Vindication and The Presence of God

A prayer of David:

Lord, hear a just cause; (Listen to me, Lord.)
pay attention to my cry; (It’s my piercing cry for justice!)
listen to my prayer— (My cause is just and my need is real.)
from lips free of deceit. (I’ve done what is right and my lips speak truth.)
Let my vindication come from You, (Lord, I always live my life before your face,)
for You see what is right. (so examine and exonerate me.  Vindicate me and show the world I’m innocent.)

-Psalm 17:1-2 (HCSB, (TPT))

I believe in vindication from God.  God is going to avenge or do revenge on the enemy.
It seems to me that the key strategy of the enemy is to weave lies into the world to stop the progress of the kingdom and the saints.  There is a whole spectrum of lies that are told about God, about faith and about each one of us, to stop us and hold us back.
I can not tell you what you or those you love need vindication from.  But I can tell you that I believe God is about vindicating.
I can tell you that vindication is not something we do for our selves.  Vindication is when God avenges and takes revenge on the enemy.  
He does it all the time.  And it is something that we can expect and do not need to help God do.  He will do it and we can see God do it.
We dwell in God’s presence and God exacts revenge, vengeance and vindication for us against the enemy.
And this is about the enemy and God’s war on the enemy.  This is not about revenge on people or war on people.  Governments and armies and human warfare is a different thing.
Our brothers and sisters are never our enemy, even if they act like our enemy.  The enemy is the demonic realm, headed by satan.  That enemy is involved in mischief, all sorts of lies, murder and destruction in the world, against humans and God’s kingdom.
The enemy has done a whole host of bad things, and God is all about turning that destruction and those lies and the bondage around into freedom and blessing.  Vindication is the word and vindication time is upon us.
 Here are some resources on what vindication is all about.
From vocabulary.com:

Vindication is a sweet thing — when you get vindication, you’ve been proven right or justified in doing something. Everyone accused of a crime craves vindication.

Vindication is good, but it can only come after something bad, like being accused of something you didn’t do. If a teacher thought you cheated, but then announced to the whole class that you didn’t, you’re getting vindication. An accused criminal who is exonerated — cleared of the crime — gets vindication. If you believe something crazy — like that your underdog sports team could win a championship — and it comes true, that’s a vindication of your beliefs.

From, etymolgy.com:

vindication (n.) late 15c., “act of avenging, revenge,” from Old French vindicacion “vengeance, revenge” and directly from Latin vindicationem (nominative vindicatio) “act of claiming or avenging,” noun of action from past participle stem of vindicare “lay claim to, assert; claim for freedom, set free; protect, defend; avenge” (related to vindicta “revenge”), probably from vim dicare “to show authority,” from vim, accusative of vis “force” (see vim) + dicare “to proclaim” (see diction). Meaning “justification by proof, defense against censure” is attested from 1640s.

From Thesaurus.com:

Synonyms of Vindication:  (Primary) exonerate, revenge.  (Secondarily) justification, exoneration, exculpation, acquittal/acquittance, mitigation, apology, compurgation, amnesty, dismissal.

Here is a vindication prayer:

From David’s prayer:

“Lord, hear a just cause; pay attention to my cry;
listen to my prayer— from lips free of deceit.
Let my vindication come from You, for You see what is right.”
(Ps. 17:1-2, HCSB)

And from  a song of David’s:
“They all will stand awestruck, over what God has done,
seeing how he vindicated the victims of those crimes.

The lovers of God will be glad, rejoicing in the Lord.

They will be found in his glorious wrap-around presence
singing songs of praise to God!”
(Ps. 64:9-10, TPT)

About Psalm 17, my first thought was that this is a declarative prayer that asks God to vindicate us:  Asking God to prove we are right.

But then I thought, maybe it means something about being vindicated in relationship with God?

This prayer is asking for God to examine me and exonerate me, showing others that I am innocent of any false charges that have been leveled against me.

In other words, the prayer might be asking for those who would believe something untrue to see the goodness of God in me and in my life, even though I am just a human being who makes mistakes and gets it wrong sometimes.

Is that it, or part of it?

There is also a prayer that says, “Deliver me from the lust of vindicating myself”.

The word, “From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right!”, means; “let me continue to abide in you and somehow in however you, God, choose; let me be in the vindication that is in Christ.”

When I see Jesus Christ as the definition of God.  And when I see Jesus’ death on the cross as the definitional lens from which I see God; it gives me perspective of my life in Christ.

In time, and eternity; Jesus Christ has been vindicated.  And I am vindicated as I am in Christ.

When it says, “From your presence, let my vindication come”, it means that, “In abiding in you, I am vindicated: so let that be, let that come, and let that happen in my life.”

The work or intention of my life is to abide in Christ.  And everything in my life is about my relationship to God.  God is intensely relational.

Every challenge I face, every trial, every argument, every disagreement and every disappointment are occasions or opportunities to trust God, know God, have faith in God, be loved by God and come to know again that God is good.  That is the presence of God from which my vindication comes.

The presence of God is the face of God.  “Lord, I will always live before your face.” (Ps. 17:2)

The presence of God is in the face of God.  Where God faces, God’s presence is.  I want to be before God’s face.

Getting in someone’s face is something we say when we really tell someone off.  But the Bible concept of this is that we want to be in God’s presence.  Seeking God’s face is the intention to be in God’s presence.

To seek God’s face is to ask for an audience with the King and to ask for an increase in God’s presence in our place where we are.

To say, “Vindicate me in your presence”, is to ask God for a transformed life.  We do not know how our vindication will work out or play out with others, but our vindication is what we desire and ask for.

When we say, “Vindicate me!”, we are not telling God to do it or how to do it.  We are giving up our right to do it and agreeing that God is the vindicator.

I am putting all my trust into God to be my judge and make all the right judgments about me and for me.

I don’t think we have to convince God that we are right.  Instead, we are going to live in asking for God to put His gaze on what we are doing and what we are saying and to make it righteous.  Maybe that is what living before God’s face is all about.

“Vindicate me”, is asking God to turn around the false accusations and mis-judgments in my life.  And the “From You”, part means that I want God’s presence in my life.  I want to kisses of God on my face.

To live before God’s face is to live in transparency and honesty.  We are asking God to give us a clear and blessed relationship with God manifested out into the world we live in.

I want to live in God’s embrace so much that when I am accused or mis-judged or slighted in any way, real or imagined; that I just have to look into the face of God and then it is not my problem.  My prayer is that I will live in God’s presence, and all the settling of what is unsettling will come upon me from God.

I want to see God do vindications, vengeance and revenge on the enemy.  The ministry of Jesus, setting captives free and turning lives around is known in the non-believing world.  The fear of God will be known to all and all of us will be in awe at the turn arounds that God does in the lives of people who have been falsely blamed, charged, guilted, disapproved and indicted by God’s enemies.

The wrap-around presence of God and the glory of God is where vindication comes from, overturning the works of the enemy.

We will not just praise God for what we believe, but what he is doing now.  Our praises to God will be for actual works of God in our day to day lives, where in God is vindicating his Children.

The Reversal

The nations will escort Israel and bring it to its homeland. Then the house of Israel will possess them as male and female slaves in the Lord’s land. They will make captives of their captors and will rule over their oppressors.

-Isaiah 14:2
What God has planned and wants to do is a complete reversal in the lives of believers who have been oppressed.  God not only wants to set people free who have been held down, held back, and left behind; but He also wants to put them in charge over those that they were under before.  God wants to take people from servitude to ruling.
God wants to restore his people to their place of rest.  God wants to take his people out of bondage and into a place of stewarding authority.  God is freeing his people, so that they may serve and disciple the nations who previously held them in bondage.
The same people who imprisoned believers and kept them locked in and locked down will become the helpers, guides, and rides to take them to their inheritances and destiny places.  The people of God will capture the people who once ruled over them and be served by them.  The people who were once our oppressors in their homeland or sphere will come with the believers into their homeland or sphere.
A great deliverance and reversal is coming, and when believers are set free, their captors will leave with them and become their servants.  In the awakening that is coming, believers who have been asleep will wake up to God, to their destinies.  When they wake up, they will get up, and they will begin to go towards where God has always wanted them to go: to their homeland, and they will take some people with them, who have not been believers, who will get saved and be discipled and serve the believers who had been in bondage among them.
A great revival is coming, where believers who have become dead in their faith, will be brought to life, raised from the dead or revived.  Their testimony will be so clear and so real, that their pagan or completely non-believing friends, neighbors, or coworkers will be astonished at the change from death to life in these living witnesses, as say, “I want what you’ve got and where you go I will go, so now I will follow you, even to the ends of the earth.”
This will be like the story, in Acts 16, of the Philippian jailer, who got saved when Paul and Silas were freed by the earthquake, and the jailer and his whole family got saved.  Paul baptized them all and they had a meal together.  The jailer served Paul by being the intermediary with the magistrates, for Paul and Silas’ freedom, as well as giving them hospitality.
God is going to set his people free who have been held captive.  And when He does, the people who been around their captivity, will willingly go with, gives rides, and take or transport believers into their promises and serve them their.  This is what is going to happen, again.  God has done this in the past and is about to do it again, because it is what God does.
God sets you free to go into your destiny.  And the people who were there around you, who were part of the system, the tribe, the people, who held you back, and did not recognize you as a son or daughter of God, will suddenly become your servant and serve you, and take you to your place of promotion, destiny, calling, and promise; and not only move you there, but live there with you, as your servant.

Wake Up Call

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.  Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

-Ephesians 5:14b, Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV)

We had two different phone calls that woke us up, while sleeping, this week.   This got me thinking about God’s wake up calls.  We say to someone who is not engaged or is in denial, “Wake up!”, and that is how the phrase is used in Ephesians 5 and Revelation 3.

In Ephesians 5, Paul is teaching that there are two ways to live, and one is the way of death and the other is the way of life.  He metaphorically says that the death way is akin to being asleep.  We wake up, “Arise and shine”, and begin living awake.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. -Eph. 5:1-20 (NIV) 

He says that those who have been awakened and begin living in the way of Christ can go back to sleep or go back to living in the death way.  Try reading the above passage two or three times, to let the whole thing sink in.  This was written to Christians and applies to Christians today.

And this is the same kind of thing going on in Revelation, chapter 3, with the church in Sardis.  Jesus actually calls them out as being, “Christians in name only”, and calls them a dead church.

To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes.They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. -Rev. 3:1-6 (NIV)

It sounds kind of judgmental when we point at any church on the scene today, and say it is a dead church.  I believe when we say this, we are often wrong, because we judge by our standard, rather than Jesus’ standard.

These two chapters basically tell us that Christians can fall asleep and become dead.  That tells us that many people who say they are Christians might be asleep or be the living dead.  If Paul and Jesus addressed it, it is real.

How do sleepers awake?

From a wake up call.

“The call” is God’s work.

What should the people of God, who are alive and awake do?

What we all need to do is make sure we ourselves are awake and then prepare and arrange our lives to make room for awakened people that God wants to send us to and send to us.  It is that simple.

There is a very wide freedom in how to live this out.  How much blessing do you want?

Some people will completely change their lives, as in selling everything, and live communally with other Christians.  At the other end of the spectrum, others will begin taking an hour or two, over and over, to get together with another Christian brother or sister, having coffee or a meal; discovering the joy of learning Christ and sharing life.

What Jesus has to offer people that wake up, whether it is a rude awakening, or an epiphany; is simply loving people.  Jesus’ church are people that love one another.  We are welcoming, inclusive, helpful and hopeful.

When the wake up call comes and people awaken, the net that will bring them into Christ are not programs or better ecclesiastical models, but simply love.  Christians either have love or lack love.  We are either loving or not loving.

Live the simple life of the most profound person, Jesus.  Love one another.  Awake, alive, loved, and loving.

Identity: God’s and Your’s

Now the Israelites’ cries of injustice have reached me. I’ve seen just how much the Egyptians have oppressed them. So get going. I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.
   But Moses said to God, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?
   God said, “I’ll be with you. And this will show you that I’m the one who sent you. After you bring the people out of Egypt, you will come back here and worship God on the mountain.”
   But Moses said to God, “If I now come to the Israelites and sat to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they are going to ask me, ‘What’s this God’s name?’ What am I supposed to say to them?”
   God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. So say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” This is my name forever; this is how all generations will remember me.
-Exodus 3:9-15 (CEB)

Picture: Pixabay

Do you have an identity?  I mean a way that you identify yourself.  We might say that we are a self-identified _____.

Moses did not identify himself as a deliverer or even as a leader.  He was just a shepherd, had a family, and lived among a group of people.  In the very distant past, he was in Egypt and had a sort of career and lifestyle that did not work out.
When Moses is confronted by God and called, he asks, “Who am I?”  We might ask the same question.  Perhaps our identity puts us at odds with others and we don’t know how that opposition will work out.
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Moses is perhaps coming from a place of humility when he asks, “Who am I?”  God is restoring him to his calling that did not work out and that Moses had probably given up on.  Instead of saying, “What took you so long?”, or, “You bet I’m your man”, Moses says, in a sense, “Who me?”
I reluctant leader is better than someone with a puffed up idea of themselves.
I don’t see God coddling Moses and explaining how he is the one to lead, to go, to confront Pharaoh.  What God does say is, “I will be with you”.  Your identity will come from God being with you.
That is the key to your identity.  Wherever you have come from, whatever your weaknesses, struggles, or disqualifying traits; your identity is that God is with you.  We get too wrapped up in or tied down with notions of this or that being our identity, and so we say we can’t be with these people and those people are opposed to us.
Like Moses, we might say and others might say of us, that we are  not qualified.  But, God’s says, “I will be with you”.  Imagine being ‘qualified’, but not having God with you.

So, I think that we get too caught up in identity that is outside of just being God’s vessel.  Only God qualifies and disqualifies, ordains and denies.  We need to view others with a spiritual point of view, instead of a worldly perspective (2 Cor. 5:16).

“Who am I?”, is the wrong question.  The real issue, is, “Is God with you?”  And I don’t mean, “God on our side.”  I do mean, “Are you coming in your ‘sent-ness’ by God?”

The better question is, “Who is this God?”  Is God your idea, your explanation, or your ‘teaching’?  Or is this God, the living, being, real God who is.  Not, ‘was’ or ‘will be’; but is.

God is “I Am” because God is being, God is, and God is active.  This is especially important to realize in situations where we have suffered long, and where we assume things will never change and will stay crooked.  It is not true, because of God; who is “I Am”.

God is always alive, always actively involved and knowing what is going on, and always attentive.  God today is the same God who did things in the past.  God does not change and is the same as when he was faithful in the past.

There is no special dispensation of unfaithfulness.

Every day is a new day and a day of possibilities.  Even if or when it does not happen, God is active.  God’s loving, compassionate mercy is always alive and active.

We are broken failures like Moses, but God is that God is, and God is faithful.  Some have given up and believe that bondage is permanent, but God is getting ready to deliver.

The story of God is that God is active and relentlessly alive.  God is always working, being, living; and caring for us.  We can turn away from God, close our eyes, ears, and minds; distract ourselves, delude, and deceive ourselves with things that are not true about God.

But, God is always there, always here, always near.  How close we are to God is our choice.  The cultivation of the relationship is our choice.

God is a living person, the I Am.  God is alive.

Your identity is wrapped up in God.  Each of us have personalities, talents, gifts, and destinies that differ.  But God is the same to each one of us as Father.

God is a Warrior and My Refuge

God, hear my voice when I complain:

  • Protect my life 
    • from the terror of the enemy.
  • Hide me 
    • from the scheming of wicked people, 
    • from the mob of evildoers, 
      • who sharpen their tongues like swords and aim bitter words like arrows, shooting from concealed places at the innocent.  
        • They shoot at him suddenly and are not afraid.  
        • They encourage each other in an evil plan; 
          • they talk about hiding traps and say,
            • “Who will see them?”
          • They devise crimes and say, 
            • “We have perfected a secret plan.”
        • The inner man and the heart are mysterious.
      • But God will shoot them with arrows;
        • suddenly, they will be wounded.
        • They will be made to stumble; 
        • their own tongues work against them.  
        • All who see them will shake their heads.
          • Then everyone will fear
          • and will tell about God’s work,
          • for they will understand what He has done.
The righteous one rejoices in the Lord and takes refuge in Him; all those who are upright in heart will offer praise.
-Psalm 64
Photo: Pixabay
Did you know that God will ambush your enemy?  Our enemy is the group of demonic forces pitted against us.  
Evil ones, the demonic and people under demonic inspiration, love to trash talk and spew venom with words.  Cursing is their forte.  If you ever hear cursing, you can bet that hell is inspiring it.

“evildoers, who sharpen their tongues like swords and aim bitter words like arrows,
shooting from concealed places at the innocent.
They shoot at him suddenly and are not afraid.”

The Bible has a lot of information about curses.  Cursing is one of the common practices of the enemy and those who speak for the enemy.  Yes, the enemy has ‘curse meetings’, ‘curse groups’, and ‘curse warriors’.
They also plan out and set traps for people.  They devise wicked plans.  Diabolical is a word that describes evil plans inspired by the evil ones.
Their goal is to kill and destroy.  They do all sorts of evil mischief and their siege is designed to terrorize.  If they can not kill us, they want us to feel impending doom.
Many people do not know about their enemy.  David get’s it.  Whoever David is writing about, he describes them as devising evil, secret plans.
Did you notice that this is a complaint?  We go to a judge on earth with a complaint, when we have been wronged, and we go to God with a complaint against our enemy.  This is righteous complaining.
Unrighteous complaining is grumbling, grousing, and judging.  Babies and little children complain.  Men and women are not supposed to complain.  Complaining is not a tool, in the adult tool box, for building your life. 
David writes prophetically, or as someone with seasoned wisdom about God:  That God will, without warning, ambush the enemy.  This falls into the category of, ‘the suddenlies of God’.  David knows God is watching and God will suddenly, without warning, move violently against his enemies.
David, facing warfare, calls out to God; and he knows God is faithful to war against the enemy.  We need to know this too.  We have an enemy, who is also God’s enemy; and God fights against this enemy, on our behalf, and receives glory.
David says, that in this thought of the soon coming and on-going ambush of the enemy, the righteous one rejoices and takes refuge or puts their trust in the Lord, and all the upright in heart offer praise to God, in light of his actions.
This whole song gives us the lesson that warfare is a reality for God’s children and that we can and ought to complain to God about it.  We get deceived into seeing just bad people or just bad stuff and grumbling about it.  We actually have a world under attack and people corrupted by an evil enemy of God.
With the clarity of that seeing or worldview, we get it, and we are not under the deception.  Now, we can pray, trust God, and expect God to ambush the enemy.  We move from begging and petitioning God, to declaring what he will do.
We can pray to God.  This is a powerful prayer and very bad news for the enemy.  Let’s pray:
Dear God:
Protect me from the enemy.
Hide and keep me safe from their evil plans.
Shoot them with arrows.
Suddenly wound them.
Make them stumble.
May their own tongues work against them.
Make a spectacle of them for all to see.
So that everyone will fear you.
And talk about what you have done.
And understood that you did it.
We rejoice in you, put our trust in you, and we will continually praise you.

Sing To The Lord A New Song

Sing to the Lord a new song!

-Psalm 33:3, 96:1, 98:1, & 149:1; Isaiah 42:10
When God works in your life it is always fresh and new.  God is about redeeming us.  He does new merciful work in our lives every day.  New mercies, new deliverance, and new redeeming works call for new songs.
Even though we have and sing older songs that are good, we should have new songs to celebrate the new, and there will be fewer and fewer old songs on our lips, because there will be more and more new ones.  We don’t throw the old ones away, but God constantly gives us new songs to celebrate the new things He does.  
God is always inspiring new songs.  At one time, each song was new, and celebrated God’s work for the people of that time.  If you look up a favorite old hymn, you might find that the same poet or song writer, of whom you love their song; wrote hundreds of other songs.  Each of those unknown songs were new and fresh, new songs, at one time, and graced the people who sang them.
When we sing a new song, our spirit’s leap within us, because of the fresh message of worship to God that the song puts in our hearts.  Since ancient times, there have always been new songs, because music and words contain endless combinations of expressions of worship and praise to God.  God created us with the endless creativity or our creator.
When you select a greeting card or write a greeting or note, prose, or poem in that card, to your loved one; do you write the same exact words every time, or do you say something new?  It takes some effort to say something, to write something fresh, but some people make the effort, and the receiver of the card is pleased.
The new song we sing is about what God is doing in our lives now.  It is about what God just did for you.  What new thing is God doing in your life?  That is your new song.  If you have no new song, you might not have anything to report on God working in your life.  You might want to look again and re-engage with God and find out what He is doing in your life and get your new song.
God is always working.  God is always redeeming.  That is what God does.  The Father is at work, on the move.  What is He doing in your life?  That is your song.
The new song is a celebration of God’s redeeming work in your life.  What’s the new song, now, for you?  What is the, “wow”, the, “oh my”, or the, “I stand in awe”?  Experiencing God will give you those reactions.  
God does new things all the time.  What new thing has God been doing in your life?  There is your new song.  The old songs are fine, but God gives new songs.  God is the living God who is active doing new things.  Do you see the new thing He is doing in your life?  See it and celebrate it with a new song.
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Photo credit: Carolina Wren from Bungalow Retreat website 

Sky Links, 6-28-13

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0

Before they call, I will answer;
while they are still speaking, I will hear.
Isaiah 65:24

Everyone is waiting for something.  We get tired of waiting and we wonder why it is taking so long.  We might ask what is wrong with us.  I was very encouraged by this post, My Times Are In Thy Hand, by Janet Peterson.

“My times are in Thy hand…” Psalm 31:15.

One thing I’ve learned is that God doesn’t always work on our timetable.  In fact, HE rarely does.  But in a single moment, God can change your life!  All throughout Scripture, we see examples of how God was working behind the scenes and instantly turned things around for HIS people.  Scripture tells us HE is the same yesterday, today and forever which means HE can instantly turn things around for you, too!
Beloved, you may be going through some difficulty today, but be encouraged because your times are in God’s hands…more here

I also was encouraged by Janet Peterson ‘s word from the previous day, on prayer, called Flip The Switch:

God has wired his world for power, but HE calls on us to flip the switch. 

Most of us struggle with prayer.  We forget to pray, and when we remember, we hurry through prayers with hollow words.  Our minds drift; our thoughts scatter like a covey of quail.  Why is this?  Prayer requires minimal effort.  No location is prescribed.  No particular clothing is required.  No title or office is stipulated…. more here

God is a covenant God, which means that even though God is all powerful, he works with us.  Our passivity in prayer is a problem and a victory for the enemy.  Praying turns the power on down here.  Worship and praise are sung prayers.  Prayer is connecting with God.  Why not spend more time in prayer?  Jesus is praying for us right now.  I want to find out what he is praying and pray that.

To Preach Or Not To Preach

What is the outcome of this, brothers and sisters? When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All these things must be done to build up the church.
-1 Corinthians 14:26

Scholars in learning research tell us that we only remember about 10% when we hear a teaching.
Maybe the lecture is not the best method of learning.

In preaching, we want our listeners to learn something, but we also might want to impart something, or be a catalyst of change in lives.  But is the sermon the best way to do this?  Leonard Hjalmarson wrote on the topic of preaching, authority, learning and growth; this week.  Here are some ideas of how sermons or preaching can work today in our culture:

  • preaching has to become interactive so that the entire body participates
  • preaching has to move from lecture halls to small rooms
  • learning and growth happens in community, where learners  know each other
We still have “experts” or professionals among us: those who have more training and wider reading and thus represent both the Word and the wider tradition, and who evidence teaching gifts and are thus “elders.” But because we enter a shared process of discernment, we move toward becoming an interpretive community. We invite the Holy Spirit and the Word and the Body into a dialogue in the gifted Body. We make context a part of that dialogue, because the important questions we bring to Scripture are generated by the mission environment. Moreover, we exercise faith believing that the Spirit will lead us into all truth and that this is a living and temporal process.
And because we are no longer passive, but active and engaged, we have the opportunity to learn through all our senses. We know that effective learning is more than rote and more than hearing: it must engage our whole being including our emotions. Conversation and debate generate emotion (we could learn from the Jews on this). We both think and feel our way into truth that is lived.
In this way we do not move beyond authority, but we recognize that authority is a complex reality that is authorized in at least three ways: by Text, Tradition and living Temple (Community). The Spirit of God dwells among the people of God to create God’s future. This perspective is a return to an older understanding of authority and Apostolicity. It moves beyond truth as propositional to an older sense of truth as Troth – truth as aleithea in its root sense of an unveiling. Truth must be embodied, and implies both relationality and covenant.
– See more at: http://nextreformation.com/?p=10964#sthash.n5WzbdSd.dpuf

What happens in church meetings is that it becomes an anonymous, passive experience.  What if preaching or teaching or interactive meetings where everyone had a chance to share, were in a circle or around a table, where we all looked at each other?

This interactive, community, synergistic, body-life meeting does not work in bigger settings.  The bigger settings become lecture halls where we nod off.  I imagine that we preach for growth.  But preaching does not produce much growth, so it becomes, “we preach, because that’s just what we do”.  What Leonard’s article says is that preaching used to work better, when the world and culture was different.  Now we need more interaction, in order to learn or grow.

preaching has to become interactive

 More here.

Suddenly for you

Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to hide it from the Midianites . Judges 6:11

Ophrah was an obscure Benjamite town, in the promised land, where an obscure man named Gideon lived. In Ophrah, the people of God had pretty much walked away from their roots and were engaging in pagan worship with noticeable idols and alters in their town. In this seemingly God forsaken place that seemed forgotten by God and defeated by darkness; suddenly the angel of the Lord shows up and calls out Gideon. Gideon responds to what the angel says and he’s off into a new life. Gideon is the person that the story is about- what happened to this nobody. But the lesson for us is God’s intervention in human affairs. Gideon did not study or intern to become a leader. He didn’t build up a network and find money to do good. Gideon was just trying to survive in a terrible time. Gideon literally had nothing but God. And what of God he had was invisible. The angel didn’t go door to door with him. God was with him though and that did it. This obscure, afraid for good reasons, guy; became this wild risk taking humble warrior leader, almost overnight, because God really called him and equipped him.

My point is that……………… it can happen to you! Be surprised and go with it.

Cherry Blossom

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43:19a

The Cherry Blossom tree blooms only once a year in the spring. Each flower only lasts for two or three days. A group of trees can have it’s blooming period last up to 14 days.

Some thoughts I have are that when “opportunity knocks”, you have to respond quick. “Suddenlies of God” happen and you’ve got to respond. You’ve learned to wait and wait.
Suddenly, what you’ve waited for is here and it’s Carpe Diem time!

Sudden provision when we ran out

I tried to describe what happened in one line for the title of this post. I’m a coffee person. I love espresso or a fresh brew. Today, I used my very last beans and was tapped out. No one else knew this- my little dilemma. Later in the day, Marc Coffey (or someone employed by Marc) decided to stop by and drop off one bag of coffee on our doorstep. Yes, this is his real name, and his signature line is, “here’s what’s ‘brewing’ in your neighborhood…” He’s a realtor.

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