Archive for May, 2009

Humility is not something that can be earned, learned, or absorbed.  You have to be broken to obtain it.

I’ve listened to many who try to wear some ill-fitting garments of humility, but they just don’t seem to fit right on them.  Oh, they sound like they are so humble, but it almost comes across like an excuse rather than something real.  While they deprecate themselves to others, it sounds more like an attachment to cover up something that is trying to stick up through their clothing.   The garment of humility is made from the same cloth as the mantle of authority in God.

    Fake humility, on the other hand, has to refuse the mantle of true authority because it is not the same garment that they are trying to fit into.  If one professes to be “oh so humble”, where will he get the holy boldness to stand up to take power and dominion over the works of darkness?  They don’t fit together.

    Pride, whether it manifests itself in arrogance or in a fake humility, is a result of measuring oneself up against those around you.  When Saul was little in his own eyes, he hid in “the stuff” because he was afraid to become king.  Two years later, he disdained the commandments of the Lord’s prophet to offer his own sacrifice to God.

    Humility, however, does not measure itself against others, but against the Almighty God.  With David, it was never about himself – it was always about God.  That enabled him to slay Goliath in his youth and rule as king in his old age.

    When God calls a servant to manifest His power, there is a cycle that he must go through.  When the first miracles begin to flow through a person, it feels like the coolest thing that has ever happened to you.  You are so excited that you can’t wait to tell others of the wonderful works of God.  As you go on, however, a little voice starts to whisper in your ear which suggests that, yes, God did this miracle, but He chose you to do it.  Sure, God could have chosen anyone, but hey, He chose you.  That must mean you’re just a little bit special, doesn’t it?  And then it stops — What happened? — and the soul-searching begins.

    When you allow God to sand you back down to bare metal and let you see your own foolish pride, you make it possible for Him to take you to the next level.  And so goes the building process: paint a layer, sand it down, paint a layer, sand it down.  There is no one so holy and great that does not have to go through this process.  You must be broken to go to the next level, because God will not share His glory with anyone.

    Only after you have been broken so many times that your ego has been completely burned out of you, and your soul has surrendered and yielded to total subjection, can you ever be allowed to walk in real power.  It is in the luster of that many-layered finish that true humility begins to shine with a light that does not come from you, but is reflected from the glory of God.

    It is at this point that warriors are brought forth shouldering the mantle of God’s anointing and His authority – a mantle, not resplendent with glory of shining armor, but with the dull luster of sackcloth and ashes.

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    What the Hell?

    What is the deal with Hell?  Is it really there or not?  And if it is there, is it really as bad as we have been led to believe?  And (here’s the real question) if it is as bad as they say, why are we not more terrified?

    I came to Christ as a non-believer – I didn’t believe in God, didn’t believe in Jesus, I didn’t believe in Heaven, and I sure didn’t believe in Hell.  And I didn’t want to, either.  But when I got saved and felt the Spirit of God transform my soul, I accepted the whole deal.  I didn’t need to see it; it was part of the whole package.

    But the rational, analytical part of me has always looked curiously at the whole idea of Heaven and Hell.  It just doesn’t make sense.  While I accept it wholeheartedly, it sure would be nice if I could get a glimpse (just to make sure).  Now, I’ve listened to some people who have seen either Heaven or Hell, and when listening to them tell the vision, I can see in their intensity and depth that they really did see these things.  But I’d just like to see if for myself.

    But that’s not how it works, does it?  God doesn’t offer us great embellishments in vivid details about these two places.  If God was a real estate agent for a vacation resort in Heaven, He’d probably go broke.  But instead of focusing on the destination, God is more concerned with the journey. 

    Sure, everybody wants to go to Heaven, so we focus on that, all the while convincing ourselves that we’re going there someday.  I’ve even heard that dogs go to Heaven. 

    How?  Well, that really doesn’t matter as much to us as the self-assurance that we will most certainly go there.  All our friends will be there.  You never hear someone proclaim at a funeral that their deceased friend is most assuredly burning in Hell right now.  No, we all believe we are going to Heaven merely because we have focused on the destination and have dismissed what it takes to get there.  The stark reality of Hell has become a faded concept, not to be mentioned in polite society … especially church.  Just believe in God, relax, sing a few songs about Jesus, and voila, your ticket is stamped!

    Perhaps if we put the whole idea behind us, maybe the stark reality of Hell would just go away.  We can worry about it later.  In the meantime, we all have our lives before us, and that looms more in our consciousness than some ethereal specter of a place of torment that we really haven’t seen with our eyes or measured with our scientific instruments.  Preachers that attempt to burst our rosy bubble with a message about Hell are derided as hateful and critical, and who do not understand the love of God, but instead, try to force us into an ascetic lifestyle by using fear tactics.  Shame on them!

    Now, I’m not sure what preachers they are referring to, because in 40 years of ministry, I haven’t found very many of them.  Where are all these hellfire and brimstone preachers that they are talking about?  Or is this just an excuse we use to dismiss what we do not want to face?

    I have learned that people will believe what they want to believe in spite of the facts.  As an old friend once said, “People will follow their hearts.”  How true.  A Gospel message of the “Good Ship Lollipop” is much more appealing than the stark realities of Eternal Judgment, and with a quick sweep to push those realities behind us, sin appears less sinful and holiness less compulsory.

    And yet, Hell is the most prevalent reality there is – much more so than anything else.  Why?  Because most people are going to end up there.  Our preachers don’t have the guts to warn us about it, so we remain blissfully naive. Certainly, if God dug a hole just outside our city limits where we could see all the way down to the pits of Hell, there would be many of us standing on the edge of that chasm with a much different perspective on life. But He has not.  He has left it up to us to choose – not the destination, but the path.

    But what if? 

    If Heaven is supposed to be so much better than we can imagine, what if Hell is far worse than what we can fear? 

    What if it really is there, and the countless souls who ignored it are now screaming in agony down there right now? 

    What if God really meant exactly what He said? 

    What if He has used our vanities as the filter to separate the wheat from the chaff? 

    What if our choice of destination isn’t what determines our fate, but our choice of the path that leads there?

    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.          Matthew 7:13,14

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    I had a wonderful experience this morning that I’d like to share with you.  As we were reading Bible, my little girl asked about Noah.  She remembered that last week we had read how Noah walked with God.

    “How do you walk with God, Daddy?  And how do you know when you are walking with Him?”

    In the course of a careful explanation, we touched on the fact that there are two worlds – the world that we live in that we can see around us, and the spiritual world that we can’t see.

    I explained to her how God is a Spirit, and that our souls will leave our bodies some day to be with God.

    “You mean it’s like being in a car, but we’re not really the car, we’re just inside it?”

    I watched as the idea of two distinct realities dawned across her face.  Her eyes got as big as silver dollars as the stark realization hit her of the existence of another whole world in the Spirit.

    So that’s where God is!

    How easy it is for us to forget.  Sometimes we get so wrapped us in our daily lives, that we lose that focus.  But He is always there, isn’t He?  And one of these days, the covering that is cast upon all people will be ripped away, and we will see Life as it really is – simply a test for entering into Eternity.

    I want to be like Noah who not only believed in God, but walked everyday conscious of that fact that God was right by his side.  What a confidence there is in walking with a Savior who is right there beside you, who hears your every prayer and watches your every step.

    There is no valley, trial, or tribulation that you can’t go through when you know you are really walking with the Lord God Almighty.  There is power to overcome all things, and you fear nothing when you fear God and place your trust in Him.

    Ah, but how do you walk with God, Daddy?  That’s the real question, isn’t it?

    If you don’t know the answer, you need to make an altar before God and ask Jesus Christ to wash away all your sins in His blood, confess him as the Son of God who died and rose again that you might have Life, and ask him to save your soul.  Only then will your eyes be opened and you will feel the Spirit of Life enter into you…and then you will know.

    I know one little 9-year-old girl who will be spending the next few days pondering that whole concept,

    … at least until next week when she has another question.

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