June 23rd, 2015
Just a couple of thoughts from last night at the convention that I am mulling over this morning...
- Grace can become a tool that helps us forget those things that are behind us and press toward those things that are before us. As we are in the anointing God looses the moorings and those things just float away until they are out of sight. It is not something that is automatic. God does it. I am praying He will do it for people to free them experientially from their past so they can move forward by faith in freedom.
- The things we seek are 'above' things and they are just out of our natural reach but the presence of God brings them to us so we sense them and experience them. When we don't feel them we reach for them by faith. These 'above' things are throne relationship things. They are in Jesus. They are with Jesus. Jesus is with us. We won't find them with the mind alone but we find them because He has found us.
June 25th, 2015
A few more thoughts from convention 2015...
- What were men like Moses doing when they went down on the ground and 'fell on their face' in the OT? What did they find there? Who did they find there? Really, It was a kind of surrender but not a surrender to the circumstance or to a mortal person. They surrendered to God down there on their face.
"They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, 'You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?'
When Moses heard it, he fell on his face," - Numbers 16:3-4 ESV
No argument with people. Moses didn't just walk on ignoring the conflict. He exercised ultimate humility and meekness and submitted to God. Wow.
Jesus hung on the cross but He was a man 'on his face' doing it. He refused to give a fallen argument. Amazing.
- The beatitudes came alive to me in last night's message.
"And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.' " - Matthew 5:2-13 ESV
These are are not the declarations of self. Grace does this in a person as their new man is ignited to think with God. Grace reveals the blessing on us in our human poverty. Grace reveals and produces meekness. We have a different hunger and thirst. Grace and mercy go hand in hand. The blood purifies and is applied by grace. A peacemaking ministry is possible. We can fall on our face when reviled and attacked. Joy is coming in those times.
What a blessing the messages have been this year. I want to get the audio of what I've missed. There is a living expectation that lingers with me this morning for the prayers prayed with people. It is a unique time. What a privilege it is to be involved and present.
June 27th, 2015
The June convention in Baltimore has always been an interesting time of year. In many years past God has used this time to speak to me and change my life somehow. People are present that you may only see once a year... or once a decade. The conversation and messages are rich and at times just goofy and full of joy.
In years past I have prayed and asked God to speak to me, lead me or just plain heal me during convention. What He ended up doing was very rarely what I expected. This year was as unique as any other year has been.
I didn't ask God to give me anything this time and many times felt out of sync with what was going on. I would have a 'divine appointment' with someone and then minutes later I would find myself bringing a cup of coffee to someone who had gone who knows where. Ten minutes into the messages I found myself drifting and having to force my body into stillness and settle my restless legs. I liked what was being said and got some amazing gem from each message but found it hard to stay on track. Some of the music so enraptured me that I can still enter back into those moments as if they are happening right now.
God has spoken to me in many ways over the years. This year it was important to me to live in reality and not fantasy. If I got something from God I wanted it to be 'real' and not some confirmation or denial of a self contrived religious notion that would lead me down a road I was unsuited to travel on.
I hope you understand what I mean. Things can seem romantic but the glamour fades quickly when we go into things with rose colored glasses. I don't know about you but I have entered into 'faith ventures' where I have crashed and burned and it is not pleasant. You stumble from the wreckage bruised and limping and begin to flinch from the thought of ever going back. It's kind of like saying, 'I'll never love anyone again' after a terrible heartbreak. It is a stupid thing to say but if you are hurt deeply enough it sound more reasonable than getting hurt again.
Anyway... In the midst of my out-of-syncness there were these amazing moments of clarity and that is how God spoke to me this year. Much of what was said was personal and I won't share it here but a very key thing happened last night at about midnight while standing and talking to some friends in the parking lot as the band was wrapping things up and loading up equipment into their vehicle.
One of these friends is a missionary Pastor in India and He was talking about prayer and demonic activity and how much more common it is in India to see people who 'have demons' then it is here. This Pastor is a very kind rational person by the way. He isn't looking for a demon under every rock and is actually very reluctant to get involved in such cases because it is dirty business. He would rather just love people up than deal with that stuff. But, That among other things has taught Him the power of prayer and the security he has in the name of Jesus. He spoke about how prayer is so important in any venture and how he has seen first hand how afraid demons are even of the name of Christ.
I am very wary of, 'God told me I need to _________ more.' statements because I think God knows us very well and our effort is just that. It is ours and not His. He Is the Savior and we are not. But, When God shows me something I want to listen, remember and live in the reality of it. God showed me something about prayer and revealed something that goes to the root of why I can end up frustrated at times.
"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.' " - James 4:13-15 ESV
"The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit." - James 5:16b-18 ESV
It is wise to bathe our going in prayer. It is wise to mention the name of Christ liberally if we are not doing it in vanity. His nature and name are powerful. He Is redemption and we function and see fruit when things are bathed in His name and not ours.
Some things may take a lot of asking and time but in the end there will be a lot of fruit. God will do it by grace and we might even be blessed to see it happen with our own eyes.