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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Combination

It takes all three to unlock it and gain full access to what's inside. 

My locker combination that is.  Three numbers.  Exact numbers.  Only those numbers will make it open to me.  I could try to convince myself that it doesn't take those three numbers.  I could fully convince others that it doesn't take all three numbers.  But, it doesn't change the reality of it.  If I'm going to get inside, I'm going to need all three.

God is THREE in One.  Father, Son, Holy Spirit. 

Some like the idea of just the Father.  The 'man upstairs'.  The 'big guy in the sky'.  The 'mystery man'.  But, they refuse to accept the Son. 

Some are okay with the idea of the Father and the Son, but they don't want to make it personal with number Three.  They don't know that it's number Three that makes the whole thing come alive in our lives.  It's number Three that lives inside of us.  It's number Three that is our Comforter, Counselor.  It's number Three that takes the Word and brings it into Living color.

The Kingdom of God has a three digit combo lock.  Just as I can't try to get into my locker with just one or two numbers, I can't access the Kingdom of God and all that it has for me if I'm missing one or two digits.

Try it sometime with your own locker.  See how far you get if you try to make up your own numbers.  See if only one or two digits will work. 

God wants to give us unlimited access to the Treasures.  All you need is the right combination.


Friday, February 21, 2014

The Haircut

My older daughter has gorgeous thick blond hair.  In the past, we have always kept it rather short.  A cute bob.  It made it easier to manage and comb and always looked adorable on her.  But, recently, she had requested that she grow it longer.  So we avoided getting it cut for several months.  Lately, though, it had gotten to a point where she really needed it worked on a bit.  I explained to her that we needed to go in for a cut but we would still keep it long. 

So we headed off to our local hair salon and I explained to the kind-faced woman what we wanted.  She was very cooperative and attentive when we talked it over.  She even pulled out her comb and showed me how much she'd be taking off.  When there seemed to be an understanding, I nodded, smiled and gave her the space to do her thing.

Ten minutes into her cut, I looked over and heard the hairdresser say to my younger daughter, who recently had her hair cut above her shoulders, "You're gonna look like twins now."

I could feel my heart tighten.  Twins?

"Wait," I said to her as I looked down at my daughter in the chair.  "They shouldn't look like twins."

But, the damage was done.  The 3 inches I requested somehow turned into about 6! 

"I thought she understood!"  I said to myself. 

My heart began to break for my daughter.  I had promised her over and over that she would be able to keep her long hair.  But as I watched her face in the mirror, I could tell her heart had sunk, too.


There is nothing more frustrating than to communicate your vision to someone, give them the instructions on what you want to see happen, and then see something completely different from that vision come about. 

I knew what I wanted for my daughter.  I explained it clearly.  But the hairdresser somewhere along the way lost sight of my vision and let her own take over. 

And here's the thing.  It's not that my daughter's hair didn't look good.  She has always looked good in shorter hair.  It was a beautiful cut.  It just wasn't what I had asked for.  It was very hard to get excited about something that looked good when I felt my vision had been ignored and not carried out.

It's easy for me to see now why God says to His people, "To obey is better than sacrifice."  To listen to what He wants to see carried out and then actually carry out that exact Vision is better than trying to make something 'beautiful' with our vision and all the while completely ignore His instructions.

What has God told you to do?  Has He given you a Vision?  Has He made it clear what He wants to see happen?  If so, are you respecting His instructions enough that you are obeying them?  Or, have you lost sight of what He has said and are now being carried along by your own ideas and vision?

At the end of the day, it's not going to be how beautiful you made the 'hair cut'.  It's going to be: Did you do what He asked you to do?


With that being said, though, it's important to remember that if God has given you a Vision, He will be the One to help make it happen.  I know for me, I can get nervous that I will somehow miss His Vision and accidently go my own way on things.  We can be reassured that if we are staying close to Him, seeking first His Kingdom and righteousness, everything else will fall into place.  If we continue to get with Him, spend time with Him, get His Heart on things and yield to this Spirit, He promises that we will bear much fruit.  We won't miss it because we have given Jesus the wheel -- or in this case, the scissors. :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It Sounds Like Elton John

We never labor alone.  If you are then stop what you're doing immediately. :)
There are many songs that I can listen to and know immediately who had a hand in writing them.  There's a musical fingerprint that is unique to those songwriters.  Elton John, for example.  I can listen to a song of his for the first time and say to the person next to me, "It sounds like Elton John."  There are intervals and chord progressions that He favors.  There are nuances I can't even completely explain.  I just know it's his. 
In the same way, the 'songs' we sing in life should sound like Jesus had a hand in writing them.  It's the Song of the Kingdom.  The unique fingerprint of the Spirit of God.  Those who hear our Song for the first time should be able to say immediately, "It sounds like Jesus".
Assess your 'Songs' in life.
  • Is the Kingdom Melody running through them? The Glorious Love Melody of the Father?

  • Are your Lyrics based on your wisdom or His? 
  • The plans you put into action - - are they carried along by His 'chord progressions'
  • If someone were to meet you for the first time, would they be able to hear the 'nuances' that are unique to God?  Even if they can't explain it, they recognize the beat and rhythm that can only be found in Heaven.
The best 'Songs' I've ever sung in life have always had His Name written on the copyright.  If I try to write the song myself, it is guaranteed to flop.  I know it will never amount to much.  But, when I invite Him in and say, "Let me co-labor with you as you sing Your Song," I know for sure that our song is going to hit #1 on the charts!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Talking to Daddy

I think prayer is the most exciting thing we will ever experience here on earth. 
This statement might be a ridiculous one for some people.  For them, prayer is as boring and UNexciting as life can get.  It's a duty.  It's a dry, monotonous experience.  They do it only because they are told they should, but their hearts are far off.  It's not that they don't want to be interested in prayer.  They do.  They just haven't discovered yet the treasures found inside it or how to get there.
Here are a few thoughts to help us get there.
1)  First and most importantly, there is only ONE way to the Father. 
That way is through His Son, Jesus.  If you try to take any other road, your prayer life will go nowhere because prayer is talking to the Dad that made you.  If you are praying to any other god, you aren't talking to your Heavenly Father.  Life is found only in believing in Jesus and putting your trust in Him.  It's equally important to note that we are only righteous before Him through the cross.  If you are experiencing condemnation when you come to God, say out loud, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ."  God wants us to know that we can be completely confident with Him -- no shame.
2) We must remember that God is a REAL PERSON and He is ALIVE. 
I know that sounds funny if you already believe that.  But, I can tell you that many times I talk to Him like somehow He's not.  I talk to Him like he either doesn't hear or hardly understands.  I talk to Him like He doesn't really see what's going on in my life.  I talk to Him like He's asleep and I have to make extra noise to get His attention.  God is not asleep.  God is not deaf.  God is not ignorant.  If anything, He is the one who is alert and we are the ones deaf, ignorant, and asleep.  Direct your heart toward Him and talk TO Him, not at Him.
3)  Be honest.
God is interested in a friendship with us.  He's in this for the long haul, so He's not going after a surface relationship.  He's looking for honest communication.  Though He already knows everything about us, He wants to hear honesty about things from our lips.  The good thing is we don't have to be afraid to express it.  He fully accepts us as we are when we come to Him.  He's the safest place in the world-- so be yourself with Him.
4)  Be willing to let go.
Sometimes, we have a hard time going deeper in prayer because we are stubbornly holding on to something that He is asking us to let go of.  Maybe unforgiveness.  Maybe an addiction.  He's not asking you to fix yourself.  He's asking you to open up your heart more to let Him in and explore those places in you and set you free from them.

5) Worship

Worship is essentially prayer expressed through music/song.  But what many people don't realize is just how powerful worship is!  It's not just another thing to add variety to your church service.  Worship, my friend, is like hitting the nitro button in a fast car.  Worship accelerates me into the Presence of God, helps me abide there, and lubricates my communication with Him.  Your prayer life will explode if you allow the powerful force of Worship to collide with the powerful force of Prayer.  "Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!....Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!  For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand."  (Psalm 95: 1-2; 6-7 ESV) 

6)  It's not a one way conversation

Remember, you're not the only one that wants to express thoughts in this relationship.  God has a lot to say.  Give Him the room to do so.  Take time to wait on Him quietly.   Become familiar with His Voice.  Get into His Word, the Bible, and let Him reveal His heart to you.  When you 'eat' with Him, you will not only learn who He is, you'll also find yourself refreshed and nourished. 

7)  Don't make this harder than it is.

Remember -- YOU are the reason Jesus came to earth.  He died because He WANTS to be close to us.  He's more interested in a relationship with us far more than we can even imagine. We can tend to make prayer harder than it is.  We over-think it.  We make it complicated.  But, in reality, it's as easy as talking to your best friend -- and that is what He wants to be to us.  
Here are a few more thoughts from Mike Bickle...