4/25/2006 6:48 AM


S: 1 Chronicles 10:12-14 NKJV  (12)  all the valiant men arose and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons; and they brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.  (13)  So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.  (14)  But he did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.

Matthew 12:33-37 NKJV  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.  (34)  Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  (35)  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart[7] brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  (36)  But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.  (37)  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

O: Saul lost out and was killed by God, it says, because he did not inquire of the Lord.  Now, in the immediate context of this situation, he tried, and God did not answer.  But I think as I read the book of 1st Samuel, I think it’s saying that in the context of Saul’s life, in most of what he did, he didn’t consult with God. 

When he chased David through the wilderness, when he threw a spear at David and later at Jonathan, when he made rash vows, or when Saul made military and spiritual decisions, he never consulted with God about them.  He occasionally looked to Samuel for help, but often didn’t listen to Samuel. 

I think Jim Brauer’s recent email described what happened to Saul as well:

Ideally religion should be about the personal love relationship between Creator and Creature, but alas it too often isn’t.

      If you have listened to my series on regression on, then you have already heard the following:

      The battle in the christian life is the battle with self, in order for Christ to have full Control self must die

      If you will not allow Christ to kill you —  (you can’t kill yourself)  then regression starts here

      a.  you don’t want to die because you need to maintain some sense of control in your life

      b.  soon you will discover that control feels good and seek control of others ( wife, kids, etc)

      c.  not too long and you discover that religion is an ideal vehicle for extending control, especially over dumber people who will let you

      d.  over time your influence will grow

      e.  over time your words will take on a special meaning

      f.  over time you will believe your own press and think your words inspired

      g. sadly over time you will believe you are god

      This regression is the sad story repeated everywhere, without exception,  Old Testament, New Testament,  Catholic, Adventist, current, and of course ME!

      I must die daily.

      Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it cannot live.

Saul just refused to be killed by God.  He refused to give up himself.  And Jesus comes along and says – that if you are a good tree, you produce good fruit.  If a bad tree, bad fruit.  Then he says in the following verses (not quoted above) that an evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign.  Saul asked for a sign the night before he died.  Saul simply produced bad fruit, because he wasn’t a good tree….

A: I could spend a lot of time talking about Saul, but the point is me.  Am I willing to be killed by God each day?  Am I willing to listen to Him, follow Him, obey Him and let Him be in charge of my whole life?  Ah, that’s the rub, isn’t it? 

That’s where the rubber meets the road.  That’s where the Christian life really takes root.  And it seems as if it all starts with whether I turn to God for context in my life.  Am I going to Him to make the decisions in my life?  And we’re not just talking about the big, major decisions like if I should change careers, move, get married, buy a house, etc.  But it’s also the little decisions for guidance that we need to inquire of the Lord.  It’s an inquiry that simply acknowledges that He is God and we are not.  It’s an inquiry that simply says – God I need your help in life.

P: Lord, today I turn to you.  I do it every day, some days are rushed, some are motivated by self, but mostly I come here to inquire of you and learn to be a man of prayer.  I pray, Lord, for the Holy Spirit to focus my attention and focus my life.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to lead me.  I ask you to guide me.

Lord, today is the day we are supposed to start on our roof.  We’ll see if they’ve gotten anything done yesterday or not.  But I pray, Lord, for patience on my part and for help in communicating the vision of seeing what needs to be done in the job ahead of us.  I pray, Lord, for the Holy Spirit to guide us and to keep us listening to you.  Please lead us to focus on you and lead us to walk with you.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, Lord.  Thank you for the opportunity to walk with you.  I turn to you and I will follow you.  I love you. 

Please keep the rain away, Lord.  Please keep the rain away and allow us to walk with you.  Please guide us to listen to you and to follow you.

Renewed in HIS Strength

4/4/2006 6:51 AM
    S: 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NKJV  (7)  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  (8)  We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  (9)  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-
    2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV  (16)  Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  (17)  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  (18)  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
    O: Notice Paul’s words here.  He talks about the bad that is happening, but always counters it with the positive.  He talks about the breaking down, but always ends on the renewing.  His choice of words are that he is an earthen vessel – a breakable, disposable vessel.  But then he says that they are NOT crushed, NOT in despair, NOT forsaken, and NOT destroyed. 
They are positive words in the midst of turmoil.  They are good words in the midst of bad.  They are words of hope – they have a hope for the coming, the future, what is next.  They continue to hang on, no matter what they are faced with, because God is still God and because that gives them the hope they need.
    The outward is perishing – that alone should bring discouragement and a down feeling, but they are still being renewed daily.  The focus here of Paul is not on what is, but what is to be.  In other words, he doesn’t focus on today, he focuses on tomorrow.  Awesome!
    A: These words are my words.  This last weekend, I barely had the energy to continue.  By the time I was done with the West Campus, I was toast.  I was done.  I was shot.  I was completely out of energy.  My thoughts were, “There has to be an easier job than church planting and trying to grow a church!”  I felt like I was ready to quit – emotionally.  I knew logically that I will never quit!  I knew that I was doing what I was called to do, and that God had never promised to make it easy.
    But I knew I needed some time off.  Sunday was a full day with the constituency meeting.  But yesterday I took the day off.  Today and tomorrow I’m taking the day off.  It’s all about making sure that I get renewed with God and not just go-go-go-go-go….  Today, I feel so much better.  Today I am renewed and I know that God is in charge.  Today I am ready to continue the renewal process.  I know that God is in charge and I know that He is leading me.
    Therefore, I do not lose heart.  Even though my outward man is perishing – with age, with stress, with work, with health – yet my inward man is being renewed day by day.  My light affliction is but a moment, but I’m looking to something far more exceeding in glory.  I don’t spent my time looking at the seen, the temporary, but I’m looking at the eternal.
I have to.
    P: Lord, I know you led Gail and I a long time ago to take a regular 6-week break.  Everyone else gets a full weekend off.  We were only getting one day off, and that was sometimes filled with time on the phone, etc.  I’ll never forget what that was like – the feeling of anger that kept rising in me, the feeling of frustration, the feeling of inadequacy.  And I remember going for like 3-4 months without a single day off.  I was in turmoil and the devil was going to win. 
When we realized what was happening, we determined to that since everyone else gets two days off a week, that we would take 3 days off every 6 weeks.  It’s usually a Sunday-Tuesday or a Monday – Wednesday.  But it’s a time of renewing with God, with each other and just getting away from the phones.
    Today is day 2 of our 6-week break and I already feel renewed.  No, I am not so renewed that I’m ready to go back to work – hardly!  But I know that this is the right thing, to keep me on track, to do what God has called me to do, and to listen to Him. 
That’s the point, isn’t it, Lord?  To listen to you.  That’s where my renewal comes from.  That’s where my renewal comes from so that I can truly listen to you.  So that I can honestly follow you.
Please come into my heart.  Please fill me with the Holy Spirit.  Please cleanse me from my uncleanness.  Please make me like you.  I pray, Lord, for the Holy Spirit to focus me.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to fill me.  Please forgive me for being a sinner and cleanse me from my sin. 
    I love you, Lord.  I will follow you.  I will serve you.  I want to walk with you.  I love you.