Thursday, April 30, 2009

No table left unturned...

Matthew 21:12-13
"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."

Could it be that when Jesus came into the temple, He was disturbed, not because what they were doing was wrong but more so...displaced?

Was it that the moneychangers and the sellers were not doing their business outside of those walls? You see, as long as they sat within the temple...they were gaining something for themselves but in truth, if they didn't get themselves up and take their trade outside those walls, they were stealing from God!

Isaiah 54:2 says,
"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;"

You see, by remaining inside the four walls of the church...warming the "seats", we are doing an injustice.

As we were praying this morning, I saw a very clear picture of something. There is a variation of this account of Jesus going into the temple and it's found in John 2:12-16. Take a look...

"After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise."

Now, Isaiah says that we are to lengthen our cords and I believe that it is not a coincidence that Jesus made a scourge from "small cords". You see, He put in his hand the proof that they had "spared" an rebuked them with it!

Would anyone want to believe that God would say such a thing as "Why are these tables in My house? Why are you sitting here? Get out of My house!"

Perhaps not but this was the message of Jesus!

I pray, "Lord, let there be no table overturned in this personal temple. Don't allow me to be sparing! And Lord, let your church be the House of Prayer that you intended! Reveal the small cords...and get us out!"

Friday, April 3, 2009

Breaking the net!

Luke 5:4-6 “Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.” Reading this, we see that in order for Simon to bring in the harvest of fish…he had to launch out into the deep. Until that point, their boat had been tied to the seashore but what is God saying here? He is saying that in order for us to go out into the deep places where we begin to glean, we have to cut the ties to shore, to those things that make us feel secure. For you, that tie may be to your bank account, to your nest egg, your rainy day money. It can be anything that you rely upon rather than God, even a person but when we cut those ties of reliance and launch out into the deep and at His word, let down the nets, that "break" through comes.

And those nets…what are they? I believe they were a type and symbol of an old wineskin. They were meant to be broken so that the great multitude could come in. God is asking us, "Cut the ties. Go out deeper. At My Word cast forth your nets. Sow the old way you have done things. How it’s always been, make it a seed." You see, they had been casting their nets all night and had taken nothing. It was a works mentality and it was not yielding results.

What exactly was Jesus asking them to do? Something different than they had already done? He said, "go out into the deep". That word deep there actually means, a place of deep, extreme poverty. Isn’t that the place where nobody wants to be? Well, that’s where God wants us to be when it comes to the self-life and anything we do to preserve “me, myself and I”…any thing that is “cast” in our minds as a better way. Simon was casting his nets and gotten nothing but then the Word came. You see, there’s even a flip side to this. We can even say, “I’ve done that already Lord and it hasn’t worked. It’s yielded nothing. I've given before, I've prayed that before. I've been there, done that...and nothing!" But at His wordlet your net down. Let your old wineskin down and there will be a draught!

Go back to the text with me one more time. He said, “let down your nets for a draught”. Oh Glory, I can hardly contain it! That word draught means, "the act of drawing in a net.” Seems contradictory doesn’t it? No! It was the moment they released it that the net was drawn in! The moment we release that thing, the moment we sow, is the moment the net is drawn in! I'm all in Lord! I mean "I" am all in! Break this net!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Official statement

This idea was not originally mine but because God gave it to another man (and author)by the name of David Timms who freely gave what he recieved, I get to claim it! Amen to that!

I am making an official statement today..."Faith does not give me control of God."

In his book, Living the Lords Prayer, David Timms asks the question, "Does Father really measure our level of love or trust (faith) and hand out rewards accordingly? What sort of love is that?"

He then goes on to strengthen the question with this (give or take a bit of my input)from Hebrews 11! WOW!

How does a man like Samson, fit into that lineup of great faith, alongside Joseph, etc? Samson was a picture of immorality...who kept company with prostitutes. He was disobedient to his parents and "played the game" basically until he lost everything. It was when he was blinded, humiliated, shamed, and degraded, AT THE END OF HIMSELF, that he called out to God. Samson deserves his place in the Hall of Faith, not because he was great in faith but because his surrender declared that God is. That prayer in particular was the only prayer of Samson's recorded.

I have always read that passage and thought,"My...what men of faith, I want to be like them." Now I read it and see, it's not so much about the men as it is about their God. (Even though, without their example, where would I be?) Rather than, "My...what men of faith!", now I say, "My...what a God that responded!"

I am done having faith in my faith to see me through. I want to have faith in the God of faith! Today, I lose faith in myself. I can't do it!

And God gave me a glorious picture of something as well. I was talking about this with my friend Claudia and she said, "By grace, through faith we are saved." Of course! In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul said that he laboured more abundantly than they all but not him! It was the grace of God which was with him. Grace was "by" him and the thing is, we can't fit through faith, that passage that leads to the fulfilled answer unless grace is "by" us...unless we are side by side, in agreement with grace! Seems like a strange analogy that we have to add something to us in order to be able to fit, where we alone can't but that's how I see it. Grace somehow makes us fit where we wouldn't have to begin with!