Remember Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus? It was the place He could do very little. You’ll remember it to be a place of unbelief and a place that just considered Jesus a common man with nothing special to offer (Matt 13:54-58). It was here He would declare the power of God to release the captive and heal the broken. It was here the foolish thoughts of men raged so as to want Him dead (Lk.4). We need to get ourselves away from the small minded, common thoughts of Nazareth. The Prophet Joel prophesied of a day of power and provision of early and late rain unto a harvest to restore God’s people (Joel 2:23). It would promise a harvest of righteousness and an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. It is however, important to understand what Joel prophesied could only come when men humbled themselves to pray from the heart. James 5:7 says, ‘be patient for these rains like a farmer who waits for the early and late rain to produce what’s precious’. Too often we are thinking of the latter rain of Joel’s prophecy as some clearly defined end times movement, but what about the move of God that awaits us in prayer? I believe the patient farmer does not wait in the hot sun, but after his labor looks to do his waiting in a place of shade with a cool breeze. If you will look with spiritual eyes you will understand he waits in hope for God under the shadow of His almighty power. The patience to wait is found in prayer. “Prayer is the patience God will answer your fears and the confidence that He alone can dissolve your doubts”. Prayer changes the mind and heart of God concerning His people and moves Him to action on their behalf. Listen… there’s a thinking God must revolutionize and even re-new in your life. There is a wound that God must heal. He says to you, ‘I have healing balm which flows only from the finished work of Calvary, but you must open up your heart and trust Me to heal and restore in the humble place of prayer, and the shadow of my presence will refresh you, heal you and send rain to bring precious produce! Stop trying to live out of the movements of others, and start listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you! Stop looking for ‘the Revival” and start living for Jesus in this moment knowing He produces a harvest from His shadow by sending the early and late rain!
Green as the Grass
Recently, seeing a nearby field, the question came to me, “How green is the grass?” There are days we look upon the fields and because of our complaint, fail to see anything. Other times, we are passing by way too fast, thinking way too many things to realize the grass is green for a reason. The answer I received is; it all depends upon the prism thru which you look, either through the humble eyes of a ‘suffering servant,’ or the angry heart of an ‘indentured slave’. Only Jesus, can cancel the certificate of debt by the power of His cross to those decrees against us that hold us in pledge to this world and its lusts with an extreme precision to release us from slavish thinking and cruel bondage. The power of the cross is for the humble who will draw near with confidence to surrender their thoughts of care and ambition for this life to understand the statement, ‘Have this same attitude which was in Christ Jesus who although He existed with all the attributes of God, He humbled Himself as a slave, becoming obedient to God by taking up His cross.’ His cross, calls us higher under the influence of a still small voice, mighty in power, rich in service, and green as the grass. Philippians 2:6-11
The Cross that Gives Me Life
I sometime get that sense of God’s purpose for humanity and truly experience a desire to be used to reach others for His kingdom. In the middle of one of those thoughts, God brought a revelation to me; ‘you have abilities, or you think you do, but it’s not your abilities I need; it’s not your charm or charisma, not your personality or persona, no matter if you think it’s strong or weak. No, reaching men has nothing to do with your good intentions, or even what you think! Remember, ‘I told you to come to the cross and surrender your thoughts, intentions, and abilities or lack of them. I told you in My word to reckon ‘yourself’ to be dead, so I could live. This world doesn’t need to know who you think you are, it needs to know Me and who I Am! Surrender your thoughts to Me! As long as you live ‘your life’, you cannot reproduce Mine! The Apostle Paul said, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….’ He further says, ‘whatever things were gain to me, I counted as loss that I could know Him and the power of His resurrection life!’ God says, ‘live My life and others will see Me through your surrender. They will see a brokenness that is evidence you serve me and not yourself, and you will prove to be my disciple whose actions reach many because of Who I Am!’
The Counsel of the Rock
I recently found myself thinking of the failures of the past and felt shame…are you living under shame? Shame is a covering of the enemy to protect his domain and he will use it to wrap you in his plans and identify your life with failure. If you remain under its tutelage it will hinder or even destroy the plan of God for your life. Shame is a destroyer of confidence with God, unknowingly it seeks to wrap you in its garment to neutralize your purpose and steal away God’s plan for your life. I began seeing something about this shame and what I want to present this to you that shame is as counsel. Are you under its advisement? Are you hindered by doubts, fears, self-justification and feelings of inadequacy? These thoughts are nothing more than idolatry, they are worried about preserving your life according to your own self centered view. Think of it this way, these thoughts will lead you to fashion and shape life according to fears and not by faith. I like the illustration I heard recently that man molds with butter, but God molds with clay. They both are shaped to fit a useful ideal however, when the fires of opposition come, one melts, the other becomes hardened to a vessel fit for the Master’s use. Isaiah 42:17 confirms that shame is rooted in idolatry by saying those who trust in idols will be put to shame. Living under the counsel of shame upholds yesterday, it is old man thinking, self talk and self right living, but cannot provide the Grace necessary to walk uprightly, for it only skews my view of things. Seeing my world view, real or imagined, only hindered me from moving in what I knew to be God’s will for those who find their identity in Him. I began seeing my need for God’s presence because it magnifies my position in Christ, whose worth cannot be compared to my ideal which is idolatry and will counterfeit Christ but never produce His image. I need the Counsel of the Rock! Hebrews 12:1-2 says, ‘lay aside the sin that so easily entangles you’. This sin has been the obsession of your whole life, it has colored and clouded your thoughts with shame and it keeps you from finding the steadfast counsel of the Rock. Hebrews 12 continues by saying, ‘Fix your eyes on Jesus.’ He is the rock of your salvation, the perfecter of your faith. It is a faith cleft within the Rock to enable you to see yourself covered by the image of the son. There under His shadow will you find cleansing, covering and a counsel leading you to despise the covering of shame. Hebrews 12:2 says in effect let your life be molded in the image of one who endured the cross, by despising the shame in order to obtain His place in the presence of God.