Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Will You Become a Voice?

So, I was in my sanctuary reading my bible when the song by Rick Pino comes on.... and... SHABAM! I was writing down as fast as I could, so it’s a bit rough, but bear with me. I’m not sure if it's possible to get a message from a single song, but here it is! And, it’s about voices, which is what God has been hitting me with!

(BTW, this whole thing comes from the Matthew 3 area!)

I am a Voice
By Rick Pino:

The Pharisees could not see this man was sent from God
They asked him, “Are you someone great?”, but he said “I am not
You brood of vipers; don’t you see that I am not the Christ?
I am one who’s gone before to lay down my life”

[Verse 2]
Your pride and gift alone will not make you His choice
He’s looking for the ones who only want to be a voice
So keep on climbing, climbing all your ladders to the top
But don’t you know that in the Kingdom, down is the way up?

[Verse 3]
He’s looking for the ones who do not care about the cost
Denying earthly pleasures, finding pleasures of His heart
So lay down your life, become the highway of the King
The narrow path will be your crown, authority your ring

I am a voice, I am a voice
Crying out in the wilderness

How to become a voice: I’m not sure if you were here when Curt Landry spoke, but one of the main things he said that hit me was, “God, Let me be a voice.” He didn’t ask God if he could be a preacher, or a teacher, or even a rabbi. He simply said, God, let me be a voice. This hit me because so often we find ourselves wanting to be something, a preacher, an evangelist, but when was the last time we asked God to simply be a voice? 
But… How do you become a voice? I think Rick Pino explains it pretty well! 

“The Pharisees could not see this man was sent from God
They asked him, “Are you someone great?”, but he said “I am not””

The Pharisees represent the opposing church in our lives, those deeply-rooted by tradition and practice. While, they may mean well, they are absolutely opposed to anything remotely different from their “style of religion”. When you become a voice, you have to be prepared to face even “church-members” trying to shut you up, because they are so deeply set in “religion” that they cannot see that you were sent from God. They’ll try to drag you down, and make you prideful of who you are, but you have to be careful to stay humble and to focus on the task at hand. 
“You brood of vipers; don’t you see that I am not the Christ?
I am one who’s gone before to lay down my life”

In some ways, we are like John the Baptist, we have come before (Christ’s Return) saying, “Repent, for the time of the Lord is at hand”. To become a voice, you HAVE to be willing to lay down you life, to completely die to self EVERYDAY, and to destroy your flesh. 

“Your pride and gift alone will not make you His choice
He’s looking for the ones who only want to be a voice”

To become a voice, you have to WANT to be a voice. Your motives have to be pure and holy; you must want to be a voice because you desire to change the world, to raise up a generation who will seek God’s face, and to glorify him. You have to do it out of pure love for the father. Just because you have amazing God-given talents, will not make you a voice. Talents and achievements mean nothing until you have pure intentions towards God.

“So keep on climbing, climbing all your ladders to the top
But don’t you know that in the Kingdom, down is the way up?”

To become a voice, you must seek after his heart more and more with each and every day. Your love for him has to grow deeper every time you meet him. We have to seek, seek, seek, seek, and SEEK for him, more and more.

“He’s looking for the ones who do not care about the cost
Denying earthly pleasures, finding pleasures of His heart”

To become a voice, we must be completely willing to forget about the cost of following him. We have to deny ourselves “earthly pleasures”, but when we find his pleasures, they are so much more worth it. There will be a cost; you’ll lose friends, romances, Music, things in the pursuit of being a voice. But, the pleasures HE gives to you will be so much better 

So lay down your life, become the highway of the King
The narrow path will be your crown, authority your ring

Self-explanatory, I believe! 

“I am a voice, I am a voice
Crying out in the wilderness”

Notice, it says “crying out in the wilderness”. First off, crying. It didn’t say; cried or will cry or have cried, it says crying. You have to continue to cry out no matter how hard it gets. Also, the wilderness part. You’re not going to be crying out in the comfort of your own home, with your own people. You will be in the wilderness, a place full of danger, temptation and pain. I understand that’s a bit harsh, but its reality. But, God has given you the authority to go into the wilderness and claim victory! If you’ll become a voice, God can use you anywhere, you’ll see countries changes, people delivered, and God’s glory manifested upon the earth. 

Will you become a voice?


Monday, November 29, 2010

Where Are You in Your Walk With Christ?

So... Where are you?

Do you feel like you've tripped and fell, and can't get back up? Well, they don't call it a walk WITH Christ for nothing... Whether you feel it or not, He is right there beside you, and He will help you back up, and knock the dirt off of you. 
Psalm 23:4 "Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect me and comfort me" 

There's no time to quit. Especially in these last days we can not afford to take a detour. You must keep your eyes on Him! Don't let any distractions pull you away.

It is so easy to prostitute His prescence for even the good things. Take this situation I was in, for an example... I love listening to music, but who doesn't? Well, I would listen to worship music on my iPod at school every chance I had, and the other day the LORD said "stop listening to it". So today I didn't listen to any music, and at the times I would've listened to music, I had time to talk and LISTEN to GOD, and it hit me, I was taking advantage of GOD by listening to music rather than listening to Him, and whether you realize it or not, All those small quit times really make an impact in your relationship with Christ. Don't plug up your ears and not listen to Him, because He is speaking!!! 

His prescence is not man made!!!! It is THE BEST GIFT we've ever been givin. Don't miss an oppurtunity to get in His prescence.

Trust me, this will be a long and hard journey... The narrow road is no cake walk, you can't zip through it as if you were in a car on the highway. It's a walk, not a sprint, or a crawl... Wherever GOD takes you, you must have the faith to follow! Psalm 139: 3/24. 3- "You chart the path ahead of me, and tell me where to stop and rest". 24- "Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life". Let the Spirit guide you, and don't think with your emotions. Even though it's going to be a rough journey, you won't feel a any source of pain when you get to sit in Hid lap!

The faith is a race, but it ain't no nascar. It's a relatioahip between you and Him. Don't stand still while he is moving. Don't be complaicent., but don't take off in a dead sprint either. You'll miss a whole lot and burn out quick that way. Yes, were supposed to go 100% for GOD, but don't kill yourself in the process...

He is out shepard and. And we are His sheep. He will not hurt us, or lead us astray. 

So ask yourself, are you standing still, while He is moving? Are you replaicing His prescence, with things? Are you burnt out? Just seek His face, and He'll show you.


Endure to Become Pure

So I tried to write another devotional for today, but God wouldn't get the following out of my head. I was convinced that it wasn't the right time, didn't pertain to now...all of the usual excuses that came as a result of what I thought was need for now. Obviously, God gets His way, and my word can wait for another time. However because this word is fresh in my spirit, and therefore may not come out as fully developed as I'd like. So I ask you to bare with me, and direct any questions to my inbox later :)

Sitting in service this morning, I was considering water and it's many attributes, which carried over to when I got home. Yes, I know that sounds random, but if you know me, this should not come as a surprise. Anyway, I was thinking about how it flows. When a river is rushing, it typically is the result of a constant, steady, reliable flow of water that is unceasing in nature. This is how we like to view our faith. We'd like to say that yes, God is constantly flowing revelation and the power of his love, spirit, and strength into our lives and that it is never ceasing, but honestly...is this always the case? 

I can be real with you and say, that for me, it's not. I go through seasons just as, I would venture to say, most do and have periods of my life where I am more in tune, more open, and more conductive to the flow of the Spirit, and therefore receive and believe for more. This, of course, got me to thinking...how can I make my life, not just like the mighty rushing river (a life that is pouring out itself constantly for the furthering of God's kingdom) but how can I be the riverbed that conducts the move of that mighty rushing water, not for itself, but to provide for others?

Naturally, I turned to Bible Gateway for scripture 
(praise the Lord for the Christian's google. haha) 

In Malachi 3:10 it says: 
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it."

Now, I know this is speaking of tithing the first fruits of your income to the Lord, I don't deny that, but, when I read it, I applied this principle to my life. If the Lord spoke through Malachi that when we bring the full tithe into the storehouse we WILL see the floodgates pour out blessing that we cannot even contain, what would happen if we applied that to everything we did? What if we said, no, I may not have money to give right now, but I'll give the first fruits of my day, the first fruits of free time, the first fruits of my singing, etc...all to God. And that's when it hit me, when we take part in this practice, of giving the first fruits of everything we do to the Lord, giving Him the "whole" of ourselves instead of the "half", "third", or even "little bit" we allow Him to respond to our testing Him in this manner.

We allow God to answer our action with a reaction of outpouring.

I'm the kind of person that enjoys step-by-step instructions from preachers and God about how to fix my life...and well, giving all of yourself to the Lord sounds like a pretty straight forward process with clear steps that must be fulfilled, such as stop watching that frivolous TV show, turn away from that risque website, get your lazy butt out of be, get off Facebook and get in His presence (just to name a few). This makes it easy, right?...wrong. 

When we are not carrying out this process of being riverbeds (conductors), we are cement dams that hold back the water (move of His Spirit). Now, cement doesn't just break when you tap on it, you have to completely alter the foundations upon which it is built. When those foundations of pride in our outward man that others see as "holy", arrogance that we can do better than God, and laziness to get in His word and set aside time for Him are cracked and taken away, things have to change, and the dam is forced to come down because it has nothing left to stand on. 

Although the dam is forced to come down, it doesn't happen all at once. First cracks begin to form as the foundations slip away, and through those cracks the water begins to slowly trickle. It's the same way with the Spirit of the most high God. Many become discouraged by this when they start to rearrange their lives and only see a trickle of a result, but although the results with God appear to only be a trickle to our immature spirit eyes, we forget that there is an abundance of pent up water on the other side, just waiting for the right time, when the wall completely comes down, and it can gush through. Although this takes time, because with God, EVERYTHING IS A PROCESS, when we have broken every corrupt foundation and torn away all of the dirty earth (our flesh nature) that holds it up, the walls of the dam WILL come tumbling down and we WILL see the outpouring He has promised to us.

The question is, can you endure the current hardship, and apparent lack of results, to see the glory He wants to reveal to you if you can make it to the end of your remodeling?

In Romans, chapter 8 verse 18 Paul says:
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us"

We often quote it, but do we believe it? If we can write this truth upon the tablet of our heart, we can receive the strength from God to endure the time of testing and cutting away of our flesh to see the ultimate outpouring He has for us, and the water that will flow through us is the purest, most holy that could ever exist.

Will you trust in the Lord? Will you wait on Him longer than five minutes so that He can tear a part your foundations and restore you to a lifestyle of ceaselessly conducting the flow of God's Spirit?

Will you endure to become pure? 


Child Like Faith

Today as I embarked on the madness that is “Black Friday”, I began to ask myself about the world’s motives pertaining to Christmas. People fight each other for the best deals, get no sleep to be the first ones at the door, and count down the days to when they get to shop for their “special someone”. Literally, people die and are trampled (and trample each other) in these early morning escapades. Seriously, what’s the point? The world has manipulated a joyous celebration into a Hallmark holiday right under our noses, and we have allowed it. This is, after all, a birthday celebration for Christ, is it not? Yet, we give each other gifts… that’s like walking into your friend’s birthday party and not bringing him/her a gift, but a gift for every guest. 

Kind of weird, right? 

[Before you start calling me a Scrooge, I need to point out that this is my most favorite time of year—and exactly why God gave me this revelation.]

I honestly believe the gift giving concept is good—notice I say the concept and not the execution of said idea. From the moment we enter into this world, we’re showered with gifts and presents, from Halloween candy to tooth fairy money to Easter baskets to Valentines. Christmas is no exception, as we have jolly ole’ St. Nicholas to bring us gifts via chimney route and reindeer travel. 

This is where I make my point—children are so quick to believe in these fake holiday figures. Their innocence and vulnerability makes them so trusting at a young age, and the world goes and fills their minds with false realities, only to turn around and say “Just kidding, it’s been your parents all along”. 

Let’s hear what God has to say about this…

“At that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and stood the child before his followers. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you must change and become like little children. Otherwise, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven. The greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is the one who makes himself humble like this child. Whoever accepts a child in my name accepts me. If one of these little children believes in me, and someone causes that child to sin, it would be better for that person to have a large stone tied around the neck and be drowned in the sea.” Matthew 18:1-6

Okay, I know that’s a lot of scripture, but bear with me for a bit…

What would happen if kids waited anxiously in their beds for Jesus’ arrival the way they wait for Santa?

What would happen if instead of “The Night Before Christmas” being read, the Gospel of Luke was read?

What would happen if the world didn’t spend a dime on gifts and told each other about Jesus? Is he not the greatest gift of all? 

By filling the lives of children with “stuff”, aren’t we just filling them with sin? By putting these philosophies in their little minds, aren’t we robbing them of Jesus? All I’m saying is that if the people of this world were as excited for Jesus as they were for Christmas, I think everyday would feel like Christmas Day. All I can think of is everyone running around saying “What are you doing to prepare? Hey, did you know that Jesus is coming soon? I’m going to look my best, give my best, and love my best until that day!” 

We have to prepare! We need to clean the inside of our houses and decorate them with the gifts of the Father. We need to shine our lights brightly and proudly on the exterior of our homes. We need to be warm, inviting and loving to all we meet. We need to tell them that Jesus loves them, just as we say “Merry Christmas”. We need to have the faith and excitement of the children because in reality, we are children. 

Are we willing to risk breaking traditions to bring transformation? 

So all I’m asking for this Christmas season is that you remember WHY we celebrate and WHO we celebrate. Just as you loved waking up Christmas morning to go open your present, wake up every day and run to God and say, “What do you have for me today, Daddy?”


God is Speaking...But are We Listening?

God has been hitting me with the baseball bat of revelation about hearing his voice and such lately, so if you start to see a pattern with my devotions.... that’s why...

Have you ever noticed that God doesn’t like a medium? It’s the wide road, or the narrow road. You're either bearing fruit, or you're not... And if you're not hot or cold, he'll vomit you out of his mouth. In God's eyes, there is no "middle road", "half-bearing fruit", and he hates "lukewarm". Same thing goes with listening. At no time is someone or something not speaking into you, over you, or directly to you. And, if its not God who is speaking, that means that it is the devil who is. It's just one of those things, if it's not God, then it’s the devil. There will never be a time when God and the devil are quiet, they are both speaking at the same time... but who are you listening too? Are you listening to God, or..... the devil. No middle. Do you understand what I'm trying to get across? So, to help turn off the devil, and turn up God, we must understand HOW the devil speaks to us.

Three ways the Devil Speaks to Us:
1) Through a thing:
-This could not necessarily doesn't have to be a bad thing, sometimes the devil speaks and controls our lives with "good" things, but those "good" things take the 
place of "GOD" things
- Music
-TV shows
- Daily works/ Distractions

2) Through his actual voice
- This usually is the voice in the back of your head telling you that you will fail
- Fears/ Doubts
- Pride 
- Jealously

3) Through a Person:
- This happens a lot and most of the time, we don’t recognize it’s the devil trying 
speak to you.
- A boyfriend, telling you that you’re stupid
- A teacher, telling you that you FAIL
- A parent, telling you that you’re not special enough

Now, in Romans 8:7, it sys that “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. This got me thinking that if the devil speaks to us, and fills our head with the flesh, then our mind is literally hostile to God, and rebukes him. 

As you can see, the majority of the time, we find ourselves listening to the devil: not on purpose, of course, but most of us don’t realize that it’s the devil talking to us. But, because God is so good, and so mighty, and wonderful, and fantastic, and holy… AND ETC. he counterbalances this with the three ways HE talks to us!

Three ways God speaks to Us:
1) Through a thing:
-Something like a crazy revelation that just screams GOD!
- Music
- A Dream
- A thought

2) Through his actual voice:
- This is the still small voice that speaks to us through the quiet, the noise, the pain, and the joy
- Conviction of a sin 
- Love/Joy
- A word, or a thought that reveals to you
(1 Kings 19: 12- … and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice)

3) Through a Person:
- When something someone has said slams through you, and you realize 
- A preacher
- A spiritual authority
- A friend

We have to learn how to first distinguish between things of God and things of the devil, sometimes it’s confusing because of the way the devil uses “good” things. The first step in hearing God is to remove the things that are speaking to you that aren’t God. Especially the obvious, the music, TV shows, and etc. Second, refuse to listen to things the devil is telling you! And, third… Ask God for guidance. He says, “We have not because we ask not” ( James 4:2 ) so, ask him to help you remove anything but his voice. Other than that? I’m still working on it myself!

With lots of love:


The World's Hatered

John 15:18- 
"when the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don't. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you". Listen, your going to go through rough times, and your going to be persecuted, it's just a fact. But when you do get persecuted you win. Matthew 5:10- "God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs". We win when were persecuted, we win, when we lead people to Christ. So don't sell your joy so cheaply. Just remember, because of Jesus, WE WIN!!!


The Real Vs. the Imitation

God is so good and He truly blesses us with SO much in our lives, but it is no secret that, because of this, the devil will often try and turn what God meant for good into evil. The aspect of this many people fail to consider is that he doesn't only do this through temptation and destruction. The enemy will also use forms of manipulation that would surprise many by creating an imitation of God's intended blessing that actually harms, rather than builds up.

A clear example of this that I found during my time with the Lord is in John chapter 19. In verses 1-3 it says:

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.

It may just look like a description of how Jesus was so horribly treated as He gave His life for us, but through it, God reveals how the devil works. 

Let's start with the crown of thorns. A crown is something that is meant to be a gift, or a symbol to denote honor and royalty. Here, this God ordained conception of the crown is distorted and turned into a method to mock Jesus for claiming to be king, as well as hurt Him with each thorn that would pierce his skull...I know this sounds obvious, but bear with me...If we consider a crown to be a gift of honor and royalty, as it is defined, then let's consider some crowns that Jesus gives to us. He gives us Gifts and talents (singing, playing, drawing, speaking, etc.), love, joy, favor, etc. and we are meant to use all of these gifts, or for the sake of this devotion "crowns", to create heavenly crowns that one day, we can lay at Jesus' feet, giving back to Him. Sadly more often than not, the enemy takes this and twists it, just as he did to the crown of thorns in verse 2, to tear us down and try to eliminate the final product of glorifying God. Think I'm crazy? consider the times in your life when pride has been thrown into the mix and gifts and talents have produced envy, when love has been mutated into lust and produced sexual immorality, or when our fleshly desire for mere happiness has turned into dissatisfaction and a loss of God through the pursuit of the world. When God's crowns that were intended for blessing become satan's tools to institute a curse, damage is then done, and we feel the thorns of the twisted crown pierce our skull, just as Jesus' did. 

The same can be said of the purple robe that the soldiers gave Jesus to wear as He was being prepared for slaughter. Purple is typically a color associated with royalty and righteousness, as is the image of a robe, stated in Isaiah 61:10:

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

This clearly states that when we receive salvation, we are adorned as righteous priests! Still, the enemy used it as a tool to mock Jesus as the soldiers yelled "Hail King of the Jews!" and slapped Him. They were not only devaluing Jesus through appearance, but were also devaluing His very identity. This is exactly what the enemy tries to do with us. He takes the robes of righteousness given to us by the Father, that remind us of our true identity in Him, and causes people to mock us for being different or standing up for what is right as we walk in our righteous identity.

Why does this matter? Because when the enemy has distorted gifts, and created the stinging thorns attached to them, we become afraid of being hurt, and reject or at least be wary to receive any gifts from the Father. This keeps us in a powerless, deprived state where we cannot receive, and therefore become unable to give and shake the world around us for the kingdom of God. The same can be said when the enemy devalues our robes of righteousness. As he devalues them, he devalues our identity, and makes it seem like living a righteous, consecrated life isn't worth living if it involves embarrassment and pain. All in all, when we accept the mocking imitations placed in our life by the enemy, we allow him to change us into powerless, helpless, defeated, sorry excuses for Christians.

This HAS to stop, we must come to the realization that we are "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9) and should settle for nothing less than the best GOD has to offer, instead of the worst the devil has waiting. Just as someone who we would consider a "snob" (you can repent later. haha) would turn her nose up at knock-off brand clothing and accessories, we must learn to be spiritual "snobs" as well, turning down the fake "knock-off" version of what God intended and only accepting the real deal, designer Jesus. Although this real thing comes with a higher price, as we sacrifice the world's love and acceptance for God's, in the end it is still the better product. 

in my mind, that's a good bargain :)