What was that?

1 Samuel 14
One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.”

I can almost hear myself as the armor bearer, “excuse me, what did you just say?”

I love this story of Jonathan. We don’t know why the idea came into his head and we don’t see further acts of heroism from him but this one is so cool.

The story goes that, as they went toward the outpost, they agreed that, if the Philistines responded by telling them to come up, God had given them a victory. And sure enough, they killed twenty men in their initial attack.

A couple of things stand out to me.

They took the threat as an answer to a promise. We often look at trouble as a sign that we’re going the wrong way. The enemy has threatened my kids, my family and I ran the other way. Jonathan didn’t see it that way.

The Philistines had no intention of killing them, right away. “We’ll teach you a lesson,” they cried. I think that the Philistines thought they were cowards, deserters. They wanted them to come up to take them captive, make examples of them. We hear the threats, the condemnation, the condescension of our enemy and accept it. We hear the voice of no hope and believe it more than the voice of faith.

They went looking for a fight. Why show themselves? Why not take the army with them? Their agreement was that if the Philistines said they were coming down, they would wait for them. They were going to fight no matter what. We go into fights with our enemy hoping we can figure out a way to avoid fighting. We come against him hoping he’ll just run away.

I am looking for a fight. I’m going after the enemy. I will have faith to know that, as I stand for Jesus, He will give me the victory.

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Not Dead Yet!

To all those who read what I write:
I apologize for falling off the grid for so long. God is taking us through a difficult season and writing has not been possible for several weeks. Please keep my family in your prayers and I will try to be more faithful in what God has entrusted to me.

Thank you.

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In Martha’s Defense

I have listened to the well-meaning words of those who leave mothers feeling guilty, condemned. The posts and poetry, the pictures, the pundits all saying, “quit worrying about your home, don’t let cleaning keep you from loving.” And mom’s are left feeling like you just can’t win.

The bible is often quoted in these instances, the story of Martha and Mary.

One time Jesus came to visit them. Martha was busy with preparations and soon became frustrated because Mary, her sister, wasn’t helping. Jesus brings a gentle reminder to Martha that His presence, His person was and still is more important than work.

This is true and I would certainly not contradict my King. But this has been overemphasized by many. I have seen church people that looked down on the servant-minded. “Service is not my gifting,” they claim. “I am more of a Mary than a Martha.” Their tone is often so superior.

No one wants to starve to feel assured of a mother’s love. No one feels cherished by a messy, dirty house. Jesus never intended for work to cease because He was and is with us.

A mother’s love is shown, not only in holding and reading stories, but in cleaning and cooking, in bringing order into the chaos that life throws at us.

And our love for Jesus is shown, not only in lifted hands and sweeping melodies, but in cleaning toilets, serving meals and setting boundaries that let people know they are safe.

Martha needed a little more of Mary in her. And I guarantee, Mary’s passion for her King was demonstrated by more than just sitting at His feet.

May that be said of us, too.

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On the Roof!

It was going to be a hot one. The sun was shining with veer little wind. I was eighty feet up the air, blowing dust and debris off in preparation for what we had to do that day. The noise of the blower and my distance from everyone probably allowed me to feel free to start singing.

And this is the song that I sang.

At first, it struck me as strange to be singing the words, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here.” I wasn’t in church or at some youth rally. I was in Wheaton, Illinois on a roof. I was already dirty, sweaty, tired and a bit grumpy.

But maybe, just maybe, the Holy Spirit delights in being invited into our everyday, mundane, difficult times as much or more than those other times. Maybe, just maybe, He fills us, not just for emotional times when we are surrounded by are brothers and sisters in The Lord. Maybe, His presence is needed to a greater degree when we are surrounded by the world with its problems and issues.

All I know is that He showed up. God was there with me koan that roof and I couldn’t stop worshiping.

And it was good….so good!

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So You Want A Fight?

I’ve been watching, waiting, scanning. I sit in the corner with my back to the wall for a reason. Right now I can’t see them, but I can feel them. They are my heartbeat, my soul and you have decided to come against them.

Big mistake.

I’m old, used up by many standards. But I’m not dead. They are hurt and bruised. You have been hitting them long enough and I tell you now, you should have left them alone.

You may not realize it, but I am a warrior of the cross of Jesus Christ.

“Oh, my God, He will not delay. My Refuge and Strength, always.”

I call on the Almighty to protect, to provide, to lead and guide them. I pray to the Holy Spirit to pour out His provision on their lives. Your power over them is broken in Jesus name. They are set free, by the authority given me as their father, both spiritually and physically. I declare open doors for them, music and praise for them to sing, and truth and life to be spoken over them.

We ask for this for Your glory, Lord.

And satan, I call heaven and earth to come against you. Let their be confusion and destruction in your kingdoms of pornography, of divorce. I pray that the strongholds of fear and shame would be illuminated by the light of God’s love, His awesome, overwhelming love that doesn’t condemn but brings healing and restoration. I pray that marriages, for people who read this blog, would experience healing, experience unity and rest.

In the awesome, all powerful name of Jesus, the Messiah, the Great Physician, the Rider on the white horse. Amen!

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Turn or Burn

What a wonderful way to start a conversation with someone who doesn’t know Jesus.

The scene, 1977, a group of us are standing in line to see the movie “Star Wars”. We watch as an old, white, van flies across the parking lot. It screeches to a halt, the side door opens and a wild looking hippy emerges and yells, “turn or burn baby, turn or burn. You’re all going to hell.” The door slams closed and the van lurches into a turn, gravel flying.

I wasn’t a Christian at the time. Totally did not get what they were doing. It certainly was ineffective. It stands in my memory as an example of extreme, religious weirdness. But there is a deeper message for me in these wild antics.

A friend of mine recently had a similar experience at a concert. A Christian at a non-Christian concert hearing what appeared to be brothers in Jesus, yelling at the crowd. She was incensed at their horrible presentation of Jesus. The unloving, rude behavior of those who call themselves followers of our King.

What causes us to believe we will reach people by barging into their lives, throwing things verbally or otherwise, and then leaving? I think it is fear. Fear, self-protection gives us the mentality of guerrilla warfare. Hurt them before they can hurt you back, attack and hide.

And fear is what leaves us silent in the face of the opportunity that has been created.

At the movie so long ago, no one said a word. At the concert, people were angry, offended, embarrassed but said nothing.

We are commanded to, “speak the truth in love.”

Always…

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Everything to Lose…

Five hundred miles from home. The lure of the world surrounding, calling to you. What have you got to lose? An affair, pornography, gambling, one hit, one toke, who will ever know?

The married man or woman can only believe this lie partially. We know that, “what happens in Vegas,” doesn’t stay in Vegas. The secrets we keep from our spouse build walls that will divide us and kill us.

But what if you’re single? What if it is your first time away from home, you’re an adult, you’re legal? And for the sake of argument, let’s say God is not involved. I mean, really, He forgives you anyway. Shouldn’t we be allowed to have some fun, be a little crazy sometimes.

Understand, first and foremost, that these thoughts are not from freedom. They did not originate from someone who wants your good. They are not the voice of reason and common sense. They were bred in the will of rebellion from the father of lies, who wants only to steal, kill and destroy.

It is never enough. You can never be satisfied with porn. You will never say that getting hammered once was all you needed. Affairs! Gambling! Drugs! One time scares us so much that we just have to try one more.

And the end is ruin.

The life we’ve been given is such a gift. Our wives, husbands, children, finances, homes, churches, friends, everything He has given are too precious. We gain a life of addiction and shame, sorrow, bondage…

Seek freedom, real freedom that is only found in Jesus Christ.

Everything to lose but He can restore and heal, make your life new.

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