Faithful Affliction

July 20, 2009

I have been diving into Psalm 119 for a few weeks now and it has been such a rich time of encounter with the Lord. When you really begin to open it up and ask Holy Spirit for revelation and understanding concerning the psalm, it is impossible to not hear the invitation to deeper places with Him and deeper places of surrender. You see, David (who I believe wrote the psalm) says some very intense things all throughout the 176 verses. For instance, in verse 20 he says, “My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times.” Don’t tell me that isn’t intense. How often am I CRUSHED with longing for anything of the Lord much less His ordinances? I don’t have a problem being crushed with longing after the things of this world however. Help us Lord.
I wanna share something that the Lord opened to me while sitting before Him in this psalm.

Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.
Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.
Psalm 119:75 I know O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Psalm 119:92 If Your law had not been my delight I would have perished in my affliction.

Now as you read those verses I don’t know what happens to you but my heart is opened up in an incredible way. In faithfulness He afflicts us! Why? So we will learn to walk in His ways and statutes! So we will live crushed with longing after His ordinances! You see, God is desiring a people that delight in His dominion over them. He wants a Bride that desires His rule and reign not only on the planet, but in their lives too! Ones that will not just begrudgingly choose slavery to Him and His heart, but ones that delight in submission just like Jesus! Ones that would live their lives COMPLETELY dependent upon His leadership!

Let me give you a picture that has been so powerful to me in understanding this. When a sheep goes astray the Shepherd calls it back. Often times a sheep will continually go astray and begin to refuse the voice of the shepherd much like your dog at home might ignore you calling them or telling them to stop their insubordination. When a sheep continually goes astray the shepherd must do something which might seem a bit harsh not to mention peculiar. He must break the legs of the sheep and carry it on his shoulders. We’ve all seen the pictures of the lamb on the shoulders of the shepherd. Well that’s because its legs are broken! So while the sheep is healing the shepher carries the sheep around continually whispering into the ear of the animal. Training it to respond to his voice. When the sheep is healed and begins to go astray again, the shepherd will call the lamb and it now knows its masters voice and therefore comes. What a beautiful picture this is! I believe that David is talking about that in these verses. He is saying as he did in Psalm 51, “Let the bones which You have broken rejoice!” In faithfulness You have afflicted me O Lord!”
We can give ourselves to the wilderness and barrenness and declare with Job, ‘Though you slay me I will trust You.” when we know that He is breaking our bones to teach us obedience! Jesus learned obedience through the things that He suffered!
Jesus says, “My sheep know My voice.” Well why is that? It is because “in faithfulness You have afflicted me O Lord.”

His leadership is perfect.

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Bondslaves

July 17, 2009

Hello my dear friends!

Please before you say, “how dare he address us in such flippant language as if he hasn’t done something to deserve our animosity! For crying out loud he’s been gone for practically two months without a single word about his whereabouts or anything! If he thinks we’re going to befriend him again so quickly after he left us out in the cold the way he did, he sure has another thing coming!” let me explain myself. There really is a rather wonderful explanation for why I have not been blogging these past few months. What I mean to say is, I have plenty of reasons why this blog seems to have died. I am telling you, there is a practical reason that once you hear it you will be completely relieved and even happy in fact that I have not been blogging. I assure you, I have good reasons. You see….I have not been blogging on this blog for two months because…

Anyways, with that out of the way, I’ll get to blogging…. 🙂

I want to start a topic here on my blog about the effect of American ideology on our approach to God.

During our intercession set the other day at IHOP-AC we were praying for God to break in and open the Bride in the nation to deeper places of surrender to His callings and purposes. We were crying out for a people that would truly surrender to God. It has been something that the Lord has been highlighting in my own walk with Him for the last few weeks and a very convicting time sitting at His feet listening to Him speak to me about no compromise even in the seemingly little things.

“Make my life a prayer to You, I wanna do what You want me to, no empty words and no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise…” (Keith and Melody Green)

Well the entire intercession set the Lord was breaking in upon my spirit with a real and deep understanding of the way that our American ideologies, philosophies, perspectives, understandings etc. etc. etc. are so contrary to the way that He moves and what He is calling us into. I began to realize in very significant ways that we in America are building an entire social system that is (in most areas) a direct contradiction to the ideas and understandings the Lord desires to impart to us as Christians.

For the last 22 years I have grown up in a society that builds and fashions and confirms in my mind and soul certain mentalities that I believe God despises.

Fast food mentality
Entitlement mentality
the mentality that says I have rights
tolerance mentality
convenience mentality
pragmatism (if it works it is good, if it is efficient it is good)
humanism (the chief end of all being is the happiness of man)
individualism
independence
democracy
self love
etc. etc. etc.

These are just a few of the ideas that I have nurtured and helped form and have come into deep agreement with in my own life in conscious and subconscious ways.

I began to explore my motives and intentions behind things. I began to examine my commitment to God. I began to take a close look at how devoted I really am to Him. Am I really surrendered? Am I really a bondslave? Is He really my King? Have I really submitted to Him as Lord?

Have I committed to Him every penny in my pocket? Have I dedicated to Him every second of my day? Have I committed to submit? Have I committed to enter into real and pure agreement with His purposes and desires even for my every second? Is it real to me that I am not my own?

It has been very convicting and challenging as I began to really and honestly examine these things. The Lord spoke to me clearly and said that there are many times in my life where I “presume upon the riches of His kindness, not realizing that His kindness is meant to lead me to repentance.” (Rom. 2:4). I have been presuming upon the riches of His mercy, I have been presuming upon the riches of His goodnes, upon the riches of His grace, upon the riches of His patience. How many times do I refuse servanthood? How many times do I shrug it off when God tells me not to spend HIS money on something I want? How many times do I shrug it off when He tells me not to spend HIS time on sleep, recreation, entertainment or anything else? How many times do I feel an urge and refuse it because I think my life is my own?

I believe much of this disobedience is rooted in the ideologies I have been subject to for 22 years living in a culture of ease, convenience, self exaltation, proud and immeditate gratification. The Lord has been calling me to deeper places of real submission to Him. To begin living like a bondslave.

Many Christians may be offended with the intensity of this committment. If all this is what He wants Christianity seems impossible! Of course its impossible people, without His grace! He wants bondslaves.
Paul says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:3-4

3Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

And Peter says 1 Peter 2:16

16Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

He is a King and desires bondslaves and devotion to His heart.

We must break away from the agreement we have in the depth of us with the American ideologies and come into agreement with the culture of His kingdom! We must break away from out independence and enter into a real place of submission and obedience.

Let’s give ourselves to Him for real. I don’t want to just sing songs anymore, I want reality.