out of His mouth. “

 

Jesus told his disciples that the works that He did while He was with them would be the same works and greater that they would do by the power of the Holy Spirit if they believed. Keep that in mind in light of the two verses above. I’m one of those people who believe everything that the Bible says. I believe everything that Jesus says. Thus, I believe Him when He says that we will do greater things. Now, that implies that we already have found favor with God. It implies that we already are anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit if we have received Him.

 

I think we waste so much time praying and asking God for the very thing that He has already given us. We ask for favor. We pray for anointing. Double portions of anointing. We pray for more power. I believe that God has equipped us with all of the favor, anointing, and power that we need to ruin every one of Satan’s schemes. When Jesus stood up in the synagogue and took that scroll from the attendant, he searched for that specific prophecy to read. It was not by accident. By the same token, I believe that it is no accident that this is found in 2 places in the Bible. Jesus fulfilled that prophecy many times over, but I believe that those words are still active until Jesus comes back again. So, what does that mean?

 

It means that you and I have been anointed by the Spirit of God to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to give sight to the blind, to proclaim liberty to the oppressed, etc. Don’t believe me? In Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples, he tells them to go into all of the world and preach the gospel, and as they went forth preaching and baptizing, signs would follow them. They would cast out demons, heal the sick, be bitten by snakes and not poisoned. Basically, he summarized the same prophecy from Isaiah that He astounded the synagogue dwellers with. He put it into their hands. They didn’t have to pray for it. As soon as they were filled by the Spirit, they went right fulfilling the work that they had been charged to do.  Nowhere do we read after that, that they spent time asking for more power or for more anointing. They just did the work, and as they did the work, the power, favor, and anointing came out of them.  Sure, they waited on the Spirit to direct them, but they were forward thinking and forward moving, intent on accomplishing everything that they could while there was still breath in their lungs!

 

I used to spend so much time on my knees, begging God for favor and anointing to change the world for Him. Standing in prayer lines to receive a prayer from the Pastor that would somehow change my life and make me a superhero for God. Maybe some of you have done it as well.  I’ve seen people on television charging money for items that are sure to “unlock God’s power in your life, or reveal God’s destiny for your life.” Ugh, it makes me sick to my stomach. As the magician in Acts learned, you can not purchase the Spirit of God. All you need is to receive the Spirit of God and allow Him to do His perfect work in your life.  While I was listening to a song yesterday, God hit me so hard with the fact that it’s already in us. It’s in us. Favor is in us. Grace is within us. Anointing is within us. Love is within us. And all of this is made possible because the Spirit of God is within us. So, all we have to do it just get to work! Do the work, and the power will show itself. Do the work, and the gifts will follow.

 

Man, this just makes me excited. Let’s get busy!

I Choose to Love

I’ve come to a decision on one of my beliefs. It kind of happened last week while I was showering. I can’t remember what I was thinking about, or maybe I was praying. Who knows. At any rate, this kind of hit me, and I believe it was God speaking to my heart, but I won’t say with 100% certainty that it was. As you know, I’m skittish about saying “Thus says the Lord”, and all of that jazz. I’ve seen too many people burned by it. So here goes my thinking…

 

Jesus was not tolerant. Jesus simply loved.

 

In itself, I don’t think this is anything groundbreaking for anyone. I mean, we all know Jesus loved. We sing the song from the time that we are kids, “Yes, Jesus Loves Meeeeeeeeee”. Yet, I also believe that there is something profound about this truth. The world that we live in today stresses tolerance. We must be tolerant of other people’s belief systems, or the ways in which they choose to live their lives. Sometimes to me it seems that in our striving to be tolerant and politically correct, we compromise what we truly believe. This wasn’t Jesus. People knew where He stood on everything. He was not tolerant. He just simply loved us.  Check out this definition:

 

Tolerance (noun)- a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, religion, nationality, etc differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

 

Fair, objective, permissive. Doesn’t this sound like our world? And while I can understand the need to not judge, because the Bible tells us this, I can’t help but think that we use that scripture as a basis for not standing up for the Gospel. I know that I have no room to speak ill against anyone for anything. God’s grace is too powerful for me to even be that ignorant. I’m merely saying that Jesus was not fair, objective, or permissive. Jesus spoke the truth, because He loved! Jesus came to teach us that God’s grace demanded more of us than the law ever could. This is why Jesus says that He did not come to repeal the law. If we are Christians, the Law of Grace pushes and presses us towards higher standards than the law can even hope to aspire too. This is why it is so important for us to understand what power love can have when we do it as Christ IS it. When we love others as Christ does, then we understand the flaws that we have, but we also see the opportunity for grace to abound. When we love others as Christ does, we can look at lives not as reflections of a sinful world, but as Christ intended that life to be when He created it. When we truly learn to love, tolerance is the least of our worries, because we understand that fairness has nothing to do with grace. Objectivity has nothing to do with grace. Permissiveness has nothing to do with grace.

 

God was not objective when He decided that He would save us all. He was focused only on the fact that He loved us fiercely. He was not fair, either. Fair would be leaving us to die. Justice demands it. He is not permissive of our sin. He simply loves us. And in His unfailing love, He demands that we live our lives in the same manner, not dismissing sin, not nodding our heads in approval to the ills of this world, but also not turning our noses up at people who are different from us. His love demands that we accept all in love, and allow His Spirit to change them.  To me, tolerance is simply a false pretense. It’s nodding your head, but closing off your heart. I don’t want to be tolerant. I want to love.

 

Lord, search my heart. Find the areas of my life where I have tolerated sin and chosen not to deal with it. Open my eyes to the areas of life where I have tolerated people, and not loved them. Forgive me for not living up to your will in this area, and help me, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to love as You love me- without regard for anything else aside from the fact that you LOVE me. You have not called me to be tolerant, but to love. And as I love, YOU will do the work that needs to be done in the lives that you send me out to. I thank you, Father. Amen.

 

Until next time, be blessed.

Lucky Ones?

Christian Hip Hop Artist Lecrae has an album called Gravity. To me, it is an exploration of the many ways in which sin acts like gravity and  hold us down, keeping us from seeing and reaching higher heights in the fashion that Christ died for us to achieve. There are many noteworthy songs on the album, but I would really like to draw attention to this song, “Lucky Ones”. Here is the link, followed by the lyrics:

“Lucky Ones”

Hook (Rudy Currence):
When it’s all said and done
You and I are the lucky ones
We fought many
And we’ll fight the night until we see the sun
We are the lucky ones
We are the lucky ones
We are here

Verse 1 (Lecrae):
Under the sun, I found we were left to drown
Evil abounds, weight is pullin’ us down
No sight or sound, impaired to His care
Chasing after the wind, running after the air
Deserving of desertion, servants of destruction
And everyday we taste of a grace that we’re unconcerned with
My sin I should be burned with, I’m guilty, filthy, and stained
But He became a curse, drank my cup and took my pain
And for that he reigns, through faith I’m changed
And I don’t have a reason why he loosened up my chains
I don’t believe in luck; I believe in Grace
But they say we’re lucky cause we seen your face
And we heard Him call us, and He heard our answer
And He gives us second chances when we throw our hands up
So weary and broken, hopin’ His arms will be open
Unconditional love has got us locked into focus
(I guess we the luck ones, huh?)

Hook:

Verse 2 (Lecrae):
You’re greater than my shame, guilt, my doubt, and my past
Fortunate to trust in you cause I’ve doubted your plans
I’ve questioned your ways, every question I raised
Is foolishness compared to mountains, the wind, and the waves
You’re so mindful of us, we rise from the dust
You love these cheating, beating hearts and these eyes full of lust
Gave us power to fight it, though we cower in quiet
We have the faith to start a riot; how can we deny it?
Fire inside us that you kindle when it starts to dwindle
And simply put I’m sinful so your love is essential
I don’t believe in luck, no, I believe in Grace
But they say we lucky cause we seen your face
Lord, we heard you call us, You heard our answer
And you give us second chances when we throw our hands up
I’m weary and broken, but your arms will be open
Unconditional love has got us locked into your focus

Bridge (Rudy Currence):
See, I’m not sayin’ I’m always right
And I ain’t sayin’ that I’m perfect
And I know I don’t deserve it
But I’m glad I got this life
I’m glad that I got it
And it makes me a lucky one

 

I feel the Holy Spirit so strongly on this song. It’s weird. I’ve listened to hip hop, specifically Christian hip hop for a long time, and while I have always loved it, I have not found a song that speaks so to the heart of God as this one. I listen to it every day, sometimes twice or three times per day. There is just so much richness and encouragement here. I especially love the part of verse two where Lecrae raps,

“You love our cheating, beating hearts, and these eyes full of lust”
Have you every stopped to think of the magnitude of grace that has been extended to us from God? To me, that line sums up the human race. We cheat on God with other lovers in the same way that Gomer cheated on Hosea. Our lovers take multiple forms, each one a god that infringes on the territory that we say that we set aside for the one, true God. Our eyes can find things on a daily basis that threaten to tear our focus away from God. We look at bills and despair not having the money to pay them. We look at our present circumstances and despair not being where we want to be. We look at others and compare our plights with theirs, growing angry with God when we think we are serving him better, but are blessed far less. I know I’m not the only one who deals with this kind of ingratitude!

But the fact remains is that if Old Testament people could see us now, they would call us the lucky ones. Why? Because God has revealed Himself to us in a personal way. No longer is he kept behind a curtain in a stuffy, dusty room. No longer are the works of His Holy Spirit confined to outward manifestations. No longer do we have to depend on lambs and cattle to receive atonement month after month and year after year. No longer do we have to depend on a priest to be the sole way to approaching God. They would marvel at what we have.

Yet what we have is not luck. It’s grace. And I know that we sometimes are loose in our lingual descriptions, but there is no such thing as luck. There is God’s will, and there is our will. The wages of our will usually lead to death of some sort. The rewards of God’s will are more than we can count. And even as we many times take for granted what we have as opposed to what the Old Testament people had, God loves us. He is still jealous for us. His love is still surrounding us, ready at the drop of a dime to completely consume us if we are open and willing to receive it.

All of this and more; that’s what I hear and feel in this song. Gratitude for a grace that abounds. Gratitude for forgiveness that surpasses atonement. Awe for a love that defies any explanation that we can come up with in our limited human language. This song places me in complete awe of my God. I’m so undeserving, but He still loves me. I hope you all can enjoy this song for the message that it conveys as much as I do. Yeah, I know not everyone likes and can understand hip hop, but the words really speak for themselves.

Until next time, be blessed.