Thursday, December 15, 2011

Prepare The Way Of The Lord!

Obviously, with Christmas around the corner, most of us are focused on the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Around the same time, also announced by the angel Gabriel, was the birth of John the Baptist. Maybe its just me, but some passages of scripture just make me laugh. There stood Zachariah as Gabriel told him that he and Elizabeth were to have a son and Zachariah says "How can I be sure?".... Gabriel's response? "I'm Gabriel." As if to say, "You crusty old man! Do you know who you're talking to?" Right then, God took away Zachariah's ability to speak. Not only would he eventually get his voice back, but he would witness the birth of his son John the Baptist.

I believe the birth of John was a result of righteous living going as far back as Aaron. A legacy of love, if you will. Luke 1:15-17 says John would be great in the sight of the Lord and that he would bring back many of the people of Israel back to the Lord. He would also turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous. He would, in fact, "Go and make disciples...".

Before any of this would happen, scripture tells us that John lived in the wilderness. I believe this to be a geographical fact. When applied to ourselves, it's probably in reference to a spiritual wilderness. Most of us have, at some point, experienced a state of spiritual funk when we are aware of the voice of God but find ourselves doubting/disobeying because we can't make sense of it. As I've said in one of my earlier blogs, it's not always for us to understand. It is absolutely for us to obey. Luke 1:80 says that John made his first step into ministry when he matured. Maturity begins with obedience. Maturity begins when we humble ourselves before a far superior being and a supernatural love. Typically, it's after we surrender that God reveals to us the reason behind the command.

My prayer this Christmas is that we would put ourselves in the shoes of John, intently take that first step of obedience so that we, too, can live a life worthy of the title "righteous". Prepare the way of the Lord!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Even when I was a kid "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" creeped me out. I always thought it had some evil undertones. "Daddy, I WANT a squirrell!" demanded this vile little creature named Veruca Salt. I've always loved movies. Once in a while, you come across those characters that you love to hate. Veruca exemplifies the "spoiled little rich kid" that wants everything her way right now. As the story unfolds, the squirrel she wanted so badly wound up being alot more than she bargained for. You might say she got what she deserved. I think I disliked her so much because a part of me identified with her.

Numbers 11:4-34 tells of the Israelites, after they had been delivered from Egypt, complaining about being hungry. Mind you, this was after God had rained down manna from Heaven and provided everything they needed and then some. The cry going up from the Israelites was "We want meat! We should have stayed in Egypt!" Even Moses (much like Veruca's dad...) cried out "What did I do to deserve this?.... Why did you dump the responsibility of these people on me?" God got angry. So angry, in fact, that he gave them exactly what they asked for. Scripture tells us that he gave them so much meat that they choked on it. Some translations say it was coming out of their nostrils.

We always seem to think we have this life all figured out and, if we get what we desire, everything thing will be just fine. We always seem to want that which we don't need.. I happened to grow up with a father who loved me enough to let me lie in the bed I made. Sometimes those are the best learned lessons, painful as they are. It never occurred to me that I was damaging our relationship and driving a big wedge in between us. By the way, a good word to define separation from our father is "Death".

The Israelites found themselves buried, literally, in a plot of land that was named "Kibroth Hattaavah" which means "Graves of the Craving". If  we continue to go through this life focused only on what we want rather than what our Father wants for us, we WILL get what we ask for and suffer for an eternity. Since when do we know what's best for us?

If we were to execute life with the pursuit of glorifying our Father rather than ourselves, we would find ourselves rewarded in ways we could never imagine. We would find ourselves.... well.... LIVING.

I think, when I pull out of the driveway in the morning, the squirrel better move.....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hardened Heart; No Spine.....

        How many times have you found yourself in the middle of a situation you tried desperately to get out of but, the harder you fought, the more difficult the situation became? Kind of like quick sand? After all, its in our human nature to go into survival mode when things get rough. Some people call it "fight or flight". Nobody wants to intentionally put themselves in harm's way, especially, when you don't have an idea of what the plan is. The exception to the rule is our military. They enlist, go through rigorous training and, at the end of the day, are prepared to go into battle no matter the cost. However, even they have an idea of what the plan is. They prepare because there is always a threat on the horizon and, if need be, they will fight. They will fight and they will follow their commander because he's been there and lived to tell about it.
       I've been talking with my wife who told me of a friend that is amazed that we are still going forward with our ministry in spite of certain set backs. Insubordination, lies, lack of support, lack of finances and even theft. Our friend said she would throw her hands in the air and use a few choice words as she did so. Where is the reward? Where is the appreciation.
      Mark 6:47-52 tells us that, after Jesus had fed the 5000, He sent his disciples across the lake in a boat where they quickly found themselves in the middle of a storm. They were so caught up, in fact, in the storm that  they didn't even recognize Jesus when He came walking towards them on the water. They thought he was a ghost which further fueled their anxiety. They were so focused on their circumstances that they didn't factor in the possibility that the storm was ALLOWED to happen so the Father would be glorified. Scripture tells us that Jesus hadn't planned on walking TO them but BY them. Upon hearing their cries, he showed compassion and changed his direction and climbed into the same boat they thought was sinking. "Don't be afraid. Take courage! I am here!" There the disciples, Christ's followers, stood with their mouths hanging open in amazement because they STILL didn't get it. All this took place on the heels of Jesus feeding 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
     How many miracles does Jesus have to perform before we trust Him? When will we realize that He is leading us into a battle with forces that cannot be seen and, as a result, are much harder to fight? Again, I say, EVERY TIME Jesus told his disciples "Follow me.", He led them straight into a storm where they would be tested, tried, tempered and grown to be men of battle.