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Do Not Disturb

I write this as I struggle with Sunday Morning Gathering yet again. I have stopped going because I’m too discouraged about my inability to join in. This is not unique to the house where I have gone the past 5-1/2 years; any gathering that projects the words on a screen and plays music I don’t know will be inaccessible to me.
The challenge in the modern Church seems to be broader than this. It’s as though there’s a “Do not disturb” sign on the door: Anything or anybody that causes discomfort is neatly set aside.
I have heard pastors say they shouldn’t be expected to visit people when they are in the hospital; in fact, I had that happen about 13 years ago. I hear believers say they “just want to experience God’s presence,” which turns out to mean that they don’t want to see to others when they are at Church; that they don’t care about the quality of music…they just want to feel good.
“What’s in it for me?” seems to be the measure of what makes a successful gathering – In a word, consumerism.
I always hesitate to pick on the Church too much: There is plenty of that; God loves His beautiful Bride.

The deal is, we need to repent, and soon, before this anesthesia kills us.

 

The Sign On the Door

“I’m a pastor, paid to pray;
Please don’t intrude on my life that way!
I don’t want to visit the poor;
Please note the sign posted on my front door.”

“We like our worship; it makes us grin.
We don’t care if you can’t join in.
Please don’t tell us you’re distress and bored;
Please note the sign posted on our front door.”

“Do not disturb,” it plainly reads;
We don’t care about your wants and needs;
Please don’t ask us to do any more;
Please note the sign posted on our front door.

Years ago in such a place,
A man came in who was full of grace.
He made a whip with many cords;
He ripped that old sign right off their front door.

Animals, money, vendors, they say,
Watched tables turn as they ran away.
“No den of thieves; not anymore!”
Disturbance had just come through their front door.

May this same God, who longs for his bride
To be pure and spotless when she stands by his side
Confront and deliver, heal and restore;
Till that dreadful sign is off her front door.

Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, we pray;
Forgive our sins; take our selfishness away;
Disturb us until we long for more
Of you in our lives; Please come through that front door.

 

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Different

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I am writing to exhort you today.

We are called to be holy, even as God is holy – to be set apart for Him; different.

That means that we will be the minority.

When the general society encourages sex outside of marriage, abortion and compromise in terms of dress, speech, morality, values or  socialization, we will not be able to participate.
When we are called to tolerate or accept things that God has clearly called sin, we will have to decline.

We are called to give, shine, love, encourage, serve and bless.
That means we don’t curse, “see to Number 1 first and foremost…”

What we get in return is our true identity:  A holy nation, a royal priesthood, people set apart for and in the Most High God.
We get a different inheritance, filled with wholeness and prosperity.
Most of all, we live with Jesus forever.

Applying all of this can seem difficult – so much “gray!”  True enough.  That is why we have the Holy Spirit – Helper, counselor, TEacher, Comfort, to live in each of our hearts.

Don’t know how to think or what to do?  Ask; you will receive all that you need – the answer and the grace to obey.
Do you feel discouraged, afraid or alone, cry out:  The One who sticks closer than a brother is with you always.
Is shame or self doubt nagging at you?  Look to Papa, who knows you fully and loves you completely.

What Does It Mean?

What does it mean to you;
How does it make a difference?
Knowing that God is ever present;
That He is the Almighty One
Who protects and provides?

 

Knowing God’s wisdom is  infinite;
He sticks closer than a brother;
Who comforts and counsels?

 

Knowing that you are loved perfectly;
Now, in every way and forever;
He always draws you closer?

 

What does it mean to you?
How have you changed,
Being born of the Spirit;
A child in God’s household;
Son and daughter of the Most High?

 

In a word, everything;
Each heartbeat and breath;
All thoughts and feelings;
Expectancies and perceptions.

 

It means that in Him
We live and move;
In Him we have our being;
He is our Source and Goal.

 

To God be all glory;
Every song of praise;
Blessing and adoration;
To You, oh Lord;
To Your Name always!

EVER LOVING, PRESENT AND FAITHFUL

Recently, I have encountered a lie that is expressed in rather subtle ways within Christian tradition.  It comes in many forms and variations, but the sentiment is the same:

“Maybe God will…(show up, provide, heal, answer my prayer….) if He takes a notion to; if He feels like it; if He wants to.”

The truth is,
God is always present and attentive to us.

He is our Refuge; He holds us in His everlasting arms and defends us. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
He is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
He comforts us, as a mother comforts her child. (Isaiah 66:13)
He is with us forever. (John 14:16)
He provides us with every blessing in abundance…
Since we always have enough of everything, we share abundantly in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8
He supplies all our needs, according to His riches in Glory. (Philippians 4:19)
He never leaves or forsakes us. (Hebrews 13:5)
He has healed us. (1 Peter 2:24)

Thank You, most loving, faithful and ever present Papa!  Amen.

THE STRONG TOWER

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”  Proverbs 18:10

I remember the first time I read this verse:  I was in college.  It was so encouraging and comforting to me!  I lived in fear at that point in my life; something that has gone away as God has healed my soul.
I enjoyed this Scripture for a long time, until I started worrying about whether I’m righteous enough to run into the Strong Tower.  The answer, of course, is yes.  Jesus has made me righteous because I belong to Him.

Here is a bit of word study:
The Name…Shem or Suwm.
Carries the idea of definite and conspicuous position
set, ordain, establish, found, appoint, reputation, fame, glory
I have often heard that the “name” of God refers to His character and identity; far deeper and broader than how we usually think of this word.

of the Lord is a strong tower
Migdal `oz
An elevated structure that is mighty, solid and well, strong.
When the people in Solomon’s time heard this word, they knew that it refered to a place in a city where the people could take refuge during an attack.

The righteous Tsaddiyq
righteous (as justified and vindicated by God;) righteous (in conduct and character)
right, correct, lawful

run into it  Ruwts
dart, move quickly, hurry

If there is one thing I have learned in my faith walk, it is to run to God sooner rather than later – really good plan; saves me from all sorts of trouble!

and are safe  Sagab
To be too high for capture; to be in a place that’s so high, it’s secure.

When I read this, I think of the verses that say we are seated in the heavenly places with God.  Yeah, that seems high enough to be out of the reach of enemies, not accessible for capture and secure!

So, if I rephrase this proverb, it would be something like:
The very nature of God is an elevated, strong, mighty place; those made righteous by Jesus dart hurriedly into it and are too high for capture, since they are out of reach.

How wonderful is that!

GIVE YOUR HEART A HOME

When I first heard this song by Don Fransisco in the 1980’s, I couldn’t help but cry because my own heart longed to be known. Now I find it encouraging:

“I hear your hollow laughter
your sighs of secret pain
Pretending and inventing
just to hide your shame
Plastic smiles and faces
blinkin’ back the tears
Empty friends and places
all magnify your fears

If you’re tired and weary,
weak and heavy laden
I can understand how it feels to be alone
I will take your burden,
if you’ll let Me love you,
Wrap My arms around you,
Give your heart a home

It hurts to watch you struggle
and try so hard to win
But trade your precious birth right
for candy coated sin
Wasting precious moments
restless and confused
Building up defenses
for fear that you’ll be used

If you’re tired and weary,
weak and heavy laden
I can understand how it feels to be alone
I will take your burden,
if you’ll let Me love you,
Wrap My arms around you,
Give your heart a home

Take My yoke upon you
and walk here by My side
Let Me heal your heartaches,
dry the tears you’ve cried
Never will I leave you,
never turn away
Keep you through the darkness
lead you through the day

If you’re tired and weary,
weak and heavy laden
I can understand how it feels to be alone
I will take your burden,
if you’ll let Me love you,
Wrap My arms around you,
Give your heart a home”
Listen here: