I believe the Lord is saying, ‘You know some things, BUT you must pray!’ Prayer is awareness! The spirit of prayer will be the corrective lenses thru which God’s view of the word is opened up to you. Prayer changes our posture from haughty to humble, from sinner to saint! Prayer unlocks the Mystery of Christ to you, within you and through you! Prayer will be the defining mark of what you have come to know and what you truly believe. Recently, I heard the question asked this way, ‘How is it that you believe in a supernatural God, but don’t believe in the supernatural?’ Prayer is the key to the mystery that changes your thinking to recognize Jesus is at the spiritual place of God’s right hand of power pleading for you! Don’t tell Him He’s changed and no longer moving in supernatural power. He is there interceding for you to grasp the concept of an open heaven so you might boldly come asking to receive His grace and power (Heb 4:16). I tell you truth, it is easier to listen to other preachers, read enlightening books, listen to spiritual music, and even read the Bible, but harder still to pray. Don’t misinterpret what I am saying, those things are good and necessary, but without the spirit of prayer, your life will be rather one dimensional missing the dynamic that can transform what you know in your head to what gets ahold of your heart! Psalm 40 is a psalm of powerful awareness in which David’s ears are opened in corrective fashion to realize the resources afforded him by the King of heaven. What do you have need of today? You must in faith believe “God IS, AND HE IS A REWARDER OF THOSE WHO SEEK HIM”. What is it that you seek? You will accomplish it in the place of prayer.
Jesus plainly tells us in Matthew 11:28 to come to His rest! In John 10:7 He says, ‘I’m the door you must enter through.’ All too often we fail to see the open door Jesus has made for our entry into His House of Rest! This past spring a red bird appeared in the window at our house of worship. At first, everyone was pleasantly distracted by his coming to the window. However, over the course of the next few weeks he would make it his mission to attack every window on our building repeatedly becoming a nuisance to everyone. I found myself thinking, ‘that stupid little bird…’, then God said to me, “you’ve been like that little bird”. The truth is, we have all been just like that little red bird. He might have found the door of entry, but he was too busy fighting his enemies, or so it would seem! In reality, he wasn’t even looking for the door. What are you seeking? Is it the open door of Jesus that brings you into a place of rest, or are you like the little bird? Just what does he see in the glass that keeps him coming back to the place of futility? He sees himself, but he is most deceived thinking it’s his enemy. In his zeal to fight, he is bound by a deception that allows the real enemy to steal what God says is rightfully his. There is a ‘little red bird’ syndrome bound in the nature of all our flesh. The little bird is fighting against his own image though he doesn’t see it. Your image will always make you angry, frustrated, and captivated by Your-SELF and the image IT produces. There is a blindness only Jesus can remove. He says to you, ‘I’ve an anointing that can heal blind eyes so you can see the door of rest.’ It is a place of recovery, it is a place of release and abundance. Any attempt to use something other than the door will leave you beaten and bruised. There is hope and healing at the Open Door of Jesus! His lessons are the cure of our ‘Red Bird’ syndrome! He is saying to you, ‘Son/Daughter, use the door! It represents the only legitimate way to my service and pleasure and by it you will produce My glory and not your own! Use the door, and you will be able to move freely in my presence where there is fulness and joy. It will be a fulness that will keep you from robbing Me and being robbed of what I alone have given you to possess!’
“Are you saved?” I can remember as child a Baptist preacher saying every week without fail the words; ‘Are You saved?’ I believe those 3 words are possibly Baptist’s greatest contribution to the faith. You may know a lot about Him, but do you know Him? If there is no grieving or sorrow over your sinful condition…no witness of the Spirit, then you don’t know Him. For Jesus to truly save you, you must believe you are drowning and in need of saving—otherwise the broken cry for a savior is not heard and He cannot save. It is a matter of need…do you need Him? Do you see your very real need of His love and forgiveness? Or, do you see yourself ‘pretty good’– never considering that one sin…it’s rebellion like witchcraft that has you under a spell of deception never considering yourself that bad; it is your only weak link, but it is powerful enough to destroy your whole life with that one unredeemed failure. I see God is not mocked and sin must be atoned for. What are you doing and where are you taking your sin for atonement? Because what He takes, He covers–what He covers, He redeems, what He redeems He changes, and what He changes He keeps for Himself with a movement of the Spirit that directs my steps to increase as His disciple and witness. So, I ask you again, “Are You Saved…Are You Really Saved?”
O God, listen to my cry!Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,I cry to you for helpwhen my heart is overwhelmed.Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge,a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
…In the place of overwhelming difficulty We have this word as an anchor to remind us we can be lead to a place the enemy cannot reach! Our cries are the place of heavenly access… We like David, may feel a long way off from that safety, but it’s placed within our reach when we pray!
Jesus is in the making and what it takes to make disciples of men by way of His cross. I recently saw some youth bound in hand with their bibles in a local coffee shop, and it blessed me. We live in an age where many are seeking for a real expression to relate to this Jesus and His Lordship in their lives. It is a great thing we would aspire to do. It is however, important to remember in this new age where the music seems to lead the discourse, it has always been about the word of the Living God. Here is a thought to add to this modern age perception of all things as Christian. Jesus is not in the hairdo, or in sporting the new tattoo; He is not in the anti-establishment, or in being different for different sake; He is not in strange for strange sake. He is making His mark on men as aliens and strangers because they find a place for humility and brokenness because they are working out their common salvation through the living breathing Word of God. The music, and I love music, should lead me to brokenness, thanksgiving and praise as I walk as His disciple enslaved to nothing in this world, it’s thinking or culture. The music alone will not produce disciples, only a relationship with the Living Word can do that. Is the word you are hearing making you more like Jesus, or are you being defined by the pop-culture you are living in? His cross is not a new concept, but a clear command of the word; it is timeless rugged thing that leaves one strangely following the movement of the Holy Spirit keeping in step as His disciple, shedding the mantle of worldly influences to be uniquely His–He was pierced for a different cause and that will likely leave you more persecuted than popular because the way of the cross will always be the defining mark of real Christianity.
Somewhere on the backside of your wilderness there is a place in God’s presence that will draw you in to captivate your heart and arrest your complete attention. Like Moses in Exodus 3, the burning bush reminds us God is never finished — though we may have long given up. I have recently been reminded that we are living in the last days. Things are out of control, and it seems men’s hearts are so hard. Even believers seem so fixed in just what they know; there is no desire to receive any more than just what they have. It would seem all is well, yet something turns sideways because all is not well, and men are racing over a cliff to destruction with no one to hold them back. It is all indicative of the last times. There seems to be resistance to the truth no matter how hard you try. We are living in days where the people of God often find themselves in a wilderness from wanting to follow God, but genuinely not knowing how. Have you found yourself in a wilderness like Moses running — running from your fear, from your people, from what would be the plan of God for your life — all because you tried to follow God and failed? In these days you had better find that burning bush on the back side of the wilderness you are living in. I believe these days are to be a season of rescue and recovery, but you need the burning bush. You need the Spirit of God to draw you in to look at Him spending time in His presence beholding what consumes, but does not burn up. It is marvelous as Moses said it was. It causes you to remove what is unholy because you got a word from God that says put that down and away from your life and come to me … here on holy ground. There you actually can hear God confirming to you His desire to save — it was His desire all along, and you thought He had forgotten and left you in the wilderness. But He has not forgotten you. You, like Moses, may have had the right idea, but failed to get in on the full plan of God. But now with the bush He includes you, telling you, “I see the affliction of men’s souls, and now I want to use you.” You see, we need the burning bush experience that lies in the wilderness of our struggle, because without it we lack awareness of God’s care or concern. We lack understanding of His plan to include us in the work to liberate men’s bondage. We are in the last days, and men are surely in bondage. If you fail to see that, you are proving you need a touch of the marvelous bush from which God speaks. Somewhere, there in your dry place, He is telling you to stand and see — looking for that bush that burns. It is Christ in you the hope of glory. It is not so far, though you may believe it cannot be found. God will use these very words you are reading now to stir your heart and bring you to find that place. It is a place of power and privilege; it is a place of revelation and inclusion. It is a place in these days you cannot afford to be without. From the bush, He calls us to identity as sons. He says, “Come, and I will send you.” God is saying to us — I will touch your lips and give you a voice so that your slowness of speech will be met with the confidence to declare freedom to every bound place, so the captive souls of men can be made free.
Sometimes I am wanting to find the application of this word into my life, but I’ve got no aptitude for it. To that I would say, “God give me a mind for what you think, so I could be effective as your disciple.” I came across this scripture the other day taken from Isaiah 50 which says; “The Lord has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.” Often, we look for ways to apply this word in our lives only to find the simple truth is not merely conveyed with great oration or vivid illustration. The truth however is best understood by what Jesus said in Luke 14, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” While men often go here and there to find great preaching looking for that one great illustration, nothing connects me to Jesus like the cross. Jesus is affirming the cross as a means of application but more importantly as a means of identity. When by taking up our cross we deny ourselves, we are saying no our thinking and to our own reasoning and even our own cause. When we do that, we are identifying with the thinking that had Him at the cross for us in the first place. Taking up my cross aligns my life with the cause and thinking of Christ. Presently, most Christians know more about God than they are able to apply for lack of the cross. All of us have a cross to be sure, but is yours currently out for repairs? Paul said in Galatians 2:20; “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” Paul saw himself as crucified with Christ because He’d taken up His cross. There was with Paul a death to this world and its thinking, but also the applied ability to actually live as Christ would because he had nothing else to live for. Full faith in Jesus had taken over his mind to actually comprehend the height and depth of Christ’s love for him. That is ultimately what Jesus is saying in Luke 14, namely this: that as long as you have something else your living for, you won’t carry your cross. Jesus is saying, ‘nothing can come ahead of me, so get square with me and I will order your thoughts aright and connect your head with your heart and you will live and speak as my disciple.’