Holding Up Hands to God

1/27/2005 6:34 AM
Title: PRAYING FOR MY PEOPLE – INTERCESSION
——————————

S: “And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and
when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” Exodus 17:11

O: This is a classic story about that I have heard a hundred times about a
leader who is being supported by his people. I’ve heard about ministers who
use this to gather around them a support team, and who gather around them a
group of people who are their prayer partners – holding up their hands to
God in prayer.

But this morning, I see something different here. What I see is, yes, Aaron
and Hur were holding up Moses’ hands, but more than that, Moses was holding
up HIS hands for his people. And notice what happens when he does that –
they win.

Moses probably wasn’t praying for specific people all the time, but as he
saw the battle progress, his prayers would shift one direction or another.
And then he would shift to another. He probably prayed for specific people
at times, and in general at times. But he watched the battle and lifted up
his hands to God.

A: The question then comes to me today, am I holding up my people in prayer?
Could it be that if I were praying more for my people that they would win
more battles? Could it be that one of the reasons my church is not winning
as much as it is is because I am not praying for them individually on a
regular basis, holding them up to God in prayer, praying for their success,
asking God, pleading God, begging God for their spiritual walks in life.

P: Lord, I know you are leading me right now. I know that you want to turn
me into a man of prayer. I ask you to come, Lord, and use this story to
ignite a passion in me, not just for prayer, because I am passionate about
that, but also for prayer for my church and the people there.

I pray now, Lord, for their success. I pray you will turn us into a people
of prayer. I know that Leo’s meetings could be a source of contention for
some who won’t want to support or who won’t want to take part or who are
looking for path to complain about. But I know that you are in charge. I
know that you are watching out for us. Lord, I pray you will use these Leo
meetings to ignite a passion for winning lost people. I pray you will use
these meetings to attach the enemies kingdom with force. I pray you will
use this to ignite a fire in our hearts and ignite a passion in our
day-to-day lives. I pray, Lord, for the Holy Spirit to come to my church
and fill us with your presence. Please continue to lead us. Please
continue to guide us. Please make us into your people.

Thank you, Lord. I love you.

Advertisements

Tell it out!

1/25/2005 4:25 AM
Title: TELL YOUR SONS (AND DAUGHTERS)
—————————————

S: “And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘This is done because
of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.’.for with a strong
hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.So it shall be when your son asks
you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By
strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of
bondage.” Exodus: 13:8, 9, 14

O: God through Moses is telling the people that they need to pass on what
they are now learning. They need to make sure that what is happening in
their lives by the hand of God, is passed on to their children. In other
words, it’s great for you to learn, but if you aren’t passing it on, how are
your kids going to learn – unless they simply go through everything again
and again, repeating the same ugly things you have done.

A: Am I telling Seth, Krista, Kylie, Summer, and Kinsee my story of how I
came out of bondage? I wasn’t in bondage to Egypt, but bondage to sin. I
need to make sure that I am telling them, sharing with them, not about the
evils of sin, but about the deliverance of God. I need to show them that
deliverance means NEVER having to go back to sin. I need to tell them the
story of where my life was headed and how God has saved me and redeemed me.

This doesn’t have to be a huge deal always. It can be over little things
that God has lead me out of. For instance, why did God lead me away from
chocolate? Why did he lead me away from lust? Why did he lead me away from
anger? Why did he lead me away from struggles with all kinds of things?
Big, Medium, or Small, I need to pass on the things that God has done for
me, redeeming me from bondage to the prince of this world, Satan.

Am I doing that? I think I’m doing it some, but I think I can see that
perhaps a more concerted effort might be necessary. Values are caught more
than they are taught, but watching AND hearing from me, may be both
necessary to get the words to my kids.

My dad used to ALWAYS say things: “You ain’t eat’n if you don’t set ain’t”
or something stupid like that. There were other phrases that he always used
to say, of course now that I’m trying to write them down, I can’t remember
them. But what if I want to leave a legacy of words to my kids? Wouldn’t
it be cool if my kids would remember words like: “God will lead you out of
bondage of sin.” Or “Let me share another story of how God redeemed me!”

Wouldn’t it be cool if the legacy I left with my kids was a passing on of
the faith, a growing faith journey and a growing time with the LORD?

P: Lord, I put my kids in your hands. I want to tell them all the things
you’ve done for me. I want to tell them how you have redeemed me, saved me,
become my Lord and Savior. I pray you will help me in this mighty task. I
pray you will fill me with the Holy Spirit. I pray you will make me a man
like you. I love you, Lord. I want to serve you, honor you, be filled by
you, and walk with you.

I commit myself to you, my day to you, and my family to you. I love you,
Lord.

Faithful Story

1/24/2005 5:03 AM
Title: IDLE TALES OR FAITHFUL STORY
——————-
S: “And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe
them.” Luke 24:11

O: This is an interesting passage in relation to Exodus 9-11 which I also
read this morning. That’s the story of the last of the plagues. Pharaoh is
choosing to look at Moses’ words as idle words. He’s saying, this is not
mission critical. They aren’t really going to happen.

The disciples chose to look at the ladies’ words as idle words too.

Both Moses and the ladies at the tomb, had been in the presence of God, or
at least had heard God’s words. But the other people didn’t believe them.
Why not?

A: How many times have I CHOSEN to not hear the words of God? How many
times have I CHOSEN to harden my heart and not listen? How many times have
I gone against God’s will only because I refused to listen?

Those are hard words. I know that I have closed my mind to the things of
God at times in my life. I know that I have chosen to make God’s words idle
tales, rather than a faithful story. But I am learning that God’s ways are
always the best ways.

For example, when I teach people about the Sabbath, I tell them that not
everything is understandable until you take that step of faith. I’m not
doing anything unreasonable with them, they already believe the Bible says
that, but they don’t understand every little nuance of the Sabbath when I
tell them that. They are ready to make the decision and step over the line,
and they usually do and they experience the full blessing of the Sabbath
then.

In other words, sometimes I don’t know that everything is understandable in
God’s ways. The resurrection didn’t make sense. Locusts, boils, bloody
water, darkness had never happened on the magnitude that it happened those
few days in Egypt before. Sometimes what God says doesn’t make sense.

The question is, do I trust him enough to follow anyway?

P: Lord, I submit myself to you. I don’t want to follow my own ways. I
don’t want to follow my ways, but your ways. I pray, Lord, for your will to
be done in my life. I pray for your guidance in my life. I pray that you
will help me to follow your faithful story. It’s a never ending story and a
never-beginning story too. I want to go your direction and I invite you
into my heart, Lord. I pray you will show me your ways. I pray you will
show me your desires. I pray you will strengthen my desire to follow you.
I love you.

Fishers of Men

1/5/2005 6:28 AM
Title: FISHERS OF MEN
———————–

S: “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had
brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. Luke 5:8

O: Depending on which account you read, Jesus had some contact with Peter,
Andrew, James and John before this moment. He had begun to cast some vision
to them and show them what could be. But evidently they weren’t totally
convinced, or he hadn’t given them a complete call before this time.

When the fish are caught and it’s such an unbelievable event, Peter is
scared. He realizes that he has simply NOT been listening to Jesus up to
this point and all of a sudden he realizes that he’s been causually
conversing with the Messiah. It scares him to death.

It’s like the time I nearly got into a crash with a semi. If one thing
would have been different, all of us would have been killed. Each time I
remember that story, I get an adrenaline rush – God protected us at that
moment when Krista was just a couple of days old. Even now I’m pausing,
just remembering it..

But it is at this moment that the disciples get a clear picture of what
really was happening. They were dealing with the Messiah. Although that
scared them, the Messiah was asking them to be part of His ministry – and
that excited them.

They left everything. Who wouldn’t if they were that sure of what they were
following.

A: When God called me, I wasn’t catching fish, I was catching baseballs. I
left everything to do what I’m doing right now. I know my calling. I know
my desire to be like Jesus.

About a week or so ago, I was at my folks house and I saw a picture of our
former next door neighbors. My former best friend and his two daughters
whom I’ve never seen. I looked at that picture. I was drawn to that
picture. I saw something that I couldn’t let go of. Here’s a friend of
mine who was 16 days younger than I was. We grew up together from about 9
years old and on. I haven’t seen him since about 1983 or so. I called him
in 1999 when I moved to Colorado and I’ve had a little email contact with
him since then.

But I saw this picture and I think what I saw was a picture of myself – with
what could have been. It scared me. He’s been through one divorce and the
kids are like 17-13 or something like that. He’s in the process of going
through another divorce right now. I’m not saying that to condemn him at
all. That’s not my point.

But I saw a moment in time that God called me out and changed me forever.
Periodically he shows me what my life would have been like if I had not
taken the steps to follow Him. When I was in high school, I ran into a
different friend who had become a drug addict and likely an alcoholic.
That’s what I would have become. How do I know? He was my best friend and
I ran around with him a lot!

When I looked at the picture a few weeks ago, I saw a picture of what my
life could have been like had it not been for the GOD back-bone that I carry
with me now. Divorce, unhappiness, kids that aren’t living with me.

P: Lord, when I stop and analyze that you called me out to make a difference
in people’s lives. You called me out to pull people out of the muck and
mess that they are living in, that I could have been living in. You called
me out and you called me to be like you. I want to say at times, “Depart
from me, for I am a sinful man!” But you always say back to me – “Don’t be
afraid, from now on you will catch men.”

Thank you, Lord, for the calling. Thank you for the belief in me. Thank
you for the opportunity to make a difference. Thank you for living in me.
I love you, Lord.

I submit my life to you. I surrender all. I forsake everything today,
Lord, to follow you. Thank you for the opportunity to do so.

Leadership Temptations

1/4/2005 4:49 AM
Title: PERSONAL TEMPTATIONS – LEADERSHIP
——————–

S: “But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word of God”‘” Luke 4:4 “And Jesus answered and
said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship
the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”‘” Luke 4:8 “And Jesus
answered and said to him, ‘It has been said, “You shall not tempt the LORD
your God.”‘” Luke 4:12

O: The temptations of Jesus. They are in a different order in Matthew, but
that is likely a trivial thing to talk about. But they are complete
temptations.

John Maxwell says about this:
Jesus faced three major temptations during his 40 days in the desert. The
enemy approached Him and tried to entice Him through the following
temptations:
1. Legitimate needs (v.3): He tried to get Jesus to act apart from God
in order to meet His legitimate needs.
2. Spiritual Gifting (vv. 6, 7): He tried to urge Jesus to use His
giftedness for self profit or to draw a crowd.
3. Personal Worship (vv. 9, 10): He tried to convince Jesus to get
ahead by linking up with a power other than God.
Jesus teaches every leader that the first person you lead is you. We earn
the right to lead others when they see us lead well in our own lives.

Obviously the temptations of Jesus were big enough to record. We’re so
overcome with appetite that we can’t understand why he didn’t make the
stones into bread – it’s a little thing.. We’re so overcome with
insecurity, that we may have jumped at the opportunity to have the world at
our fingertips. We’re so overcome with a desire for thrills that we’re
ready to jump of cliffs and ready to jump wherever the thrill might take us.

Jesus didn’t do that. He didn’t think of himself first. Even after being
weakened by 40 days of fasting, he thought first and foremost of others.
Perhaps, I’ve just seen for the first time that this was a preparation for
Gethsemane and the Cross. In other words, he pushed himself to the limit at
the beginning of his ministry because he knew he was going to be pushed to
the limit at the end. In order to see if he had the stamina, he
artificially induced the limit through fasting and the wilderness. It was a
huge test for him – was he going to rely on God or was he going to rely on
himself.

To me, that’s what I’ve always said about fasting. Fasting creates an
artificially induced rock bottom. But it kind of is like lifting weights.
When you’ve been to the bottom, you know you go deeper next time. In other
words, no pain, no gain.

When I lifted 200lbs I knew I could do 210. When I lifted 210, I knew 225
was within my reach. Perhaps as Jesus went through this rock-bottom
experience, he became more sure that he was leaning properly on God and that
God would carry him through the darkness that was to come. It was a
training ground for the end.

A: I think John Maxwell is right. If we can’t lead ourselves, we can’t lead
anyone. The first person a leader leads is himself. I used to be so
undisciplined. I used to be so different. I used to run at everything that
came around to have a good time. I used to chase anything that tasted good,
felt good, or treated me and my appetites.

But over the years, God has led me to become a man of discipline – and I
still have a long ways to go! But he’s led me to say no to some unhealthy
appetites of life. He’s led me to become disciplined in my devotional time.
He’s now leading me to become disciplined in my afternoon devotions.

But with each step of leading myself deeper, I know that he’s opened up
another stage of leading others as well. And it’s interesting that Russ and
Gail have both been dealing with me on the basic same issue – that I need to
let go of more things – sacrifice always precedes success.

I know that this is a part of leading myself, Lord. Learn to manage myself
and as I do, I will be called to manage others. Learn to lead myself and I
will be called to lead others. Learn to discipline myself and I will be
called to lead others in their discipline.

P: Lord, I know that you are leading me. I know that I’ve changed a lot
over the years. I don’t ever want to stop that growth. I don’t ever want
to become stagnant in my growth. I pray Lord, for the Holy Spirit to fill
me. I pray you will continue to move me down the path of discipline, for as
my personal core values says – The pursuit of discipline will get me where I
want to go.

In each step of my pursuit of discipline, you have brought me a greater
life. When I said no to being at everything the church did – people hated
that and got mad and me. But it happened because I needed to discipline my
life – and after that, the church grew. Now I’m being called to discipline
my life with a greater degree of discipline in what I do and what I don’t
do. I believe, Lord, you are preparing the church for a greater degree of
growth.

Lord, I submit my life to you. I submit my desires to you. I submit my
whole being to you. I don’t want to hold anything back. I pray for a heart
like you. I ask you into my heart to fill me, forgive me, and make me like
you.

I love you, Lord. I will follow you.

submission to God

1/1/2005 6:41 AM
Title: ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL
——————-

S: “The Mary said, ;Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me
according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38

O: Marry said a couple of different things here – each expressing that she
was willing to do what God called her to do. 1) “Behold the maidservant of
the Lord!” This statement is simply her way of saying, “I’m God’s servant
and I am called to do whatever he asks. 2) she says, “Let it be to me
according to you word.” And here she’s saying, I believe what you said, I
pray that God’s will will really be done in my life.

She’s acknowledging God’s leadership in her life and she’s submitting to it.
Those are two really big issues.

A: The real question of the day is, am I as committed to obeying and
submitting to God as Marry was? In other words, am I listening, am I
following, am I willing to watch, am I willing to do no matter what it might
cost my reputation, am I expressing my genuine followership of Jesus Christ
no matter what?

P: Lord, I want to submit myself to you today. I want to be a listener of
you. I pray you will take charge of my life. I pray you will lead me to
follow you. I submit myself to you and all that I am and all that I have.
I love you and I will follow you.