Tag Archives: Wisdom

Be Gentle!

Friends came to visit the other day with four children, and I found myself saying “be gentle” a lot around Raphael and my instruments.  Most kids don’t ask to play my piano, they just begin banging away. What they don’t know, and likely wouldn’t care, is that my piano is an heirloom. It was custom hand carved in Ontario in 1901, has been fully restored and holds significant value to me because of who gave it to me.

This led to pondering what is really important as far as breakable things, so the next morning I looked up verses that deal with gentleness.  The first one was Philippians 4:4

Let you gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near.

In our individualistic expressionistic culture, gentleness is not something we hear about often, but it is something that sets a person remarkably apart.

The Bible tells us a gentle answer turns away wrath.  It is not human tendency to respond to wrath or anger with a gentle answer. David told me of an incident where he was taking significant verbal abuse from some one who had come to work for him.  Rather than returning heated words, he responded, asking;

“What is your name?”

Taken aback, the other stopped and asked; “What?”

“What is your name?”  David repeated.

In the midst of the angry tirade, David firmly extended dignity, offering a relationship to work from, rather than simply fighting around a problem and the situation resolved peaceably.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure and peace loving, it is always gentle…    (James 4:17)

As I thought about gentleness, Jesus showed me a picture through my heirloom piano of how He feels about His children.  Each is custom created and holds significant value to Him – far more value than the rarest instrument and He desires gentleness to mark my dealings with each one.

The broken vessels always seem to have the sharpest edges and must be handled the most gently.  I have come to realize it is the same with people.  I never cease to be amazed at the gentleness with which Jesus interacts with the broken, outcast and lost, flying in the face of culture’s disregard for those outside the circle.

If we are listening when interacting with people, we would hear Jesus say – “please be gentle – that person holds significant value to me.” He is near, waiting to pour gentle grace into my every encounter others if I will see with His eyes.

To be undergirded with gentleness does not mean to be walked on or to turn a blind eye to wrong, rather, it is an undercurrent, directed by wisdom and strength that sees beneath the surface of the masks we wear and says; “I see you, and I care about the person beneath the mask”

We are to be gentle when gentleness does not come naturally.  To be part of mending the brokenness we all carry in a way that reflects accurately, the One who cares the most.

 

 

Can You Run With Horses?

Have you been watching darkness and injustice prevail, seeing little hope?   This week a passage was burned on my mind; I have been asking Jesus what it means for our time.

The Lord replied to me: “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses?  If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?  Jeremiah 12:5

God has supplied everything we need to advance the Kingdom of God violently in the spiritual realm.  He has forged for us weapons that tear down spiritual strongholds and attitudes that set themselves up against God and His righteousness.  But we must relinquish tradition to take up what God has supplied.

If the injustice and vices of man weary us, how are we to overcome the injustice of spiritual oppression growing around us?  Our nation is turning to idols of every variety, being swept away in captivity, and we sequester ourselves inside our church walls and sing about amazing grace.  We are wearied racing against men.

Yesterday as I worshipped, I heard thundering hoof beats all around me.  I felt a burning in my spirit to call forward people consecrated to the Lord.  Then I heard the words:

“You are no longer to be wearied in warfare, you are to be invigorated in victory!” 

Too long we have stumbled on the smooth and open plain of political freedom and relative prosperity,  perpetually weary and overwhelmed.

How then will we race in the treacherous  thickets that are coming?

Unless we become intimately acquainted with the Spirit of God and allow Him to equip and teach us how to LIVE in victory, we will continue to race and be wearied by men on smooth ground.

There is far too much at stake to remain in a state of weariness.  Our work begins in intercession and prayer in unison with the Holy Spirit who intercedes with inexpressible groans, and Jesus who lives to make intercession for us.  If these two members of the Trinity are so invested in our prayer life, should we not invest concerted effort learning to pray in sync with them?

What about the forgotten gifts.  Prophesy, tongues, words of wisdom and revelation, teaching in power, declarations that call forth what God has ordained but is yet to be. We need supernatural strength to race with horses in the thickets.

We have already entered a season in Canada and America where the majority attitude has set itself up against the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and people are paying dearly.  I meet more and more oppressed and scattered sheep who desperately need a gospel of hope that liberates with power.  We have many excuses why signs and wonders do not accompany our gospel.  Maybe its time to destroy our excuses, cut away our safety net and relinquish control to Jesus who is actually the King of the church!

Are we willing to receive the power of the Holy Spirit in your daily life?   It requires breaking free from the spirit of slavery leading to fear as the Holy Spirit cuts to the heart of our insecurity and bondage.

Are you ready for the thicket?  Are you ready to race with horses?  First you must be free.

The Great Paradox

I don’t think God minds when we have no flipping clue how to go about this “Christian Life”  thing.

We walk out a gospel of paradoxes.  Doctrine that pulls us both directions at once.  I believe it is God’s way of ensuring we will always need His Holy Spirit.  If we try to work out the the paradoxes on our own, we shrivel into dead religion.  It is only when we allow the Spirit of God to lead us that we can navigate the paradoxes with balance and harmony.

Grace alone saves us – not works.  But without works, faith is dead.

Come to me and find healing and rest – Pick up your cross and follow me, undeterred by suffering.

I give my beloved ones sleep.  The watchmen take no rest.  (What if I am a beloved watchman?)

Suffering with Christ is a privilege that produces glory.  Life abundant is there for those who follow Jesus.

It is God who fights for us.  Take up the Sword of the Spirit; the Word of God and stand firm.

I sit this morning, passing paradoxes back and forth in my mind like a penny from one hand to the other.  I know I need some serious wisdom.   Discernment is not easy at the best of times, but exhaustion causes hope to hunker down a little farther to the back and numbs the desire to be brave.

I desire to walk in victory and power, yet the limitations of this season keep me coming back in weakness, asking for more grace. I hear God’s call, yet know I am unable to meet Him in it without more of His strength.

There is something about resting in the goodness of God that releases the frustration of walking out the paradox.  If I remain steadfast that God is good, and God is for me, I don’t have to understand the two sides fully. I can let the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear the next step on the paradox without needing to know the entire journey.

Come to me you weary and heavy laden – I will give you rest.  Regardless of where the Spirit is leading you in the paradoxes of today, His promises remain.  No matter what your circumstance, the invitation to come is unwavering, and when we come, we do not leave the same.

I pray you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit today, inviting you to step into the paradox with Him.  It is the only way to do the “Christian Life” and not either go crazy or religious!

 

The Identity Crisis Deception

There has been much talk lately about gender identity and the freedom to embody and live as whatever identity you choose.  It is gripping my heart and burdening my mind, and I suspect I’m not alone.

I see a devastating agenda being forcefully advanced in society with the experiment being tested on our kids.  There is a point to prove, and the most vulnerable are used as the battering ram to drive it forward.

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity.  Who we are.  Identity shapes how we respond to one another and how we understand ourselves. Society has completely unmoored itself from reality and is working feverishly  to create its own.   Boys can be girls, girls can be boys, marriage can be whatever gender compilation you choose, value lies in talent and sex appeal and you pick your identity depending on the whim of the day.

But it is not just the secular world in identity crisis, it is in the church too.  How are we to be a voice of hope in society when we ourselves are not living the identity we received at our rebirth?

If we are in Christ, seated in a place of authority over strongholds of deception, confusion, and fear, are we not given power to change the reality of our world through prayer, love and truth?  Jesus knew who He was, and lived in the power of His identity.  If the church in North America knew and lived out our identity, Satan would shake in his boots.

He knows if he can steal or shift our identity, he is free to do what he does best.  Steal, Kill, Destroy.  God does not create without purpose and design, and that is what the enemy fears – that we fulfill our purpose and live out our design.  If we don’t know our identity, we cannot fulfill our destiny.  So he carefully weaves his deception.  Using fear, intimidation, and insecurity, he keeps us afraid of embracing our identity and we relinquish our destiny.

There is a gap that desperately needs the church to step up and fill it with intercession and truth!  Do we feel we must stand helplessly by as our world goes mad?  Or do we step into the WarRoom (to capitalize on the well known movie), and pray with authority and calling forward our kids, our generation and our nation into their God-given identity and destiny?

It’s easy to feel isolated and alone, thinking ‘what can my individual prayers do?’  But that too, I’m learning is a deception.  I am encouraged reading story after story of individual men and women  God used to change their culture.  It takes only takes one child of God,  secure in their identity to change the world and once it begins to change, you are no longer alone.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, or how Jesus has been revealing identity to you!