Abba, I belong to you

abba
Abba, I belong to You. Abba! I have allowed the fact I can address You with such intimacy and tenderness to become far too plain and pallid. It has been years since I have allowed myself to wonder and gawk at the fact You have given me a spirit of Sonship by which I can address you as “Abba Father!” (Rom. 8:15)

I have known for too long or too familiarly that “Abba” is the equivalent of our English “Daddy”. I have known that children would slowly learn the term Abba to address their father with an intimate tenderness. I have known it was and has been a scandal to the pious and righteous that you would be addressed with such intimacy.

That You who created this world out of the power of your voice, You by whose beauty and glory the Grand Canyon is dwarfed, You who hold all things together in life-sustaining precision, would ask to be addressed in such tenderly intimate terms has truly become too common and plain to me.

This is my confession and my repentance today. May I recognize and rest today in the wonder of the intimate spirit within me, who can address you so tenderly as my Abba!

Save some for Me

savetime
Last night I had a real hard time sleeping likely due to the great hunger from eating less and less these days on a diet, but I believe it was equally a spiritual hunger from less and less experience of God’s presence these days. When I could not sleep, I chose to listen to that spiritual hunger. God spoke to my listening heart last night, and it was to say, “Save room for me.”

Over and over God spoke these words to my heart last night. “Save room for me.” I laid in my bed hearing those words over and over until the word “enough” was added to the phrase. God spoke to my heart and said, “Save enough room for me.”

In a time of spiritual hunger and wilderness, God has made clear to me I need to begin setting aside and saving time for Him. Also, that time needs to be enough for Him to fit. I am not to save time for my God in the forced margins of time I concoct.

With no job, I have been surprised how little time it seems I have now. I am walking a wilderness. D.T. Olson said, “When one is forced to endure the wilderness for a time, it may be experienced either as a place of maturing and learning or as a place of disintegration and death.” At this point, I feel more pressed than I did when I was employed in full time ministry, and right now has been a difficult wilderness season for me.

I have been challenged to begin asking WHAT instead of WHY. “O my God, what are you doing in my heart and life while I am waiting?” I do not need to ask WHY God is doing anything, because most likely is a question to which I will never get the answer.

Right now, though, I am to save enough time for my God, my Abba, and my Jesus. I am to save time that is enough for Him to fill rather than cram tightly within.

The grammar of power

2 Timothy 1:7
“For God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and discipline.”

Here is a verse so many Christians love to misuse for the courage to face daunting moments in life. We are reminded in quoting this verse you ought to not be fearful because God has placed within you power. We will quote this verse and challenge one another to live in the power God has given to you instead of neglecting it by living in fear.

But there is a misuse here, and it is entirely grammatical. We are placing a period where there are commas. We read and quote this passage as though all we need to do is not be afraid, but be powerful, PERIOD! We have removed the commas and cut off the rest of the passage.

No! You are not given a spirit of fear. Yes! You have been given a spirit of power, COMMA, AND love, COMMA, AND discipline. In the moments most daunting, you are given a spirit of power, and love, and discipline. In the most difficult and “fearful” moments of life how often have you ever been challenged to draw upon love and discipline as much as power? Could the spirit of power only be found in the compound of love and discipline? In the daunting moments of life when you are tempted to fear, will you discipline yourself to love God and people; because there is power in that!

On weeping for Jesus’ Cross

In our remembrance of the Passion of Christ, what do we mourn? What brings us sadness? I wonder if it is the same thing Jesus would have us mourn and be sad over. Do we still get sad for Jesus; do we do as Christ tells the Daughters of Jerusalem in Luke 23 on his way up the hill to Golgotha?

“But Jesus turning to them said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” (vs 28)

Do we weep for Christ at Easter or our remembrance of the cross throughout the year? Or…
Do we weep for ourselves and the condition of the world? Do we weep for CHrist when we remember the cross (which he did conquer), or do we weep for the condition our own hearts are still in?

Persist

When I pray to my God, I cannot stop after one shot at it. I have to continue to come to Him, and never let up. My God will hear me, and He may be determining how dedicated I really am to seeking Him in this situation and circumstance.

Here I am in need of God’s answer and provision, and I come once or twice out of a hail mary desperation, but will i continue to come with the persistence of the widow in Luke 18? Will I pray and not lose heart? I have not often prayed in this fashion at all. I have to pray and not lose heart.

God will hear me and come to me, but I cannot lose heart in my prayer. Otherwise I reveal something very important. The amount and longevity of my prayer to God reveal just how dedicated I really am to that situation, that circumstance, or to that person.

Spotlight Myth [Video]

Below is video of me teaching about The Spotlight Myth. I kicked off a series through the Sermon on the Mount for this group.

Before and After Restoration

It is important to remind ourselves that the process of restoration is long and slow. It cannot be rushed or it will sacrifice the quality and integrity of the transformation.

When we realize that God is making all things new (Rev. 21:5), it is important to realize that is an ongoing present tense, which stretches itself over all of eternity. Our own personal and internal restoration is ongoing over a great matter of time.

But as you restore a piece of furniture over time, it is great to look at the before picture to recognize the progress thus far. While the piece is not yet finished and is still being restored, the progress is worth noting.

Our own hearts and lives are being restored one broken place at a time. The overall restoration project of our broken hearts and lives will not be rushed or it would sacrifice the quality and integrity of the transformation.

Also, though we wish for the final product to arrive within our own broken hearts and lives, we will not experience that complete change and restoration until that final day. There will be more broken places yet to be restored.

But take courage in the progress thus far.