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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HE is not here!!

God seems to pour out revival throughout generation to generation…

Dear God don’t forget about us!!!!
We are a chosen generation – the Bible does not say we are the left out generation.
Joel said in the last days a revival would happen.

That came to pass in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost when Peter stood up after the Spirit had been poured out.
I believe that we may not see a world wide revival unless we first see our own personal revivals as individuals.
There seems to me  no way we will see the body of Christ revived and the world coming to Jesus unless we first as individuals have our own personal revival.

In Matthew 28:1-8.. Please read this story!

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdelene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.
And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.
And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow;
And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
And the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.
“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.
“And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going before you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.

The greatest tragedy happened just a few days ago. The Messiah, the one whom they thought would bring freedom, had been crucified on a cross.
The followers of Jesus were heartbroken, their souls were shattered and we see several despairing followers of Jesus going to visit Jesus in a dead tomb.
Depressed, downcast because their savior had died – they were coming to visit the tomb but suddenly there was a great earthquake.
The angel sat on the stone.
His face was as lightning; his clothing was as white as snow.

The women run from that place to spread the news of the resurrected savior.

If we approach Jesus like these women did, we are not going to find Him.

They were expecting a dead experience, looking for a lifeless Jesus – a lifeless experience.

Behold our Redeemer lives.
If our life experience feels dead, it is because we are looking in all the wrong places.
If it is dry, unexciting, unadventurous and it is just depressing, and it’s a chore in going to bible study and having devotions and talking to the Lord is just a ‘check off the list’  - it is because we are looking for Jesus in all the wrong places.

Job got it right – He said, Behold my redeemer lives!

Many Christians can be scholars of the Bible, but never know the Word.

John 1: says that Jesus Christ is the Word of God.

A lot of people know Jesus as a character on the pages of a dead book, written by dead authors thousands of years ago.

To truly experience the relationship that God intended us  to have with His Son, we can’t just know Jesus from reading the pages of a book – we have to know a living, breathing Savior who is alive and well and with us here NOW!

David said in Psalms 16:11
"Thou wilt make known to me the path of life;
In Thy presence is fullness of joy;
In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever."

There is a little secret that the world does not quite understand.
That is, we can experience real pleasure.
Christianity is not about denying pleasure,
It is about denying counterfeit pleasure – which is temporary.
David said God’s pleasures are at His right hand that last forever.

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”

Where are you?

A Prophet who was able to summon fire from heaven because he had faith in prayer.

A man who was a little bit rebellious but hung out in a hotel that was a little hot – his hotel was the belly of a fish for three nights.

A child who was able to slay a giant.

Of a leader, who was able to divide an ocean.

Of a God who died for His creation then rose again to reconcile them to Himself.
Where are the Abrahams who will cling to the promises of God even if circumstances tell you that the promises of God are crazy.

Where are the David’s who will worship God with such passion that they wont even care about what anyone else might say and their worship will shake the very foundations oh heaven.

Where are the Josephs in our generation who will hold to the path of purity even if no one else is – even if the path of purity leads to suffering.

Where are the John the Baptists who will warn the lost of the everlasting flames.

Where are the Jeremiahs who will warn this generation about the wrath of God even though false prophets might be declaring peace, peace, because that is what people want to hear.

Where are the bold prophets who will be raised up in this generation.

Where are the Elijah’s who will pray with such passion and such belief and such faith as to truly expect results to come from Heaven as if it were fire coming down from Heaven itself.

Where are the Shadrack, the Meshack  and the Abendigo’s who will cherish the loyalty to God more dearly than they cherish life itself.

Where are the Shadrack’s who will say, ‘Lord I esteem my relationship with You higher than my life and if I have to go to the fire of persecution then so be it because I want to be loyal to You.’

Dear LORD… We need a God given Revival! \o/

Friday, February 10, 2012

A fresh look at AFFLICTION!

I was reading this morning Pauls letter to the Thessalonians.. In chapter 3:3 “That no man should be moved by these 
afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto..”
My attention zoomed on two words here.. afflictions and appointed!
It got me thinking about afflictions and why must we have to have them!? 
Personally, affliction causes me  to draw closer to God. I think the weaker we are the more we rely on HIM.. When I’m afflicted I cry out more, I  pray more , I become desperate to hear from God and so I set out to seek His face like never before! I pay more  attention to everything that might help me!

I believe when we are going through a hard time, God wants to reveal Christ to us (and reveal Christ through us too..) He wants to give us a revelation that can only come through experience as we walk closely with Him!


Reminds me of the  apostle Paul when he  cried out 3 times for God to remove the ‘thorn in his flesh’ in 2 Corinthians 12 he says:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me....That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong....”
I find these are amazing powerful words.. (This puts a big question mark on all those prosperity teachings!!) In our weakness, in our affliction God’s power rests upon us?! What was Paul saying.. Delights in affliction! I guess this is what he is saying if I am reading it right!
2 Corinthians 4:17 goes on to say For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory..”  So even a light affliction carries the same promise, an ‘eternal weight of glory!’
I long for a deeper revelation of God’s character..
When we are prospering we are most likely to forget about God. It’s in our affliction that we grow depth of character and we mature in Christ..
But how? Well I believe that affliction produces patience.. James says in 1:3 ‘testing of our faith’.. the opposite to patience is wanting everything and anything now.. we can get so stressed and filled with anxiety when we don’t’ have patience.. Patience is the cure for instant gratification..Most people are unable to delay their own gratification.. 
If we learn patience life is better.. we are less stressed!
I think also affliction helps us to PAY ATTENTION!!  In our prosperity we can get too confident.. It happened to King David in Psalm 30:6  we read, “When I felt secure, I said, "I will never be shaken."
We can stop paying attention to spiritual things and start to care more about material things.. This happens sometime and before we  know it we are spending  every moment  pursuing money or a nice body, or whatever!... It’s such a trap! A millionaire or a top athlete will tell you they can’t get peace from their achievements!
 So I think afflictions gets us to Pay Attention..

David understood this too! He declares in Psalm 119:67 “ Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept your word...”  What happened to David! Yes, he was afflicted and later on he proclaims that ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn your statutes.. Psalm 119:71! He saw that affliction was good and necessary!

When we are under the pressure of affliction we somehow get driven to read the Word, pray, press into God’s presence..

Again, affliction strengthens the inner man! In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 it says:   “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal..” And we read in  John 3:30 -  “He must increase, but I must decrease.”


It’s saying here that the inner man is being renewed, day by day through our light affliction working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!!  Our inner man is becoming strong while the outward is perishing! 
Are we as passionate about the inner man as we are the outward! I pray our attention will be on what is eternal.. Let’s not lose heart! Remember our afflictions are light but have a ‘far greater eternal weight of glory’. Not equal but far more!
The outward is perishing.. Nothing we can do about that! It’s terrible! It’s painful! But it’s so good to know that our inner man is being renewed day by day.. Our first hand experience with  the Lord is far greater than what I am losing in the outward man! Amen!
I think too often we look and spend a lot of time trying to get the outward man stronger! He must get weaker and weaker! It is the circle of life! And yet we spend way too much on clothing, getting healed, feeling good, enjoying life! When it’s all about the  INWARD MAN!
 I am not saying either to ignore our physical body! I am all for taking care of His Holy temple! But to be mindful that the outer is  perishing and the inner one is eternal..

It’s amazing really! The more we go through, the stronger we become.. Exactly what it means to be an overcomer! 
It’s important to remind ourselves here that we cannot do this in our own strength! But it’s a moment by moment yielding,  a total surrender of our will and our submission to Christ!
So don’t’ lose heart! Don’t give up in pressing into God to entering His rest!
Another thing affliction teachers us is to have contentment. People don’t’ know how to have this..  We get upset, moody impatient disappointed, we are not thankful... Counting our blessings needs to be learned! Look at how Paul learned this! Philippians 4:11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Paul learned these things in the depth of his afflictions.. He didn’t read someone’s health book or find the answers on Google!! You just can’t learn these things by reading someone’s book or even reading the scriptures.. But as we walk through life in abundance and in poverty, in good times and bad times, full and hungry..
The depth of wisdom comes from experience. Experience teachers us deeper truths of God that we cannot get by doing a bible study.. Studying the Word is good to encourage us, to strengthen our faith and this is good, and I love them! But when we are confronted with real people, real problems, theories don’t work very well!! Learning cannot be purchased.. It needs to be experienced.
Affliction also encourages revelation! Prosperity doesn’t! Affliction does!!

Let’s look at Job. Now this man  had an extraordinary difficult tribulation and affliction.. at the end of it he said this.. Job 42:1,6 Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do all things;  no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’  Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,  things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;   I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 
My ears had heard of you  but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself 
and repent in dust and ashes.”
When God purposes something, He will finish it!  He can do all things! And like Job, we want to be able to say,  “but now my eyes have SEEN you..”
Affliction gives meaning to what we go through; we learn things about ourselves and about God that we cannot learn anywhere else!
The ideal state of mind is to be "Stirred, not shaken" by our afflictions.  This means to me that when hard times come, it stirs us to seek the Lord, but we are otherwise unruffled, unmoved, and unshaken - no matter what.

Well, the world doesn't have a clue how to be that way.

But as Christians, we have something the world doesn't have. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling in our heart to help us overcome the world!

So back to the letter to Thessalonians, Paul is telling them to have a good attitude so as not to lose their faith in the Lord and fall away!
I think that when difficulties come and we don’t have a godly perspective on why we have afflictions we are likely to get upset and disillusioned and even depressed..  Sometimes we like to live in bubble and not have to go through the hard stuff.. Sometimes death to self seems impossible and it’s just too hard! So when something happens to us or in our marriage, we get so discouraged! So shaken! And we can often make the wrong choices!
Yet, affliction is part of living!
We need to accept affliction!  To fight against it will cause us to resentful and harden our hearts.
The Bible says to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus - spiritual warfare is  very real.. and it’s hard on the flesh and the spirit and the soul.. so let us endure and be strong in the  power of His might ..
Clothe your self in armour of God and stand .. Ephesians 6

Be of good cheer!! It’s all about our response.. Testing will come whether we  agree with this or not! We are promised this! In 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 we read, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body..” Wow! What a promise! 


 In the middle of all this we can be of good cheer.. Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation …But Be of Good Cheer; I Have Overcome the World”

Remember to stand fast!! Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”


Stand fast, hold on to Jesus! Not coming under the yoke of religion or traditions of men but the living Word, Jesus Christ!

Enduring, Accepting, Stirred and not shaken!
Pray !
Pray that the love of the saints will not grow cold!
Look at the last couple of verses in this chapter 3 in 1 Thessalonians.. v12 “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: v13 To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Stand! Rest in Him! Fight the good fight!

Mary J