Monday, April 18, 2011

New Wine

Today marked the first day of "things back to normal". These 4 words scare me to death. Normal is not what I want, and is not how God has designed us. We are created for the Super-Natural! This is the meaning of the "New-Wine" we spoke about yesterday at CCF.

We fasted for the "Super-Natural" answer from heaven. Hear the words from Joel 2:12, "Now, therefore," declares the Lord, "Turn from me with all your hearts. With fasting and weeping, and with mourning." Be encouraged with the Lord response when we reach out to Him like this, "The Lord will answer and say to His people, "Behold, I will send you grain, and new wine and oil. And you will be satisfied by them."

Fasting is one of the quickest way to empty and cleanse our "vessels." Protect that new wine of the Spirit, as he pours it into your life. All you have to do is ask, the Lord always has more for you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spiritual ADD

A condition we often see diagnosed in young people these days is known as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). This relatively new condition makes it extremely difficult for these children (and sometimes adults) to relate and perform in today's society.

However, American Christianity has struggled for decades with what I call Spiritual ADD. Let's explore some of the psychological symptoms that are identified, and consider our spiritual walk with God.

Predominantly inattentive type symptoms:
* Be easily distracted,
* Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task,
* Become bored with a task after only a few minutes,
* Have difficulty focusing attention,
* Not seem to listen when spoken to,
* Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms:
* Fidget and squirm in their seats
* Talk nonstop
* Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
* Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time (or church)
* Be constantly in motion
* Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.
* Be very impatient
* Have difficulty waiting for things they want

When we consider this list in our devotion to Christ, His Word and in Prayer... it is not a stretch to say we have developed the condition, SPIRITUAL A.D.D.

While the treatment for the "physiological" version is quite controversial, the "treatment" for the spiritual condition is quite clear. The Apostle Paul asks in Galatians 3:3, "After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?" The "treatment" for Spiritual ADD is not more Human Effort through the will, but continued encounters and submission to the Spirit of Christ. It is the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, not the Fruit of Us.

These 21 Days of Faith simplifies our efforts and submits to the Spirit's Control. My prayer has been that Christ would be formed in us as we reach and rely upon Him... The author and finisher of our faith.

Symptoms were adapted from Wikipedia

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where's the Glory

As I encountered the Scriptures through my morning Bible reading, I was struck by a verse nestled in a psalm of Asaph (the musical worshipers with a prophetic bent). As the psalmist recalls the Lord's faithfulness to provide for the nation of Israel, he recounts the times they rebelled and questioned the Lord. The focus of this psalm is the hardness of their hearts, only giving lip-service to the Lord.

However, this was not the surprise. What gripped my heart was found in Psalm 78:61 which read, "He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory into enemy hands." My soul was pricked as the Holy Spirit whispered not to take His Presence lightly. It is a privilege to experience and know His Glory.

May God teach us reverence for His presence during this time of prayer and fasting. We are not entitled to the Ark of His Presence. IT IS HIS GLORY WE ARE PURSUING! Let's keep focused these last few days and allow them to be a catalyst for what God wants to do in and through us. The Best is Yet to Come!!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Filling Up

Whether is is filling-up our gas tank for $3.70, or filling-up our stomach with dunkin' donuts in the morning, MUCH of our lives is about filling-up the "earthly-tanks".

The Scriptures refocus us on filling up the "eternal-tank". Colossians 3:16-17 "Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father."

How to "fill your life" is found in the words that follow. We are to teach and counsel one another, sing songs, have a thankful heart, and live as representatives of the Lord Jesus. Interestingly, how to fill-up involves giving others and the Lord 1st priority. This week, let focus on FILLING-UP the Lords way!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Drop the Ball

We are a culture of multi-tasking. In most settings, our value is based upon our capacity to handle many tasks and responsibility at the same time. Our government has even had to make laws prohibiting multi-tasking such as Texting & Driving. Much like the juggler, the more balls you can throw in the air, the better you are. Unfortunately, most of the balls we are juggling, we have not chosen to include.

Soooo often God becomes just one of the many balls that we are juggling. We fit Him in on Sunday morning, and when we feel guilty enough, in our devotions one or two times per week. Instead of a spiritual relationship, He becomes a spiritual responsibility.

These 21 Days of Faith are about DROPPING THE OTHER BALLS, and with laser focus, pursuing what's most important. When we with-hold the pleasures of food and comfort of this life, the eternal pleasures come into focus. We realize that man doesn't live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God. He is the treasure we seek.

SOOOOOOO... Go ahead, drop the balls and pick up Christ.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beginning to Live

This time of year begins to spark memories at the beach, walking down the Board Walk, enjoying the sun, the excitement, and energy that surrounds the shore. The anticipation leading to a vacation is almost just as good as the vacation itself.

However, it is always hard work going away. Perhaps you have experience this as well. The week or two before leaving, you're working hard tying up loose ends and getting ready to leave. Upon your return, the work you left is waiting for you, the personal problems haven't disappeared. The Escape to "vacation mode" is great, but it is not real living.

Proverbs 9:6 shares "WISDOM'S CALL" and records the invitation, "Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live...(NLT)". These 21 Days of Faith, that have engaged us in prayer and fasting is a response to this passage. It is beginning to truly live, and to realize the Life Christ purchased for us upon Calvary's Cross. Let's pick up our cross, follow Jesus and BEGIN TO LIVE!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Is it Worth It?

Like anything worth having, there is a price to pay. In June 2010 I entered my first Triathlon and was nervously waiting to 1st leg of the race, which was a .6 mile swim in the Schuylkill River. I walked out with my grouping, swim cap on and goggles in place. The water was a warm 74 degrees and energy was in the air. I couldn't have been more excited.

We waded into the water. 3-minutes of treading water we they finally blew whistle to begin. I have to confess, I was wondering if it was worth it and I hadn't even started.

There were many times throughout that race I asked myself the question, "IS IT WORTH IT?" Needless to say, as I finished the race, I saw my children and wife waiting for me across the finish-line. As I crossed, they placed a metal over my head, and said... "Congratulations TRIATHLETE, YOU DID IT!!!" Those words made all the pain and effort worth it.

21 Days of Faith is about pressing through the pain and effort it takes over a 3-week period because we have made CHRIST our Finish-Line. Don't be surprised that you may experience temptation to quit or give up. Be assured, God is sure to reward your pursuit of Him.

This week, remember the words of Hebrews 11:6, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Don't give up, keep seeking HIM! IT IS WORTH IT!!!