My Give.

22 06 2017

Over the past few months I have been haunted by an idea, a phrase that came about from a journal reading.  The idea came from Exodus 35 and 36, specifically 35:21 and 36:4-7…

“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.” Exodus 35:21


“Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”

So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.” And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.” Exodus 36:4-7

How incredible.  As they were working on creating the tabernacle for the Lord – the place where the presence of God would dwell (!!), the people with willing hearts gave of what they had.  As each person gave from what they had, both possessions and talents THERE WAS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR WHAT WAS TO BE DONE.

More than enough.

Nowhere in this passage did it say that the people judged their gift based on what others were giving but instead it says that they brought freely from what they had and all together it was ALL they needed for ALL parts of the tabernacle.  Actually, it was MORE THAN all they needed.

I think too often we look at our “give” and we judge it against what we see others giving.  We judge the type, we judge the amount, we judge what looks to be the quality... and often in this judging we judge our “give” to not be enough and so WE DON’T GIVE IT.  What we forget is that it takes many types and qualities and quantities of GIVES to make complete the calling of God on His people.

Recently I was reminded of this passage and an incident found in Acts.  There are currently many situations and people in my life who are going through hard times.  They are going through situations that I can’t fix.  I feel worthless because I wonder what I have to giveto them.  And it is in these moments that I remember a time where Peter, like me, didn’t have what a situation looked to need… but what he does have, he freely gives.

“Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.'” Acts 3:6

Peter doesn’t have money but what he has is more powerful.  Peter doesn’t have physical resources but he has miraculous resources that go beyond time.

Although I don’t always have money to give, solutions to the problem or even words to bring comfort, I don’t have the immediate resources, there is something I do have and like Peter it goes beyond…. I have God.  I have His presence and power inside of me.  Like Peter I have the miraculous resource of the presence of God within me who brings peace and healing.

My give is not dictated by what I think I have or don’t have but instead my give is dictated by His Spirit inside me.  In Him there is fullness and He enables me to give what is needed in those moments.  And so, I give of what I do have, Him.

What is your give?





Silencio

30 07 2015

As an extreme extrovert, people lover and external processer silence doesn’t come easy to me.  In fact silence is pretty much the antithesis of who I am.  I thrive on words and sound.  And yet….

When I was in high school the Lord began to birth in me a hunger for silence.  Not all the time, mind you, but just every so often.  I found that if I went long period of over exposure to the loudness of life that I would begin to hear only the chorus of chaos.  At the time I didn’t realize that this was the hunger within me or that God had crafted me to need silence.

People always laugh when I tell them that I played golf in high school.  Some people even argue it isn’t a sport…I want to see them walking 9 holes carrying their bag at least 3 days a week and playing 18 holes at least twice a week… then they can tell me it isn’t a sport.  Anyways, I played golf in high school.  It started as a way to be involved and to be close to my dad and papa but then something was sparked in me, a love of the silence.

Golf can be a very lonesome sport.  It takes concentration.  It takes mental strength.  It takes dedication.  But it also takes silence.  Not just silence like I’m learning how to not talk all the time but a silence of mind.  Learning to silence all your other thoughts, to turn off the worry and stress and just to be.  It was about the shutting out all else and focusing on the rhythm.  Head down, eye on the ball, arm straight, swing, finish.  If any piece is missing the whole shot is wrong.

In high school the quiet moments of hearing just the rustle of the wind through the trees quieted the voices wrestling within me.    The voices of fear and insecurity.  The voices of the enemy.

I didn’t know it then but the Lord was beginning to craft within me a desire for this silence.  Fast forward through all of high school and into college.  Fast forward through financial issues, broken hearts, loving and losing.  Fast forward through faith and fear, through obedience and desire.

Fast forward through time to today.  

Today I recognize that I have always been made to desire this silence and solitude.  We all were made for this silence and solitude.  Why?  Because in learning to be silent we are creating space for the Lord to speak.  And if we silence all else, He will be found.  A few months ago I wrote this poem as the Lord was reminding me of this hunger for silence.  My prayer is that as you realize the choatic chorus echoing in your ears that you would seek to learn to go to the silence to hear His voice.


Silencio

Silence used to threaten me, the voices hiding just beneath.

Fear gripped me at what would be revealed. The truth, my dirt, the darkness of my soul.

Slowly, light penetrated the darkness. Shame was revealed and grace was infused.

Light replaced darkness. Truth replaced lies.

The clamor of voices quietly subsided.

Silence, once taunted me now embraces me. Silence enfolds me in His presence. When all else is stripped away, it is He and me and nothing else.

Comfort, joy, peace, tranquility.

Silence, the stillness where He is found.


Psalm 46:10 “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.'”





Engrained in my Heart

6 03 2015

Today I was talking with a friend about what God has spoken to her lately.  It’s something that I like to talk about with friends, especially those who I don’t get to see face to face.  It gives me a picture of what God is doing in their lives but it also encourages me.  How often does God bury a nugget for me inside what He is speaking to them!

Anyways.. back to the point, there was something that she said that caught my attention and I have ruminated on it all morning.  She said that she has been learning about the covenant we have with God and that it was really getting engrained in her heart how faithful and loyal He is.

How vibrant a phrase to use, engrained in her heart, when talking about the things of God; His covenant, His promises, His law, His faithfulness, His loyalty, His righteousness, His Holiness, His love, His Truth.


Engrained: verb – firmly fixed or established in a person.


Now think about this for a moment though.  She said engrained in her heart not engrained on her heart… It isn’t just firmly fixed or established  on her heart, as though it didn’t belong.  If something is engrained on a surface it can be sanded off but something that is engrained in or within is something that is built into the very fiber of what that is made of, it in essence becomes a part of what it is engrained in; it is woven into the very fiber of it.

She was saying that God’s faithfulness and loyalty were being woven into the fiber of her being so that it would never be taken from her.

Jeremiah 31:33 “’This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.’”

A part of our covenant with God is that He would put in our mind but also write on our hearts (ingrain in our hearts) His law.  This is how we will be known as His people and He will be known as our God.

So the question now stands… What am I meditating upon and what am I allowing to become engrained in my heartWhat has become a part of who I am; the very fiber of my being?  Is it His law, His promise?  Is it His character, His goodness, His faithfulness, His Holiness?  Is it His Righteousness, His Hope and His Truth?  Is it His Love? What is engrained in my heart?

For what is engrained in my heart will tell to whom I belong.  Is He my God and am I of His people?


What are you meditating upon and allowing to be engrained in your heart?

What are you allowing to become a part of you?

Is it of Him or is it of the world?  Will you be known as His or as the world’s?





My Response to ISIS

24 09 2014

There has been a lot of talk recently about ISIS and the Christians that are being persecuted, tortured and killed.  There has been a lot of talk about the evil that lies within.  A lot of tears have been shed and fear has been raised about where our world is coming to.  Those in other countries worry about their proximity to the threat and those in America worry about evil at their door.

Can I be honest?  None of those are my response.

Don’t get me wrong, I am saddened by the events.  But not because there are Christians losing their lives for the sake of the gospel, but instead because there are families loosing loved ones.  I am not afraid of the evil at my doorstep, because the evil has been there every day.  ISIS might be outright about killing Christians but our society has been killing Christianity since it’s existence.  

Just look at the Holocaust.

Just look at the fight to take “religion” out of school and politics and government.

Just look around us.

This is not a new thing or a new evil.  Instead evil has become blatant about the attack, no more behind closed doors and in the whisper but instead it is out right and in our face.

And yet, I am still not afraid.  Nor am I sad for those who are loosing their lives.  I know I sound heartless when I say this but just think…

Revelation 6:9-11″When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been.

Those who ISIS are killing are these very souls… the souls of those slain because of the Word of God and the testimony. They are under the altar of God and He gives them a white robe. This is why I am not saddened by the thought of Christians loosing their lives for the sake of the Gospel.  I am excited that they are in throne room of God and because of their sacrifice they receive white robes.

As I stated earlier though, I am saddened by the loss their families and loved ones feel.  I saddened by the evilness that makes this a possibility.

BUT… that is not my only response to ISIS.

Last week at youth group we were talking about wearing the whole Armor of God.  As I was preparing for our time together and was reading through Ephesians 6 a passage of scripture caught my attention in a way it never had before.

Ephesians 6:18-20And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  Pray also for me,that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

Paul, who write Ephesians, is talking about the armor of God – what protects us as we fight the battles against the evil one.  He ends this section of his letter by talking about praying in the Spirit for all of the Lord’s people – specifically for himself that when he speaks he would speak fearlessly the gospel.  Paul lived in a time when persecutions of Christians was a normal thing.  On multiple occasions Paul is imprisoned, tortured and almost killed for the sake of the gospel.  Does he ever pray that the Lord would take this from him? No. Instead his prayer is that he would speak fearlessly the gospel as he is imprisoned, tortured and almost killed.  Whenever I hear the news about what is going on in the world, the persecution of people groups and religions, the hatred of Christians all I can think is that this isn’t the first time.

In the history of America this has happened time and time again.

Columbine.

9/11.

Boston Marathon.

But each of these events, which the enemy intended for evil, the Lord redeemed.  How?  Just look at the Boston Marathon.  A senseless act of evil towards unsuspecting individuals; lives were lost, dreams were shattered.  And yet, a city that is often seen as dark and sinful was covered in prayer.  The reaction to the Boston Marathon? #PrayforBoston.  What the enemy intended for evil and darkness, was instead a catalyst for an advancement of the Kingdom, not just in Boston but across this country and globe.

In times of tragedy what happens?  Those who proclaim to have no faith fall on their knees and cry out to the only God who hears.  With tears and fears and troubled hearts prayer is the place that we turn.

And so… my response to ISIS isn’t one of terror or fear.  I do not run from my belief in an attempt to save my own life but instead I turn to the very place Paul did.  I pray that those who ISIS captures for their faith would be fearless to proclaim the gospel, that they would not fear evil but instead in the boldness of the Lord proclaim the only true hope to those who are the most hopeless.  My prayer is that what the enemy intended for evil, the killing of innocent Christians, would expand the Kingdom of God because the gospel is being proclaimed to those who might never have heard it before.  Who knows in the course of this terror how many within ISIS find hope in Jesus, are set free by TRUTH?  Who knows?!

And so my response?  I pray for ISIS.  For each individual that has been taken captive by darkness that the light of Truth would set them free.  I pray for comfort for their families and the families of those killed.

And I pray that I myself would be fearless to proclaim the gospel regardless of the evil that stands in my face.  For in this world the darkness would have us believe that he has won, but the truth is, Light always prevails.





Live Free or Die…?

7 10 2012

I currently live in New England… in New Hampshire to be specific.  It is an incredibly beautiful state.  I have never fallen in love so quickly… at least with a location.  Friday was my four month anniversary of living in New Hampshire and in those fours months I have begun learning about this region that I now call home.   The state motto of New Hampshire is “Live Free or Die” and I was recently sharing this with my dad.  He commented that that wasn’t a bad way to live… and that that very idea was what our country was first founded upon.

Freedom.

The thing that I have realized though is that although the motto “Live Free or Die” is founded upon the very foundation of our country, the reality is that the true attitude that goes with this motto is one that disregards authority, that is my way or the highway.  It is about being free from rules, free from responsibility, free from anyone elses expectations.  This type of freedom builds walls.  This type of freedom creates rebellion.  This type of freedom is of the world.  This type of freedom is only temporary.

This freedom really isn’t free.

This morning at church I saw a shirt that said “Live Free, He died.”  How true is that.  We are enabled to have freedom, to live free because Christ died.  Upon His death the bondage of death was broken over our lives.  But… to obtain that freedom we must also die.  We must die to ourself, die to the world… we must lay down the old self to live in the freedom of the new that comes from Christ.

The funny thing is that the saying of New Hampshire explains to a tee the truth of why Christ died.  “Live Free or Die.”  You see when humanity fell we were seperated from God and from His life giving Spirit.  Without His Spirit we only have a momentary life not eternal life.  So if we don’t live in the Freedom that Christ procurred then we are living in death.

The truth of the matter is that as human beings our humanity wants to live in the Freedom that is provided by the world.  The one that satisfies our humanity, right now… it’s easier because it is in our nature and for our current state.

But… in the end, without His life, there is only death and that, my friends, is not true Freedom.

So…. truly… our choice is to… Live Free or Die.