Thursday, October 28, 2010



"The Cause of the weakness of your Christian life is that you want
to work it out partly, and then have God help you. That cannot be.
You must come to be utterly helpless, to let God work. He will
work gloriously." ~ Andrew Murray

"To DIE TO SELF, or to come from under its power, IS NOT AND
CAN NOT BE DONE by any active resistance we can make
against it OR by our own power of nature. The one true way of
dying to self is the way of patience, meekness, humility, surrender
and RESIGNATION to God." ~ Andrew Murray

"We Can not please God by what we do for Him in our own human
effort, we can only please Him by surrendering and letting Him work
in and through our lives." ~John Mulinde

“I will die for my God. I will die for my faith. It's the least I can do
for Christ dying for me.” ~ Cassie Bernall, Columbine High Martyr

"We must be careful not to choose, but to let God's Holy Spirit
manage our lives; not to smooth down and explain away, but to
stir up the gift and allow God's Spirit to disturb us and disturb us
and disturb us until we yield and yield and yield and the possibility
in God's mind for us becomes an established fact in our lives,
with the rivers in evidence meeting the need of a dying world."
~Smith Wigglesworth.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

God is Not in Control

God is Not in Control By Robert Ricciardelli
Presuppositions are not absolute truth
The title may shock you, but let me explain. There are many believers that have fallen into a deterministic world-view. This view presupposes that all things regarding His people have already been determined, and that He is in control of all things. This presupposition directly opposes the reality of what the Word of God actually teaches us about the Father. If we say that God is in control of all people, then we are saying that God causes all the suffering and pain in the world. If we suggest, as John Calvin did, that “Nothing happens except what is knowingly and willingly decreed by Him,” then we are implying that God is the cause of all things, including war and disease.

The reality is that God is not controlling all of His creation, all the time. According to the bible, God has all authority, and in Matthew 28:18, He has given that same authority to Jesus, who has the power to “subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:21). For now, Jesus reigns, but does not control all things, but there will be a day, when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. There is an “open” view that sees that both God and man have choices yet to be determined. If that were not the case, then prayer could not move a God who had already made up his mind in all matters. We can see in scripture how God changes His mind at times because of the intercession or behavior of His people.

Providential Personal Intervention
While we understand that God does not control everything, we must also understand that He still has a will, as well as all authority to do as He wills for His purposes. Father in His love and desire for mankind will intervene in anyone’s life and for any reason of His choosing. So although He does not control all things, He has the choice and authority to control or change anything He desires.

Although He does not control us, we can say that He is always in control of our lives regardless of what we go through for “all things work together for good to those that love God.” God is certainly in control of specific situations, especially in the lives of His beloved who have received Him as Lord of their lives. However as an all- inclusive statement, it is wrong to say, “God is in control.” We can say however, “God is always in charge, and can use His authority and power whenever He chooses.” We have wonderful examples throughout the bible of God interrupting the lives of His chosen people, and some real notables in the lives of Paul, Moses, and Job.

Providential World Intervention
God does not control the world, for if He did, He would not ever need to intervene. People continue to choose to live their own way without acknowledging God, and yet the sun continues to rise and fall for them every day. Nevertheless you cannot read much of the bible without taking notice that God does in fact interact and intervene with the world and in the affairs of humanity. He also is preparing the world for His Kingdom glory that Jesus will rule and reign over for all eternity. This is why He taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, and thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”

We pray for God’s will to be done on earth because presently His will is not being fully accomplished. So we pray and lead obedient lives as instruments of His mandate for all the earth, and for all creation. Until the fullness of His Kingdom in Christ, most of the world will continue to remain out of control, while God uses us in His providential will to bring many to the revelation of Himself. But when Christ arrives in all of His glory, He will command all things into submission to His will, and all of creation will bow to His Majesty.

Opposing Views Being Sorted
Deterministic and openness Christ followers do agree that God does have a predetermined plan that He will execute and accomplish. However, they disagree on how detailed that plan is, and how forceful He chooses to execute it. The deterministic Christian believes that God controls everything down to the smallest of details, while the openness believer sees God inspiring, guiding, directing and even forcefully intervening at times.

Our Life Choices Matter
We must realize our freedoms within the parameters that God sets, and truly have an open world-view. God continues to watch over us, respond to us, and desiring to work with us.

Exodus 33:5 For the LORD had told Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you. Remove your jewelry and fine clothes while I decide what to do with you.”

God told the people to repent until he decided what to do with them. This scripture along with many throughout the bible proves that Father God has not predetermined all things, but wants our involvement. The above scripture alone is in direct opposition of the deterministic and classical view of God.

We are not simply pawns in the hands of God; we are sons and daughters of the Most High God. We are not left for chance or some predetermined outcome. We have a free will, Christ has set us free to be free, and we have an opportunity to partner with the Living God.

Our prayers matter, for our God listens, and the prayers of the righteous through Christ brings forth 4th dimension heaven to a 3rd dimension earth. You are essential to Father’s plan, the church is essential, and the gates of hell will not prevail against us. Let’s work with the Father together, transform the world, and forge the future now. Arise saints of God, for this life and for this day, and let’s live, move, and have our being in Him.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"When I am Weak, Then I am Strong"

"When I am Weak, Then I am Strong"
by Robert Fitts

The apostle Paul had a problem! He came to a time in his walk with Jesus that God had to send him a problem and it was something he did not want, but something God knew he needed, but Paul pled with God in prayer that He would take it away.
The amazing thing about this problem is that it was something that could be called a gift and yet it was also called "a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan sent to "buffet" Paul.
He said, "For this cause (for the abundance of revelation that was given to him) there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me lest I should be exalted above measure."
Then Paul said, "For this cause I sought the Lord three times that He would take away this thorn, but He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
When Paul heard that, he said, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me." By this we know that Paul's thorn was some kind of physical problem that could be called an "infirmity" which could be a sickness or some kind of physical weakness.
Now we know God's attitude toward sickness and disease is always to treat them as enemies and the works of the enemy. Jesus healed every disease and treated sickness and disease as enemies, but apparently in some cases, it is God himself who gives these thorns, or messengers of Satan to buffet for some good reason, at least for a period of time, but in every case his grace is sufficient for us to take us through to victory, for there is no indication that Paul lived the rest of his life with that thorn in his flesh.
As a believer, if you are suffering some kind of weakness or infirmity and you have reason to believe that it has been given to you by God for His purposes in your life, then you can glory in your infirmity as Paul did in his if you do have a word from God that it is for a specific purpose, such as Paul's thorn was. But if you do not have a word from God as Paul did that it was given by God to fulfill His purposes for you and for the Church of God, the Body of Christ, then rebuke the infirmity (weakness) and trust God to remove it. Amen? Amen!

Robert Fitts
76-6309 Haku Pl
Kona, HI 96740

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


a word from the Lord to those who are suffering

Being in the will of God does not make us immune to trouble. It often involves hardship and suffering, but the end result is always good. God said to Ananias right after Saul of Tarsus was saved on the road to Damascus, "Get ready and go to Straight Street . . . and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he might see again. I have chosen him to serve me to make my name known to Gentiles and kings and to the people of Israel. And I myself will show him all that he must suffer for my sake." (Acts 9:10-16) (TEV)

Paul later wrote to Timothy and said, "Those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Jesus himself promised that his will for would at times involve suffering when he said, "In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer! I have overcome the world. " (John 16:33)

Moses was in the will of God when he went to Egypt to set the Hebrews free from bondage but it got him into a lot of trouble with the leaders of Egypt as well as causing trouble for the children of Israel. The elders of Israel said to Moses, "We had it easier before you came onto the scene! At least the Egyptians provided us with straw for making bricks, but now we have to gather our own straw."

Moses was perplexed, "God, I've been obedient to do your will and yet you have not done your part. There is only confusion and hardship, and you have not delivered Israel at all."

Paul and Silas were in the very center of God's will when they followed the guidance they received from the Lord in the vision of the man of Macedonia who said, "Come over and help us." They went to Macedonia in obedience to God's direction and within a very short time they were beaten severely and thrown into prison. But they were not confused. They prayed and sang praises to God in the midst of the persecution because they knew that trouble did not necessarily mean they were out of the will of God. Nor does the fact that we are not in trouble necessarily mean we are in the will of God. Their confidence was well rewarded as we see in the outcome of their sufferings!

Jonah got into trouble because he ran from the will of God and wound up in the belly of a great fish before he finally realized that it is better to suffer doing God's will than it is to suffer in rebellion against His will.

Paul said, "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."

Peter said, "Let him who suffers according to the will of God commit himself to God as to a faithful creator." Am I willing to suffer to stay in the will of God? God’s will often leads us by the way of suffering as we have seen in the instances quoted above. But the suffering that is inherent in obeying God will always lead to so much greater good that it is well worth the pain! The sufferings of Christ at his crucifixion is the ultimate example of that truth!

To refuse the suffering involved in fulfilling the will of God in our lives often leads to greater suffering. I am not including suffering caused by sickness and disease. I do not believe God’s will is that we suffer sickness and disease, but that, in such cases, we are to come to Him in full assurance of faith and confidence that it is his will to heal us. Jesus expressed God’s attitude toward sickness and disease when, in every case, with no exceptions, everyone who came to him for healing received their healing!

Jesus suffered a horrible scourging to bring healing to us. If I am suffering some form of sickness or disease, I am told clearly what I should do in the apostle James’ letter to the early church: “Is any sick among you, let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will heal the sick and the Lord will raise him up.” (James 5:14-16) But the fact that there is often suffering connected with doing God’s will is evident in Paul’s list of things which he suffered:

“. . . in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was adrift in the ocean; In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in sleeplessness, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness. Beside all these things, that which comes upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

In spite of all these scriptures that speak of the possibilities of suffering, we are confident that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to us, around us, in us and through us! And that glory is not just the glory that we will witness when we get to heaven. It will be revealed here on this field of battle at this present time! When you think of comparing the sufferings with the glory, meditate on that phrase. The suffering and the glory are not worthy to be compared!

So, if you are in the midst of a time of suffering right now, repeat it over and over until you believe it in the depths of your being, the greater the suffering, the greater, far greater is the glory that shall be revealed to you, in you, through you, and around you!

Robert Fitts
76-6309 Haku Pl
Kona, HI 96740

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Can you relate to these words of a frustrated Christian? "The Bible was the dullest, most uninteresting book in existence. And the sense of depravity, the vileness and bad-motivatedness of my nature was terrific."

Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it? Those words were penned by Oswald Chambers during a time of deep soul searching that lasted over four years. He was struck with his own unworthiness and his own inadequacy to live the Christian life. It wasn't until he understood the words of Luke 11:13 that he experienced hope. Jesus said; "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" Oswald Chambers finally came to the end of himself and believed that God the Holy Spirit could empower him to be what He needed him to be.

Do you feel inadequate for what God has called you to do, like Oswald Chambers? Begin to read what God has promised in the Bible and take Him at His Word. That means studying His Word daily and becoming intimate with what He has spoken to you. God can use you to do great things for Him if you'll trust Him and take His promises by faith.

Frank Coleman

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When Everything Goes Wrong

When Everything Goes Wrong

by Pam Clark

Pam ClarkEver have those days? Those weeks? Those seasons? For all the "confessing" and "rote prayers" you might do, you will still encounter days and seasons and weeks where things just seem to go crazy. After the initial shock, you start asking questions, hopefully, instead of just reacting from "the flesh" or "the carnal nature" rather than your spirit-man.

It takes effort. Your carnal nature acts on impulses. It often reacts to things that confront it with a reaction of displeasure. You can be sure that if something is amiss to you, the devil wants to jump in and make it worse. He definitely wants you to bypass prayer and considering Scriptures to challenge your situation.

Many mistakenly believe that God should jump in and "fix it" for them, or they think it means that He doesn't love them. For sure, the devil wants you to believe that so that you will turn away from God. But, the sun will still come up tomorrow morning, even if the clouds are obscuring the view.

But even more sure than nature is the eternal words of God. We have to find them and hold on to them. It is so key to know the purposes of God and your place in that. You are doing real good if you believe that God is good and the devil is bad. Throw into that mix that you have the choice, will and volition to navigate and declare your "space" and an interesting dynamic is at work.

The right mind will know that God is real and almighty and omnipotent. The right sense of nature will tell you that God is good and He is life and He is not only creative, but He is the Creator. He is definitely bigger than we are and we know that just by looking at the sky and earth around us. But observing and knowing are two different things.

Why Were You Put on This Earth?

Well, you can certainly reason that it's because God wants you here. And He wants you here to make a difference. But how do you do that when things are overwhelmingly wrong? And when the stuff hits the fan, then what?

This is where it is important to realize what Jesus said, when He said, "In your patience you possess your souls." Let's look at the context of that a moment.

Luke 21:10-19 Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls."

Wow! There is a lot going on there! It sounds like He is saying that for a time like this, when a bunch of negative things are going on. Take your pick from the list or come up with some more from your own battles!

It's so important to realize that Jesus wants to get in the middle of the battle with you. The greatest thing that Jesus ever said or proved was "I Am the Resurrection and the Life." Without that hope, life is surely nothing more than a gamble that could have a really bad ending. Since we don't want to go that direction, let's look to the Creator and His purposes.

God created us for fellowship, not just with each other but with Him. Sometimes we can feel very far away from that, but if we point our hearts towards Him, you will find He is looking right back at you with a message. We just have to decide that we want to hear the message or go our own ways. We have been offered some leeway on some things but others things can be quite critical.

Some may have relatives or friends they can call on, but I'd rather be subject to my own prayers than someone else's most of the time. When God answers prayers, it is because He is believing the relationship stands a chance. He'd rather let you suffer a little pain and keep your understanding of Him than just let you go your own way never to return.

God is Sacred.

He does have holy places and holy ways. And He is bigger than what a lot of even church folk would sometimes like to have you to believe. God is always there with you in "the now". People are going to act crazy, circumstances are going to go crazy sometimes, but our best angle is in knowing God's will - which is good - and how to pray.

We don't define good to God; He defines good to us. His good is better than our good! It is so important for us to realize that. There are a lot of people who know how to share about their fancy steps towards God and He may very well be in some of that. Some really have a song and a dance and a testimony. But some places in life are just seemingly dull and weak and even unpleasant.

When crazy things happen, He may be very much in the midst of that for your good! Give it a chance in your own soul for it to happen. Don't defeat your cause by trying to defeat others who should believe. It may not be what you thought, but it may be pointing you into a direction that is better than you thought. And if you really believe, you will start to not just wonder, but gain confidence in knowing it from experience.

God loves the element of surprise but He also offers the stability of His Word through the Scriptures. It pays to know His Word to learn His ways. And there are other people who can open things up to you in even more ways than what you just figured out. In making God-connection friends, you will have people you can call on when you go through your tribulations. They can help encourage you, pray for you and sometimes even act on your behalf.

But when it seems that you are all on your own and in need, work to hear His Voice because He does say He will be there with you in time of need. You may have to coast and trust in that faith "knowing" and find it's really all okay, or you may find a new dimension in your life.

Just work to have that patience that will not sell its birthright like Esau did (see Genesis 25) and sabotoge your blessings. And realize that if you do fail, God IS ready to help pick you up again. It's those who turn away that He cannot help. I wish you His Best.

Pam Clark

Monday, July 5, 2010

God's Delays Are Not Denials

God's Delays Are Not Denials by Lee Grady
Do you trust God's timing? The path to spiritual maturity requires us to surrender our selfish deadlines.

When Mary and Martha sent news to Jesus that their brother, Lazarus, was about to die, Jesus didn't respond the way his friends expected. He actually snubbed their request. The Bible says when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, "He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was" (John 11:6, NASB).

For Mary and Martha, those were two very long days.

Doubts tormented them. What kind of friend was Jesus, anyway? Why did He ignore their urgent plea? Why didn't He drop everything and rush to their aid? Mary was especially frustrated and distraught about Jesus' seemingly insensitive delay.

When Jesus finally arrived in Bethany—four days after Lazarus died—a shroud of gloom covered the village. Everybody was in mourning. Mary was overwhelmed by grief and disappointment. Her faith was as cold as Lazarus' corpse.

Mary didn't even want to talk to Jesus. This woman who was known as a passionate disciple of the Lord stayed in the house when her sister went outside to ask Jesus why He took so long (see v. 20). We don't know exactly what Mary was doing in the house. Most likely she was sulking, maybe even struggling with feelings of anger toward Jesus because He didn't come when she called.

You may relate to Mary. Many of us get stuck in this same place of disillusionment. We get upset and confused when God doesn't work according to our timetable.

Perhaps you have been asking Jesus to intervene in your crisis. You may need Him to rescue a wayward child, heal your body, provide for a financial need, restore a broken relationship or salvage a dream that is on its deathbed. It may seem that Jesus missed His golden opportunity—or that He was so busy meeting the needs of others that He just dropped you from His priority list.

Like Mary of Bethany, you may feel that Jesus waited too long. It's over. Your problem is now so serious, and your dream so lifeless, that Jesus cannot help you.

When we face these frustrating delays, we automatically assume that He is denying us, neglecting us or rejecting us. So we throw a childish pity party. We go in our rooms, close our doors, shut out the pain and stay as far away from Jesus as possible.

We find it too difficult to pray when we are in a faith crisis. The enemy of our souls tells us that Jesus doesn't care, that our prayers are meaningless and that there is no reward for believing in Him. Some of us, if we have melancholy tendencies, also beat ourselves up with the familiar "I guess I just don't have enough faith" line.

Thankfully Mary did not stay in her self-made prison of depression. The Bible says that when Jesus came to her house and got close enough to Lazarus' tomb to smell the stench, Mary ran to him and knelt at His feet—the place where she began her journey of discipleship (see Luke 10:39). After all the moping, she set aside the blame games and returned to the only place where life's struggles make sense.

She knelt in His presence, not to ask Him why He let Lazarus die but simply to gain strength from being with Him.

She decided to grow up. She left behind the whining immaturity that demands Jesus must act a certain way. She put her trust in Him afresh, letting go of selfish expectations. When she surrendered her life to Him that day, she was saying that she would follow Him not only in the good times but also on the darkest days when she couldn't see His love through the clouds of death, suffering and pain.

There, at Jesus' feet, Mary caught a glimpse of Jesus like she'd never seen Him before. He wept for His friend Lazarus, and then He commanded his lifeless body to come out of the tomb. Mary would have missed the miracle if she had stayed in seclusion. She needed to see with her own eyes that God's delays are not denials—and that Jesus' timing is perfect even when it seems He has forgotten us.

Do you feel as if Jesus has ignored your request? Does it seem as if your message to Him was intercepted? Have you been sinking into discouragement because your dream has died—and Jesus doesn't care?

Run back to Him and take your place at His feet. True disciples know that life operates on God's schedule, not ours. Press through your doubts, surrender your deadlines, renounce your impatience and renew your trust in the Lord, who is the sovereign Lord over your circumstances.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


-by David Wilkerson.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, pictured the Christian
like someone trying to cross a sea of floating pieces of ice. The
Christian cannot rest anywhere while crossing, except in his faith
that God will see him through. He cannot stand anywhere too long,
otherwise he sinks. After taking a step, he must watch out for the
next. Beneath him is the abyss and before him is uncertainty - but
always ahead is the Lord - firm and sure! He doesn't see the land
yet, but it is there - a promise in his heart. So the Christian traveler
keeps his eyes fixed upon his final place!

I prefer to think of life as a wilderness journey - like that of the
children of Israel. And King Jehoshaphat's battle, along with all
the children of Judah, is also our battle (see 2 Chronicles 20).
Sure, it's a wilderness; yes, there are snakes, dry water holes,
valleys of tears, enemy armies, hot sands, drought, impassable
mountains. But when the children of the Lord stood still to see
his salvation, he spread a table in that wilderness, rained manna
from above, destroyed enemy armies by his power alone, brought
water out of rocks, took poison out of the snakebites, led them
by pillar and cloud, gave them milk and honey, and brought them
into the Promised Land with a high and mighty hand. And God
warned them to tell every following generation: "Not by might, nor
by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).

Stop looking in the wrong direction for help. Get alone with Jesus
in a secret place; tell him all about your confusion. Tell him you
have no other place to go. Tell him you trust him alone to see you
through. You will be tempted to take matters into your own hand.
You will want to figure things out on your own. You will wonder if
God is working at all - there is nothing to lose. Peter summed it
all up: "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for
I am God, and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:22).

"Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my
salvation: my God will hear me" (Micah 7:7).


Sunday, June 20, 2010


Kasihanilah aku, TUHAN, sebab aku merana; sembuhkanlah aku, TUHAN, sebab tulang-tulangku gemetar, dan jiwakupun sangat terkejut; tetapi Engkau, TUHAN, berapa lama lagi? (Mazmur 6:3-4)
Tetapi Engkau, TUHAN, janganlah jauh; ya kekuatanku, segeralah menolong aku! (Mazmur 22:20)
Janganlah menyembunyikan wajahMu terhadapku, janganlah menolak hambaMu ini dengan murka; Engkaulah pertolonganku, janganlah membuang aku dan janganlah meninggalkan aku, ya Allah penyelamatku! (Mazmur 27:9)

Aku merasa gentar dan takut. Belum selesai aku memperjuangkan kestabilan ekonomi keluarga dan pelayanan selama tiga tahun ini, kami harus pula menampung anggota keluarga yang mengalami musibah di tempat kami memasuki tahun 2010 ini. Kala semua belum beres, kini kontrakan rumah kami pun habis dan dalam waktu seminggu ini kami diminta untuk meninggalkan kontrakan rumah kami. Haruskah kami menjadi gelandangan di kota Bandung? Kadang dalam kesendirianku, aku merasa ditinggalkan. Kusadar saat kita punya kedudukan dan harta, banyak orang di sekitar kita tetapi saat kita memulai suatu yang baru, sedikit sahabat di tempat yang baru dan nama kita belum dikenal maka terkesan orang kurang peduli. Ketakutan meliputi pikiran dan hatiku. Berdoa…berpuasa….berseru dengan segenap hati…memberi & berbagi apa yang kami miliki dalam kekurangan…tapi keuangan kami belum pulih juga….bahkan kini kami terancam menjadi homeless alias gelandangan. Mengapa kami harus melalui ini semua…??? Tuhan dimanakah Engkau??? Bukankah KAU BAPA YANG BAIK, mengapa KAU izinkan hal ini terjadi atas hidup keluarga kami seolah kami sudah melakukan dosa yang tak terampuni, ketika kami berbagi cerita dan beban dengan saudara seiman lainnya…nampak semua menutup telinga dan memalingkan wajah mereka….ketika kami berpaling kepadaMU pun rasanya KAU diam saja tak bergeming. Darimanakah pertolongan kami??? Waktu berjalan terus jangankan untuk membayar kontrakan rumah, untuk makan sehari-hari dan bahkan pelayanan pun tiada. Akankah kami mati kelaparan sebagai gelandangan di kota Bandung??? Inikah akhir kehidupan kami?? Inikah rencana Tuhan atas hidup kami di kota Bandung?? KEMATIAN DALAM KELAPARAN & KEMISKINAN??????
AKU TAHU BAHWA RENCANA TUHAN ITU MASA DEPAN YANG CERAH DAN BUKAN RANCANGAN KECELAKAAN….tetapi yang tiga tahun ini kami rasakan seolah kami ini penjahat yang layak ditindas…rasanya sia-sia kami setia pada visi dan panggilan Tuhan. Bila melihat kehidupan orang yang hidup dalam dosa dan berkelimpahan harta…menyia-nyiakan hidup dalam dosa dan kesia-siaan….aku merasa iri hati terhadap mereka. Kami memiliki visi tetapi tidak memiliki harta untuk mengerjakannya. Kami sudah mencoba berbagi beban visi ini selama tiga tahun tapi tak seorangpun meresponi secara positif….seolah apa yang kami kerjakan ini sia-sia. Kami menjadi bahan olokan orang dunia dan bahkan saudara seiman…yang lebih suka menjadi penonton….ingin melihat “bagaimana cara Tuhan menolong kami”….bukan dukungan tetapi kata-kata negatif terlontar dari mulut saudara-saudara seiman….hingga aku pun mulai bertanya-tanya…benarkah Tuhan itu ada dan memanggil kami? AKU TAHU BAHWA TUHAN ITU ADA…..tapi kami merasa seolah Tuhan tak ada dan kami tak memiliki masa depan. Aku tahu pandanganku ini salah tetapi itulah yang kurasakan sekarang…..aku hanya berupaya transparan saja di hadapan Tuhan maupun sesama. Tuhan mengingatkanku akan keluhan bani Asaf dalam Mazmur 73…..tetapi tetap itu tak menghiburku sebab sudah tiga tahun berlalu dan “terobosan” itu tak kunjung terlihat…..Begitu banyak nubuatan positif dan ayat firman Tuhan yang menjadi rhema dalam hidup kami disampaikan oleh rekan-rekan pelayan Tuhan lainnya tetapi…..kapan dan dimana penggenapannya?? Seolah semuanya hanyalah hiburan selama beberapa menit dan lalu kami harus menghadapi kenyataan yang pahit.
Sampai berapa lama KAU berdiam diri ya Tuhan??? Dimanakah janji pembelaanMU bagi kami para hambaMU bahkan anak-anakMu ini?
Pikiran gila kadang melintas dalam pikiranku….19 tahun sudah aku melayani dan hidup dalam Tuhan….tapi tiba-tiba pikiran untuk meninggalkan Tuhan terlintas….keputusasaan memenuhi pikiranku..rasa frustasi menyesakkan dadaku…….aku merasa sia-sia semua perjuangan dan pengorbananku ini. AKAL SEHATKU MENGATAKAN SEMUA INI TIADA SIA-SIA…TIDAK ADA YANG SIA-SIA DI DALAM TUHAN. Tetapi di sisi lain kala melihat kenyataan hidup saat ini……..hatiku getir….pahit…melihat anak-anakku tidak bisa minum susu….anak-anakku tak dapat mendapatkan pendidikan yang optimal….aku merasa sebagai pecundang…..AKAL SEHATKU MENGATAKAN BAHWA AKU LEBIH DARIPADA PEMENANG……benarkah??? TUHAN BILA ENGKAU NYATA….DIMANAKAH ENGKAU SAAT INI? Sampai berapa lama lagi kami harus hidup di bawah garis kemiskinan dan hinaan orang? Apakah tidak sebaiknya aku melupakan Tuhan saja, sebab aku merasa Tuhan sudah melupakan kami sekeluarga? Peperangan timbul dalam batinku….kutahu kebenaran tapi kenyataan seolah bertentangan dengan kebenaran dan janji Tuhan. Sampai berapa lama kami dapat mempertahankan iman kami padaMu, Kristus? Bila kami harus melalui tahun-tahun yang kelam ini……sampai kapan???
Entahlah sampai kapan kudapat bertahan…tiap kali semangatku bangkit dan melihat jiwa-jiwa baru mulai berdatangan saat itu pula…kami tidak memiliki dana untuk mengunjungi mereka….jangankan membantu….mengunjungi saja…tak mampu hingga akhirnya apa yang telah kami bangun kehilangan momentum kembali…..Komunitas baru terbentuk lalu kami tak sanggup untuk sekedar berkumpul untuk ibadah dengan mereka….hingga akhirnya kelompok saudara seiman yang lain mengambil alih atau yang terburuk…mereka kembali pada kehidupan mereka yang lama. Seolah semuanya menjadi sia-sia.
Usaha dengan membuat proposal, meminta bantuan dengan share perjuangan kami pada saudara seiman lainnya sampai berupaya membuka usaha sudah dilakukan namun tidak ada satu pun yang berjalan dengan baik dan dapat mendukung sisi finansial kami….semuanya nampak sia-sia….aku merasa sudah berada di ujung tanduk untuk menyerah saja…aku merasa sudah tak kuat lagi…..
Doaku,”Tuhan ampunilah hambaMu ini yang kurang percaya…tambahkan iman hambaMu ini. Mampukan hamba untuk terus maju dan mengalahkan setiap keraguan yang menyerang pikiran ini. Aku gentar…aku takut…BAPA….melalui lembah kekelaman dan gunung terjal dihadapan kami. Kami sadar tidak sanggup lagi berjalan dengan kekuatan kami…tolong Dave, Novie, Philip dan little George untuk melalui ini semua dengan iman yang berkobar padaMU. Hingga bila kami harus melalui skenario kehidupan yang terburuk sekalipun….kami tetap dipenuhi ucapan syukur…dan tetap dapat melihat kebaikan Tuhan. Hidup atau mati kami ada dalam tanganMU TUHAN….kami berserah sepenuhnya padaMU saja….lakukanlah yang KAU lihat itu baik bagi kami….AMIEN.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What On Earth Is God Doing?

What On Earth Is God Doing? by David Orton
"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Luke 12:32
The global financial system totters. Whole nations declare bankruptcy. Panic strikes the world markets. Political leaders meet late into the night searching for answers that don't exist. Militant Islam invades through immigration and population growth. Secularism dominates the public square. And the church pursues cultural appeasement.

The nations are dismayed and men's hearts fail them for fear.

Where is God, and what on earth is he doing? Are there no answers for the nations? Does not God have a plan?

In the face of the economic and societal upheaval of the last one hundred years the Spirit of God cries out that he is the omnipotent One, the creator of the heavens and the earth, and the sustainer of all that is. The 20th century outpouring of the Holy Spirit is testimony to the fact that God is powerfully at work in the earth. On the one hand we have seen an increase of the kingdom in powerful outpourings and revivals, but on the other an increase of world wars, economic dislocation, societal turmoil, and natural disasters.

More going on than meets the eye

Even so, how do we understand these contradictions? Are we being flushed down the toilet as some defeatist end-time theories would have us believe? Or is something more going on than meets the eye?

Paul, facing off with the wisdom of man, declares that,

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" 1 Cor 2:9

Human wisdom, fed by the five senses and natural reasoning, cannot see the things that God has destined for the heirs of salvation. But fortunately they are revealed to us by the Spirit (see v10). And so, something more than meets the eye is occurring.

Without a revelation of God and his kingdom our hearts will fear when he shakes the nations. This is why Paul prayed that the Ephesians, surrounded by an occult and pagan world, would receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Through seeing the ascended Christ by the Spirit, and apprehending his fullness, as his body, they would rule over principalities and powers.i He had declared to them "the whole plan of God",ii causing the entire region of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) to hear the word in a two-year period.iii Whatever this whole plan was, clearly the modern church has lost it. Instead we have been fed a 'part', a truncated gospel, focusing either on personal salvation and holiness, or the baptism and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The whole plan of God

Prophetically speaking, the church has celebrated the feasts of Passover and Pentecost. In some measure, justification by faith and holiness (Passover) were restored as truths during the 16th to 19th centuries and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) in the 20th century, but the spiritual realities of the Feast of Tabernacles are yet to be celebrated. With her decline and Constantinian fall the church lost her grasp on the whole plan of God. However, this is now being progressively restored, as the wisdom writer so aptly declared, "The path of the just is like a shining light, shining brighter and brighter until the full day" (Prov 4:18). Over the last five hundred years God has been increasingly restoring light and truth to his people, setting them free from their Babylonian captivity.

And so, what is the whole plan of God? The feasts of Passover and Pentecost, we understand and experience in some measure, but what is the significance of the feast of Tabernacles? Much can be unpacked from the typology of the feasts.iv Nevertheless, we will resist this temptation and focus on only several salient points. Passover was initially celebrated in Egypt on the eve of Israel's deliverance, Pentecost in the wilderness at Sinai, but Tabernacles was first celebrated in the Land as a celebration of realized destiny and a remembrance of the wilderness journey. As the feast of the Promised Land, celebrating Israel's final realization of the covenant promises, Tabernacles foreshadows the church finally entering the fullness of the kingdom on earth, despite her lengthy wilderness wanderings. Like Israel, the church has delayed its entrance into the fullness of the Land despite its celebration of Passover and Pentecost.

Even though she has enjoyed the recovery of both feasts over the last several centuries, she still languishes in the wilderness through unbelief. She too has come to her Kadesh-Barnea.v With her nose up against the store window, looking into a land of milk and honey, of God's kingdom coming to earth in miraculous power, she has pulled back in unbelief. Rather than occupying the land as a holy nation of king-priests and filling the whole earth with his glory she has been seduced by "doctrines of devils", gullibly believing every defeatist and escapist end-time teaching, conveniently relieving her of the kingdom mandate to disciple On seeing the giants of the land, the principalities and powers that rule cities and nations, she has found solace in escapist 'rapture' theories that wisp the church out of the world, rather than occupying until he comes.vii

The gospel of the kingdom of God

We have lost the gospel of the kingdom of God.viii The gospel of personal salvation we understand, the message of the Holy Spirit's ministry, we value; but the message of the kingdom, as proclaimed by Christ and his apostles is all but forgotten. This was the 'whole plan of God' that Paul proclaimed to the Ephesians:

8And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.

9But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.

10And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. Acts 19:8-10

So, what is the gospel of the kingdom of God? It is the good news of a new creation - a new order of God's government - one of righteousness and justice, bringing peace to all peoples and nations.ix For many, it is a shock that this has already begun in the person of God's Son. Through becoming man, living his sinless life, learning obedience through suffering, and finally through his death, resurrection and ascension to the Father, the kingdom has come definitively to this planet. With God becoming man, a permanent shift of cosmic proportions has occurred.x Restored to the image of God, man has been reinstated to the rulership of the universexi, and the new creation has begun.xii

Consequently, we do not look to the second coming (nor to a future kingdom age), to achieve what God has already accomplished in the first coming. The kingdom of God came definitively in Christ when he rose from the grave as the firstfruits of all those who believe.xiii Ascending, as the son of man,xiv to the right hand of the Father he now rules the universe. From this position, he pours forth the promised Holy Spirit, imparting his perfected humanityxv and sonshipxvi to his body, and progressively extending his rule through itxvii until all his enemies are subdued under his feet.xviii Christ is, therefore, in heaven seated at the right hand of the Father until every enemy is defeated.xix He will not return until this occurs. Every pretender to the throne, every idol, and false ideology - every rebellious human system will fall before Jesus returns. God is shaking the heavens and the earth until only the unshakeable remains - the everlasting kingdom of God.xx And when he does return only one enemy will remain - the last enemy, death. And this will be conquered through the final resurrection.xxi The gospel of the kingdom of God is the good news that the universe is now being renovated - that the creator-redeemer God has invaded time and history, exorcising every demonic force, infusing the world with his glorious presence.

End-time scenarios

Therefore, any end-time scenario, which robs the body of Christ of its mandate to exemplify and extend Christ's victory in the world must, at least, be seriously questioned, if not viewed as a diabolical lie. Likewise, any view that relegates the gospel to personal faith only, castrating its power to transform creation must be rejected. Every sphere of human endeavour and creativity, including nature itself, is transfigured by Christ becoming man. Christ will be satisfied with the reward of his suffering,xxii returning not only for a bride without blemish (xxiii) but also a planet leavened and liberated by the kingdom.(xxiv)The kingdom has come definitively through God in Christ, is coming progressively through the obedience of faith, and will come consumatively at the second coming.

Our Christology, (xxv) therefore, must inform our eschatology.(xxvi) Our revelation of Christ, as the incarnate Son of God (i.e. God in a human body in this world), and as the Son of Man (i.e. Man perfected in this world) determines our understanding of end-things. As the God-Man, he is the full stop, the climax of history, and the fullness of the Father in a time-space world.xxvii This is the promised kingdom age. The old heavens and earth, the old covenant age has passed and the new has come - the new Jerusalem has arrived in the person of the Son.xxviii This will 'fuss' with many eschatological sacred cows - with escapist rapture theories, millennial schemes, and not to mention the role of Israel, the church, and the kingdom. Any deferment of the kingdom to another age, or abrogation of it to an old covenant ethnic identity is dismantled.xxix Christ and his body, the new Israel, in which there is neither Jew nor Greek,xxx is the climax of history - the fulfilment of the Edenic promise that the seed of the woman would crush the serpent's head,xxxi and thus also, of all the covenants and promises through the fathers.xxxii

Father's purpose

God's government in his Son was conceived in the heart of the Father before time began.xxxiii This has implications in how we approach God and our mission in the world.xxiv If God's purpose begins in the Fall of man, man and his dysfunction is the centre point. The purpose of the gospel is then man's rescue and recovery, resulting in an image of God as saviour and healer, in modern parlance, a therapist. This is surely the case in the contemporary western church. Our half-baked theology has hopped into bed with the west's cult of psychology and produced a monster - a church system geared to the therapy of self. With God portrayed as a 'Dr Feelgood' the shelves of Christian bookstores groan with titles promoting a life of maximised living - of emotional, relational, financial and sexual health. However, if God's purpose begins in himself, the centre and circumference is found in him, in relationship rather than recovery. Paradoxically, when he is in the centre recovery occurs, for God is revealed as the 'Father of compassion and God of all comfort' (2 Cor 1:3-4). As a Father his purpose is discovered in the desire for mature sons.xxxv While, in compassion, he provides for our every need during our infancy, he is focussed on bringing us to maturity, so as to share in the family business.xxxvi

Recovery from the dysfunction of sin is necessary in this maturation process. He will not leave his sons in an eternal state of infancy.xxxvii And yet, this is where we want to remain, cooing and burbling in the playpen of personal salvation with our charismatic toys, but refusing the Father's call toward spiritual adulthood. This then is the gospel of the kingdom of God - a call to mature sonship, so as to share with the Father in the governance of the universe. This is why it is 'the Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom' (Lk 12:32). God the Father has purposed to rule the universe through mature sons.

Father's DNA

Jesus is, therefore, the firstborn among many brothers.xxxviii The Father and God of us all has purposed to bring all his sons to glory, not just the firstborn. We all have the Father's DNA.xxxix As Peter declares, we 'have been made participators in the divine nature' (2 Pet 1:4). With the Father's supernatural genes planted within us, family likeness is inevitable.xl As some have said about my own kids, "The apple sure doesn't fall far from the tree!" In fact, the power of genetic continuity is downright scary. More often than I care to admit, I hear an eerie echo of my parents or even grandparents in my words or behaviour.

And so, in this climax of history, God the Father will have a corporate Son in whom he delights. Having reached the full stature of Christ, as a fellow-heir with him, it will inherit the Father''s business. Having received the keys of the kingdom, a redeemed humanity will exercise dominion over the earth.

Therefore, there is no room for fear - the Father will give us the kingdom.

iEph 1:17-23

iiActs 20:27

iiiActs 19:10

ivAn OT type is a prophetic symbol foreshadowing a spiritual reality fulfilled in Christ and his church. OT Israel and her various institutions, as types (priesthood, sacrifice, tabernacle, temple, & feasts), all have their fulfilment in the spiritual realities of the new covenant (see 1 Cor 10:6, 11; Heb 8:2; 9:23, 24). All Israel were to gather in Jerusalem, three times a year, to celebrate the feasts of Passover (including Unleavened Bread), Pentecost (or Weeks), and Tabernacles. See Lev 23 for an outline of the Feasts. It is a common failure to so miss the symbolic and therefore spiritual significance of the feasts that keeping the natural and literal is mistakenly pursued. The principle is "first the natural, then the spiritual".

vKadesh-Barnea was where Israel refused to go into the Promised Land because of unbelief (Num 32:8ff; Deu 1:19-38; Jsh 14:6-12).
viGen 1:26; Mat 28:18-20
viiLuk 19:13
viiiMat 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Lk 9:2, 60; 16:16; Acts 1:3; 8:12; 19:8; 20:25; 28:23, 31
ixIsa 2:1-4; 9:1-7; Lk 2:11-14; 4:17-19; Rom 14:17; Rev 11:15; Psa 110; Psa 2
xRom 5:12-20; 8:18-22
xiPsa 8:4-6; Gen 1:26; Heb 2:5-8; 1 Cor 6:2-3; 15:27; Rom 8:17-21
xii2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Isa 65:17; 66:22; Rev 21:1-5
xiii1 Cor 15:20-23; Col 1:18;
xivDan 7:13-14; Mat 12:40; 16:28; 17:9; 19:28; 25:31-33; 26:24; Rev 1:13; 14:14
xv2 Pet 1:3-4; Heb 2:10-11; 5:8-9; Rom 8:1-4; Col 1:1-5;
xviRom 8:15-16; Gal 4:6
xviiEph 3:10; 1:18-23; Mat 28:18-20; Isa 9:7; Pro 4:18; Eph 4:13
xviiiSee Psalms 2 and 110 as the two most quoted Psalms in the New Testament. They show Christ the Son ascending to the right hand of the Father and ruling until every enemy has been subdued.

For Psalm 2, see Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35; John 1:49; Acts 4:25-26; 13:33; Phil. 2:12; Heb. 1:2,5; 5:5; Rev. 2:26-27; 11:18; 12:5; 19:15, 19.

For Psalm 110, see Matt. 22:44; 26:64; Mark 12:36; 14:62; 16:19; Luke 20:42-43; 22:69; John 12:34; Acts 2:34-35; Rom. 8:34; 1 Cor. 15:25; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3, 13; 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:3, 17, 21; 8:1; 10:12-13; 12:2.

xixActs 3:21; Psa 110
xxHeb 12:25-27; Dan 2:44; 7:13-14
xxi1 Ths 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:20-26
xxiiIsa 53:11-12
xxiiiEph 5:27
xxivMat 13:33; Rom 8:18-25
xxvDoctrine of Christ and his work
xxviDoctrine of final things
xxviiHeb 1:1-3; Eph 1:10
xxviiiRev 21:1-3
xxixRom 2:28; 4:10-13; 9:6-8; Gal 6:15; Rev 2:9; Jn 1:47; 8:37-39
xxxRom 10:12; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11; Eph 2:11-22
xxxiGen 3:15
xxxiiEph 2:12; 3:6; Rom 11:17; 15:8-12; Gal 3:16; Heb 1:1-3
xxxiiiEph 1:4-12 ; 3:8-11; Rom 8:29; 1 Pet 1:19-20; Jn 3:35; 16:28; 17:5; 1 Cor 8:6; Heb 1:1-14
xxxivSee chapter 3, 'Snakes in the Temple: Unmasking Idolatry in Today's Church' by David Orton (Sovereign World: Tonbridge Wells, 2003)
xxxvHeb 1:1-14; 2:10; 2 Cor 6:18; 2 Sam 7:14. Please note that the reference to "sons" in scripture is gender neutral, it includes both sexes.
xxxviLk 2:49; Gal 4:1-7
xxxviiHeb 12:5-12; 2:10; Eph 4:13-14
xxxviiiRom 8:29; Col 1:15, 18; Heb 1:6; 2:10-12; Rev 1:5
xxxixJn 1:12-13; 1 Pet 1:3, 23; 1 Jn 3:9; 5:4, 18
xl2 Pet 1:3-9; Rom 8:29

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Copyright David Orton 2010
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

THE 15 "IFs"

THE 15 "IFs"

-author unknown.

If you never felt pain, Then how would you know that I am a Healer?

If you never had to pray, How would you know that I am a Deliverer?

If you never had a trial, How could you call yourself an overcomer?

If you never felt sadness, How would you know that I am a Comforter?

If you never made a mistake, How would you know that I am a forgiver?

If you knew all, How would you know that I will answer your questions?

If you never were in trouble, How would you know that I will come to
your rescue?

If you never were broken, Then how would you know that I can make you

If you never had a problem,How would you know that I can solve them?

If you never had any suffering, Then how would you know what I went

If you never went through the fire, Then how would you become pure?

If I gave you all things, How would you appreciate them?

If I never corrected you, How would you know that I love you?

If you had all power, Then how would you learn to depend on me?

If your life was perfect, Then what would you need me for?

-Love, Jesus.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Easter Communion Meditation

An Easter Communion Meditation
By Burt L. Burleson

A thud is a final sounding sound,” isn’t it. That heavy sound the earth makes when something too heavy for topsoil comes down hard? You know the sound… don’t you? It’s what you’d hear if you were out on a spring day building a new flowerbed with heavy, solid, old railroad ties… If you and some army lifted one up on its end and then pushed it over… you’d hear it. “Thud” the sound of weight meeting dirt and dirt
saying “ouch.”

It’s that noise you hear in Jurassic Park when T Rex takes a step… It’s the sound a huge pecan limb makes when it’s cut and falls from 15 feet up. It’s more than a “thud.”
It’s the sound you hear when Roman soldiers count to three in Latin, heave and strain, and, with some leverage, roll a big stone over a tomb’s entrance. It’s as final a sound that ever meets an ear. If you were standing there to hear, you’d say, “Oh… well that’s that.”

On that original Good Friday that’s the way the day ended for Mary and a few
others. They were standing at some distance but that “thud” made it’s way to their ears
and they heard it and they felt the weight of it in their hearts and they said, “That’s it…
that’s the end.” “Thud” … it’s the word we use when weight meets the earth and the earth gives
way some. You know the sound… it’s fallen on your ears and it’s fallen in your life.
Something gives way. It falls. It’s final. There is no moving this thing that comes to rest so solidly in your life and you know it. At least once you’re honest you know it.

A loss falls into your life, some unwanted change lands.
She says “I’m leaving” … “thud.”
The doctor says “it’s cancer” … “thud.”
The boss says, “it’s not working out” … “thud.”
Doubt lands with force on your faith.
Questions fall upon once firmly held answers… “thud.”
You realize some limit. You’ve tried hard but you can’t fix what this is… not strong enough… smart enough… talented enough… way too human for what has landed in your life… “thud.”

Something beyond you has been rolled across your dreams. A huge stone blocks
you from what was life for you and to you. And you say, “Well, that’s that.” Whatever
it is that makes that kind of “thud” in your life is beyond removing. Like woman making
their way to a tomb to grieve you’re thinking, “There’s no moving this.”

In Mark’s gospel, the women who woke that first Easter and went to anoint Jesus’ body, asked what we all ask at some point, “Who will roll this stone away?” You have to get there… we all do… to that place where we are honest with ourselves and we finally say, “I can’t… is there anyone who can?” “Thud” is the sound made at sundown on Friday. At sunrise, come Sunday, there is another sound. It’s a raucous, rolling noise, a quaking Matthew wrote. Easter’s sound is so far beyond heavy rock falling upon garden soil… that’s nothing. Easter’s sound is the sound the universe makes when two things are occupying the same space and something has to give. And something did. The world made an adjustment. Two things were in opposition and the universe wasn’t big enough for the both of them. Sin and righteousness… brokenness and wholeness. There was a strain beneath the surface. Despair against meaning. Hate and love rubbing each other the wrong way. And humanity was due a grand correction.

The question lingered in the morning air as it has lingered through history and
through your life. “Who will roll this away?” And God said, “I will.” And down in the center of all reality… where all things begin and end… In that realm of Alpha and Omega where all things hold together and dissonance resolves… that’s where this quake begin.

A prayer for help, “How can this be moved?” reach God’s heart… those prayers always do. And there was a divine response… an adjustment from that world. It happened in that vertical reality, which is the real reality show… all this is shadow land in comparison. That real, that vertical… shook and the ground heaved… and the stone rolled back and the garden path, it contagioned… and the trees, they danced… and the woman walking to the tomb bounced. A hole was ripped in this horizontal realm and an angel slipped through… plopped down on top of that so called immoveable stone and dusting off glowing hands, chuckled at the absurdity of Life in a tomb.

And then this messenger gave them the good news. “He isn’t here. He is risen.” And there was an invitation, “Come and see.” And a commission, “Go tell…” and they left, Matthew says, “afraid yet filled with joy.”

And I say to you this Easter morning… what a perfect response. What a perfect way to live. Having seen the power of God and discovered the depth of life… to make a new journey … filled with a sense of awe and joy. This holy fear the women were filled with… it’s what a body does and what a
soul does when it finally sees the immensity of things. If the world is seen to be amazing and sacred… If the Source of all Being slips through and moves the stone in your lifetrembling is right on.

What else can you feel when you finally see how small your world is in the grand scheme of things and how beautiful Life is. What else is a body to feel. It’s an awe that leaves you speechless. Or at best mouthing the words, “O… my… God.”

That’s they way they leave the tomb… filled with awe… AND… filled with joy. What else is a sould to feel when it sees how big and beautiful the world is. Awe and joy… that’s God for you… A feeling that leaves you silent but wanting to dance all at the same time. It’s not cowering but flying that God is after… It’s all that Easter can lead to.

There is good news for you today. Just like there was for those ladies that wonderful morning. You… you are not to be defined by the stones in your life that go “thud.” That is never the last sound your ears will hear. Your life is not determined by what seems so firmly fixed. There is a greater reality…

There is One who hears your prayers about the immoveable. Easter is the final result and revelation… in this world and in your life. God moved the stone. Let this good news send you on a new journey… one filled with reverent joy. That’s your destiny… it’s our identity as God’s people. Take that in today… to the deepest part of who you are. Internalize this good news made known in Christ and remembered… put back together… re-membered in this meal we share.

It is the Eucharist… which is a word that is all about reverent joy. We give thanks by partaking in this meal. We express our faith by partaking in this meal. We take in the good news… deep into our heart… by partaking in this mea. We remember. We believe.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection. He who believes in me will never die.” There is finally no thud that can separate you from the love of God in Christ. Jesus said, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

This is the body of Christ, broken that you might be whole. This is the cup of our salvation… poured out that the world might live. Take all of it and be filled.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Overwhelmed - by Circumstances

Overwhelmed - by Circumstances
By Victoria Boyson

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing—James 1:2-4 NLT

The story of Cinderella is a poignant one, because many of the key elements in the story can be found in the lives of people God has raised up for His glory and purpose.

Note to all men reading this: Now, before all you gentlemen quit reading because I've mentioned Cinderella, please stick with me and I'll show you a Cinderella-type man in Scripture.

Cinderella was a girl whose mother had died when she was young, but was dearly loved by her wealthy father; she lived well and was favored and loved by him. Truly, her life was blessed and she had everything she needed, but her father didn't think so. He married again to give her a mother and family. But shortly after he remarried, he died.

Her father, I'm sure, had no way of knowing how he would devastate his daughter's life by the decision he made to take a new wife. Suddenly, at her father's death, her life was tragically altered. She not only lost her father, her home and her position in her family, she was also stripped of her own personal identity.

She, herself, had not changed. But, through the actions of her step family, she, who'd once been a loved and favored daughter, now became a servant. She was no longer loved and honored, but rejected and abused—a continual outcast in her own home.

It's one thing to be robbed and cast out, but to have to stay and serve those who robbed you is quite another. To sit and have to watch them enjoying or even mistreating things you once cherished would be extremely difficult. And the longing to feel a part of the family, yet never having that longing fulfilled is like experiencing a continual wounding with no time to heal. It would force you to try anything to get them to love you. Yet, the more you would try, the more they would despise you.

According to some versions of this classic tale, Cinderella attempted to go to a royal ball at the palace with her step-mom and sisters in an old dress of her mother's. Her sisters, being spurred on by their mother, tore her dress to pieces, leaving her in rags. They literally and emotionally stripped her of all she knew and was in life; they left her nothing. She was stunned, emotionally numb, alone and devastated by their actions.

But here's where her story takes a surprising turn. At the moment she'd reached her lowest point, she met her fairy godmother, who begins at once to transform Cinderella's world. The fairy godmother came to her in her moment of despair and showed her love, which is what Cinderella needed the most.

"Cinderella Man"

If you remember the story of Joseph in Genesis 37 and Genesis 39-45, he was a most beloved and favored son of his father, Jacob. His mother died giving birth to his younger brother, but he still had the love of his father, and oh how Jacob loved him. He gave Joseph many privileges and gifts his brothers did not get. Most importantly, he gave Joseph his love (Genesis 37:3). This created heated jealousy in his brothers toward him; they hated him for it, so much so they planned to murder him (Genesis 37:20). Through a twist of fate, instead of murdering him, they sold him as a slave—perhaps a fate worse than death (Genesis 37:21-28).

Joseph spent 13 years as a slave—as someone's property and a prisoner. He was accused of being a degenerate going after his master's wife, when in reality, the opposite was true (Genesis 39:6-20). His life had been stripped from him physically and emotionally. No longer a most beloved, favored son—now owned and wrongfully imprisoned.

If anyone had the right to become angry and bitter, it was Joseph. The Lord had shown him amazing visions and dreams of all he would do in his future (Genesis 37:5-11), yet his life went in the complete opposite direction for years. It could have seemed to him that God had tricked him or lied to him, but Joseph clung to his faith in God (Genesis 39:2-5 and Genesis 39:21-23).

All that was taken from him and done to him turned out to be the preparation for the fulfillment of his dreams. As he said to his brothers, "Don't be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives" (Genesis 45:5). He continued, "So it was God who sent me here, not you!" (Genesis 45:8).

Reflecting over the years Joseph had spent in Egypt, instead of blaming his brothers for all he'd endured, he saw their hateful actions as tools in the Lord's hands to prepare him to rescue millions (Genesis 45:6-7). Joseph's life changed dramatically, went from being the favored son of his father to a lowly slave and prisoner, and then suddenly became second in power over the world he lived in (Genesis 45:8).

Cinderella's transformation was as swift and as telling. From beloved daughter - to - slave - to princess who ruled alongside her husband. They were both stripped of all they knew and held dear, but we see in the end that the ill treatment they endured prepared and equipped them for their great destiny.

Why did God allow Joseph to go through such severe testing you may ask? Well, in Scripture we find examples of those raised to greatness without the preparation, only to fall and lose sight of what really mattered.

King Solomon, son of King David, was the richest, wisest man in history (1 Kings 3:11-14). He inherited his father's kingdom, which was great indeed, and God blessed him with even more (1 Kings 3:11-14). However, he did not have the preparation for the throne that his father had. David went from shepherd (1 Samuel 16:11) - to warrior (1 Samuel 18:5-7) - son-in-law to the king (1 Samuel 18:17-27) - escaped fugitive, running for his life (1 Samuel 19-24) - living in caves (1 Samuel 22:1-2) - pretending to be a madman (1 Samuel 21:13) - having his wives taken from him (1 Samuel 30:1-5) - being despised and rejected (1 Samuel 4-8) and then suddenly to be made king of all Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5).

We see however, in King Solomon's life, that because he didn't have to endure what his father did, he fell away from God later in his life (1 Kings 11:4-6). "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36 NAS). What benefit were Solomon's vast wisdom, riches and fame if it cost him his relationship with God?

Clinging to God's Love

Many of you have been going through a similar stripping process. You are confused and hurt, you may even feel at times abandoned by God. What often hurts the most is the continual betrayal by those who should love you, but don't. It hurts to see the hardness of other's toward you as though you don't matter. At times, you've felt psychologically numb due to the actions of others.

Yet, though you've been stripped, robbed or betrayed you still cling to God, because going through your own personal anguish without Him is even more unthinkable. In the midst of your desperation, you find you still have the one thing that truly matters—you still have God. And, He then, becomes your everything and you feel like the wealthiest person in the world.

Indeed, through all your trials, you are being prepared for your destiny, and it will be great. One day you will look back on this time, like Joseph, and see that God has used it all to prepare you for your future. Knowing your destiny was great, He wanted you to be prepared, so you would not fall when the real test comes: the test of success.

And so He wouldn't lose you in the midst of all the blessings He longs to give you, He needed to make sure your foundation was solidly grounded in Him, that your faith was thoroughly tried.

If you find yourself in similar circumstances, then know: you are truly loved by your heavenly Father, resting in the palm of His hand. Your life belongs to Him and He will see that you are ready for the untold blessings He's kept in readiness for you, anticipating your destiny. You are His beloved and favored child - you belong to Him - His special creation.

Maybe you can see images of your own life in the story of Cinderella, or perhaps Joseph's story is far too familiar to your own. To whatever degree you can relate to him, remember his story changed as he clung to God. Our story, too, takes on a new and rich purpose when we meet with God. He makes all things new, even the painful events of our past. He makes beauty from the ashes of our lives (Isaiah 61:3). So, wherever you are, surrender your ashes to Him and watch Him make something beautiful of your life.

Please pray this with me: Dear Father, I need You. You are all I have, You are everything to me. Comfort me and make something beautiful from my life. I surrender all that I am into Your hands and I ask that You fill me with all of You. Whatever You have for me, I receive with open arms because I know it's from You and I trust You with my life.

Angry, Angry, Angry

Angry, Angry, Angry
By Francis Frangipane

It's hard to remember a time when people were more angry. A civilized person ought to be, first of all, civil. Yet, today there is no discourse, no respect for another's opinion, no reasoning together for the common good. I am concerned, especially for the church.

One may argue, "Our society is decaying. We should be mad." Yes, but we can be angry yet still not sin (see Eph 4:26). Of course, I feel anger that the underpinnings of our culture are being dismantled by unprincipled men. Our souls should be vexed at the darkening cloud of demonic infestation in our culture, especially when children are caused to stumble or the weak are exploited. If we don't take a stand, the advance of evil ultimately means more people will die without Christ. So, if we are angry, it does not necessarily mean we have sinned. It can simply mean we care.

I am not surprised by the increased anger. My concern is that, unless this anger regenerates into something more redemptive, more Christlike, we will not see our world renewed. Indeed, anger that does not awaken in us redemptive action ultimately degrades into bitterness and unbelief.

A Two-Pronged Attack
While hell advances into our world on many levels, I want to discuss two primary areas. The first manifestation is brazen, widespread and alarming. For example, a corrupt law gets passed or gang violence breaks out; or it might be that a beloved public figure is scandalized. It's on the news and people are talking about it. The shock waves caused by this demonic intrusion smash against our hearts: we're disappointed, offended, stunned and, often, outraged. In this state of mind, hell launches the second area of attack. There is no newscast featuring this next stage of warfare. On this front, the devil does not come openly flaunting himself, but quietly. In seething whispers he stirs the pot of our discontent until it boils. Ultimately, where once the heart of the Christian was full of faith and love, now bitterness, hatred and malice churn in the souls of God's people.

So while we must fight the culture wars of our times, we must preserve our capacity to love if we will actually win our war. We must remember we are not fighting against "flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Eph. 6:12 KJV).

Sadly, I have heard many people say recently that they've lost their vision for America. What they actually lost was not their vision, but their love. For love believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7).

The Goal Of God
I will tell you how I look at this. I believe that if the Almighty's highest plan was to end evil on Earth, He could do so in a flash. Why does He wait? He desires to bring believers to Christlike maturity. In a moment evil would be gone, as it was with Sodom and Gomorrah. But we must never forget: Jesus did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.

What God waits for is us. Our Christlike perfection is the harvest upon which the Father waits. He desires to bring many sons to glory, and this world, with all its evil, is the perfect setting to bring us to Christlike maturity. Here, we have real enemies that God can use to perfect our love; in this environment, we have actual foes whose persecution helps to perfect our prayer.

Yes, we should be angry about what's wrong, but we must be Christlike in making things right. We cannot just be political; we must be spiritual, like people from another realm.

Rightly there are times when we must defend the helpless among us, but concerning ourselves, let us consider again what Jesus commanded:

"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:39-45).

You see, God desires mature sons and daughters who, while fighting for their world, open the door of love into His world. To see our nation transformed, we ourselves must be transformed. Otherwise, we will risk becoming Christian hypocrites: angry that the world is not Christian but untroubled that we are not Christlike.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A New Day Dawns

A New Day Dawns
By Junior deSouza

A New Day Dawns - Biblical Basis

In Scripture, the dawning of a new era in God's plan is illustrated by the rising of a sun. Such "dawns" or "mornings" can pertain to a single person (Ps 57:8, 108:2, Isa 38:13), God's people (Mt 4:15,16), or even the entire world (Isa 26:19). However, the metaphor is consistent: a glorious sunrise terminating a long, dark night. Here's a few examples.

The incarnation of the Messiah dawned a much-awaited new day. Matthew, quoting Isaiah the prophet, said of Jesus' arrival (Mt 4:15,16, underline added): "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles--the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." Zechariah, in his prophetic celebration of John the Baptist, spoke similarly (Lk 1:78,79, underline added): ...the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Jesus, the Morning Star, was dawning the New Testament era. Notice the providential metaphor...He resurrected at dawn (Lk 24:1-3), and birthed the church in the morning (Ac 2:15).

Isaiah and Hosea prophesied a new day would dawn for Israel, a day when the Lord would relent from His judgments against her and restore her completely. Isaiah 30:19-26 is the entire passage with several promises, but notice the illustration used in verse 26 (underline added): The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted. Hosea foretells likewise. The entire passage is Hosea 6:1-3, but once again, notice the illustration used in verse 3 (underline added): Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.

The dawning of new days can also be personal. David said weeping would last throughout the night season, during the momentary anger of the Lord. However, joy would come "in the morning"--when a new season dawned--and that favor would last a lifetime (Ps 30:5).

Hezekiah, in the midst of his agonizing illness, said (Isa 38:13, underline added): I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me. After eating some boiled figs, he recovered miraculously and his new day dawned (v21).

Song of Songs refers to Solomon's bride as a "sunrise". Song of Songs 6:10: Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession? The friends could see that her presence in his life was a brilliant sunrise to him. She dawned a new day for Solomon.

The Lord God is a sun, dawning new days of shielding, favor, honor, and good things for those who walk blamelessly with Him (Ps 84:11). He is the Morning Star (Rev 22:16), and that very nature demands that He manifest as a sunrise somewhere. Will you be that somewhere?

A New Day Dawns - Prophetic Rhetoric?

I present this message to you today in childlike sincerity and divine seriousness. I say this, because, numerous prophecies are presently circulating about a coming "new day" or "new era", in this arena or that. Some of these words are 100% authentic, while some are hand-me-downs reissued in the spirit of prophetic rhetoric. The phrase new day has a high voltage, charged with sensation and hope, capable of being exploited simply as a mesmerizing catch-phrase.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, from the depths of my heart, I assure you this message is not prophetic rhetoric, spiritual sensationalism, Charismatic mesmerism, or trending/fadding. This is not a bandwagon prophecy. I have enjoyed several enlightening experiences the past few weeks that verified the Lord is truly revealing the dawning of a new day. A giddy excitement has filled my heart as this hope trickles down into my core!

As with all prophetic messages, I urge you to prove this word in your own secret place with the Master. I urge you to prayerfully wait on Him and the various confirmations He will provide in the coming weeks and months. And as He does, rejoice! I am so happy for what the Lord has scheduled! Many of His weary warriors and faithful fighters have waited long years for this good news.

In writing this, the Spirit urged me on joyfully from Isaiah 40:1,2: Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.

For those of us who thought/think our warfare would never give way to a new era, the Lord cries from Isaiah 66:9, "Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God.

A New Day is Dawning

I do not speak for literally every Christian, but I do speak for MANY. Around May/June of this year (beginning of summer), and also September/October (beginning of fall), many Christians, churches, ministries, and other kingdom segments will enter a significant new day, a new era. The Lord has scheduled other dawnings, but this word is graced only to address these two in particular. Some will dawn in May/June, some in September/October, some at both.

This new day is not simply "a new season". This will be a new mega-season, one that will mark the end of a very long and distinctly undesirable period in an area(s), and begin an even longer one marked by the fullness of rewards and inheritance in that same area(s). This is that glorious new day many have labored for, battled for, waited for, and only dreamed about from the prison cell.

Generally speaking, this day will be marked by the following (obviously, some will experience certain ones more than the others):

An Era of Peace from War - The Ending of Heavy Warfare

The day is coming when many will no longer look over their shoulder for fear of the enemy's flood. The bullride will be over. It will be a day of peace from war, a day of rest on every side, a day when mega-seasons of brutal warfare have resulted in victory and subjugation of the enemy. David entered this era personally (see Psalm 18, the caption).

In that day many will quote the following scriptures (Ps 9:6 NKJV, 18:37,38, 46:9): O enemy, destructions are finished forever!...I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet...He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. Their prayer from Psalm 7:9 will finally be answered: Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just.

An Era of Successful Building - A Time to Build

The circumstancial peace will allow for settling down and the development of God-inspired projects. The enemy's resistance will be minimal and quickly manageable. It will be a time to focus energies not on warfare, but on building. Important progress will be made and God-dreams will become reality.

In that day many will have the experience of King Asa and Judah (2Chr 14:5-7): He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the LORD gave him rest. "Let us build up these towns," he said to Judah, "and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side." So they built and prospered.

An Era of Long-awaited Second Chances - The Redemption of Major Mistakes

Waiting for a second chance to redeem colossal mistakes can be torturous. The humiliation and reproach weigh heavy on our souls, imposing a necessary sanctification on our pride, motives, and goals. For those who cooperated with the humbling, a new day of long-awaited second-chances will arrive.

In that day many will sing from Joel 2:19,26,27: The LORD will reply to them: "I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations...You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.

An Era of Unusual Confidence - Fearless and Sure, Finally

Insecurity and hesitation are pandemic in God's people. Heaven and earth are overwhelmed by the opportunities missed, relationships passed up, expressions suppressed, destinies delayed. This new era will be one of great inner strength and confidence, where insecurities and hesitations no longer restrain the faithful from the risks and adventures of the Christ-life. The faithful will assert and initiate in ways that terrified them before. Fear of rejection will be replaced with fear of missing the blessing.

In that day these once-fearful ones will praise from Psalm 65:5 (NKJV): O God of our salvation, you who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth.

An Era of Surprising New Work - Unexpected Vocational Reordering

Work will be reordered in a major way. Many will be surprised, even shocked (pleasantly), at the unexpected new tasks and projects the Lord appoints them to. Major portions of many destinies have been kept carefully concealed until this time. This has been for both lofty and practical reasons. The dawning of this new day will dawn abrupt and unforeseen work assignments that will reorder many Christians' vocational lives completely.

In that day many will testify with the words of Amos (Am 7:14,15): "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'

An Era of New Demarcation Lines in Conscience - Expansion of Personal Liberties

The Lord will be greatly expanding the personal liberties of many in this new day. The demarcation lines of their conscience will widen into a broad place (1Co 8:7-12, 10:25-29, Ro 14). Many who were under divine "restriction" and testing will be released from seasonal prohibitions. Many who were legalistic in certain areas will be illumined to the overstrictness of their convictions. A widespread relaxation from divine permission is dawning.

In that day many will say (Ps 16:6,11, 84:11, Ro 14:17): The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places...with eternal pleasures at your right good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless...For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

An Era of New Authority Spheres - New Leadership for the Next Mega-season

We are on the brink of a new mega-season in God's plan, corporately and individually. Corporately, God is establishing new spheres of authority that will remain untouched and unchanged for many years to come. This is why we have seen the deaths and public exposures of many previously-established leaders. (If this is happening on a global scale with the highest leaders, imagine how much more at the regional and local level!) "Musical Chairs" is being played, authority seats are being rearranged and reset, and God is establishing His leaders in crucial new seats for the new era.

In that day the words of Job 12:19 will be well understood: He leads priests away stripped and overthrows men long established.

An Era of First-century Churches - Rebuilding the Ancient Ruin

The chastisement of both the lukewarm and religious church is fast approaching. Conversely, the rebuilding of authentic, first-century, New Testament churches is already underway. However, this new era will see church growth explosions in the spirit of Acts, as the kingdom and the church finally reunite in that magnificent first-century precedent.

In that day the brethren will run with the inspiration of Isaiah 58:12: Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.

--Song of Songs 4:6

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recognizing Abuse

Recognizing Abuse
Alice Smith

It’s difficult to believe that anyone will live their entire life and not suffer mistreatment at some point. We are not alone when it comes to struggles. But what we do with our hurts affects our ultimate physical and spiritual health.

Everyone hits bumps in the road of life from time to time, but a person with a victim mentality will hit them on a regular basis. They may chalk it up to "bad luck" but there is often more to it than that. Because of the repetitive cycles of abuse the victim begins to assume abuse is normal, and will in time even attempt to justify and protect the abusers.

Perhaps the saddest victims are the innocent infants, toddlers, and young children? In the year 2004, for instance, 879,000 children in the U.S. were victims of child mistreatment. The mistreatment was the result of --

· Neglect ~ 63%

· Physical ~ 19%

· Sexual ~ 10%
· Psychological ~ 8%

Victimization rates decline as a child's age increases. Except for victims of sexual abuse, rates were similar for male and female victimization. The rate of sexual abuse of girls was almost four times that of boys, however boys (and men) often decline to tell others of their abuse. Source: US Dept of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect, 2000.

Did you know that between 30 and 40 percent of all reported incest cases involve an alcoholic parent? Source: CASA Survey of Child Welfare Professionals 1997-1998 Almost daily we see on television or read in the newspaper about children who’ve suffered the vilest mistreatment. The abuser is typically someone who had been charged with caring for the child. Others are exploited as teenagers and young adults. Did you know that in the United States, a rape is reported about once every five minutes. FBI Uniform Crime Report

Still rape is called "the most underreported violent crime in America." In a large national survey of American women, only 16% of the rapes (approximately one out of every six) had ever been reported to the police. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, National Victim Center, 1992

In a study conducted by the Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers interviewed 8,000 women and 8,000 men and found that 1 in 6 women had experienced an attempted rape or a completed rape.

At the time they were raped:

· 22% were under the age of twelve

· 54% were under the age of eighteen
· 83% were under the age of twenty-five
Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Department of Justice, 2006

In the Rape in America study, 60% of the women who reported being raped were under 18 years old:29.3% were less than 11 years old; 32.3% were between 11 and 17; 22.2% were between 18 and 24; 7.1% were between 25 and 29; 6.1% were older than 29; 3.0% age was not available. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation, National Victim Center, 1992

Date rape is pandemic on America's college campuses. In the Rape in America study, 80% of the girls and women who were raped were victimized by someone they knew. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation National Victim Center, 2000

Sexual abuse isn't the only subject I will be talking about at the FREEDOM conference. There is also domestic violence, greed, dishonor, betrayal, abandonment, poverty, stalking and many other forms of abusive victimization. Once the door has been opened in our lives through a traumatic experience, how do we diagnose what is happening? Come and learn how a life-altering experience can impact your life of victory with Christ. Let our ministry team help you slam the door of your yesterdays, and begin to walk with a new victory in Christ today.