Monthly Archives: January, 2015

Pouring Out

Prayer is often overcomplicated. There are so many books, sermons, and seminars telling people how to pray. Over the years I have heard numerous people say that they “don’t know how to pray” or that they think they are “praying wrong.” Some people are closed off when they approach God, despite the truth that God knows what is on each one of our hearts before we even approach Him. Some people stick to a form list or follow the same structure taught to them many moons ago so it is a routine. This is not what we read about when we look at Hannah’s approach.

In 1 Samuel 1, we read of Hannah praying to the Lord for a son. She was “deeply distressed.” She “wept bitterly” (v. 10). She was open. She was vulnerable. She laid it all out before the Lord. She did not follow a particular structure. She did not try to “do it right.” She wasn’t afraid of people seeing her deep in prayer. It was her and God. She truly was coming before the Lord. I can only imagine how she appeared. Eli the priest thought she was drunk.

When she responded to Eli, she said, “I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD” (v. 15). Today consider when you last poured out your soul before the Lord? Do you approach Him with what is truly on your heart or what you think you are supposed to say? Do you approach Him in a way that fits in a box, follows a list, or do you freely fall before Him and speak from your heart? Do you hold back or do you lay it all before Him? He cares what’s on your heart. He wants you to pour out your soul. No holding back. Give it all to Him.

“But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD.’” – 1 Samuel 1:15 [ESV]

You Shall

There are people who do everything on their own, relying on self all of the time. These people are the independent people. They might say, “Look what I have done” or “I have to do everything myself if I want it done.” Then there are people who are dependent people. There are those who recognize that they are dependent on God (truth is we all are dependent on God), and then there are those who are dependent for everything. These are the people who will not move a finger because someone will do it for them. The first example that comes to mind is someone who enables another from growing through a situation because the dependent person plays the victim card. Another example is someone who loses a job and says, “God will get me another job” but never even attempts to fill out an application.

In today’s passage we read about Joseph approaching Joshua. The people want more land for their inheritance because they do not have a large enough area for their tribe. They ask why they were only given one portion. Joshua tells the people to go up and clear an area for themselves. The response isn’t, “Okay, we shall do that then.” The people of Joseph respond by stating again that their land isn’t enough, and that the Canaanites have chariots. Joshua had to restate what the tribe of Joseph shall do to get what they were promised.

There are moments when we are to wait on God to move but then there are moments when we are to act in faith, trusting that God will be faithful. We need to recognize the importance of listening for God’s voice so we are able to know when to wait and when to move. When we are led to move, we must move. You shall. God is with you. You shall.

“Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the Lord has blessed me?’ Joshua said to them, ‘If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.’ The people of Joseph said, ‘The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.’ Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, ‘You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.’” – Joshua 17:14-18

Rightly Related Rejoicing

God has given us great power to tread over the enemy. He has given us spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit. God opens doors that allow us opportunities to serve His people. Nonetheless, Jesus says we should not celebrate this power we have, nor rejoice over the success.

In Luke 10, Jesus notes that successful service should not be a reason for rejoicing, but instead, He said we should rejoice that are names are written in heaven. It is wonderful that we have the power to tread over the enemy. It is fantastic that we have been given spiritual gifts. But none of this means anything compared to our eternal life.

Today rejoice that your name is written in heaven. Rejoice that Jesus has made the way for you to enter through His gates. Rejoice that you are saved by the grace of God. Rejoice that you can spend eternity with the One Who is love. Rejoice that He is the Way.

“But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” – Luke 10:20 [NLT]

Our Birthright Message with Outline

Main Passage: Genesis 25:29-34 [ESV]

Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom. Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

What is a Birthright? What did it mean for Esau?

The birthright was for firstborn son.

PRIESTHOOD – This was before the Levites were the priests. Holy. Set apart. Priest for family.

PROMISE – Promised double portion of father’s estate. Reason was because the oldest son was to take place of father, to care for mother and sisters. This particular promise to Esau meant a double portion of the Promised Land (or 2/3 of the Promised Land)

POWER – He had authority in family – would have been seen as head of family

Esau’s Momentary Pleasure – Unholy Choice

Esau valued temporary pleasure / thrill over responsibility and blessing of being set apart

Hebrews 12:15-17 [NIV] speaks of a Call to Holiness

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

 

Embrace Your Birthright

PRIESTHOOD – PROMISE – POWER

We are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26)

We are co-heirs with Christ – Romans 8:15-17 [ESV]

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Holy Spirit – Down payment / Guarantee of Inheritance to Come

The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (Ephesians 1:14 ESV)

Every Spiritual Blessing – Ephesians 1:3 [NASB] – You have ALL YOU NEED

Redemption. Forgiveness. Grace.

  • Remember you are set apart.
  • Boldly claim the promises of God.
  • Walk with a confidence that comes from power of God.

Ephesians 1:11-14 [ESV]

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Download Embrace Your New Birthright Outline from Google Drive

Othniel Generation

During yesterday’s lunch date with God, I was reading from the Book of Judges. It is a book that often gets neglected minus the story of Samson and possibly Gideon and his fleecy requests. But yesterday I was reading about Othniel. Now that’s not a name that people think of first and he does not have said about him in Judges 3, which is where the main passage focuses on his time as judge. Nonetheless, this last reading I pondered a connection.

In Judges 1, we read of Caleb making a prize of his daughter. Remember Caleb, the son of Jephunneh? Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who gave the good report (Numbers 13). Such great faith! Well some time has passed and Caleb made a request. “He who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter for a wife” (v. 12 ESV). Who steps forward but Othniel. Now the Bible says that Othniel was the son of Kenaz; however, it is also stated that Othniel is Caleb’s younger brother!

Othniel kept his word and is awarded the daughter Achsah. Then as we continue to read Judges we read of all of the tribes of Israel that “did not drive out” the people who inhabited the land God was giving them, which was directly disobeying God’s command. Joshua dies “and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10 ESV). After Joshua’s death, the nation turned away. But Othniel, Caleb’s brother had the Spirit of the LORD upon him and he was a judge of Israel. Remember as these people turned away from God, the people were plundered and the judges were raised up to save them.

What stuck out to me yesterday was how easily a generation forgot. Othniel was Caleb’s younger brother. Othniel married Caleb’s daughter. Not much time had passed between the days of Caleb and Joshua’s spying out the land to this time when arose another generation. But they had forgotten. They had turned away. Today I hope this is a reminder to you of the importance of sharing Jesus with the younger generations. Many of you are taking Christmas trees down this week. When you take down the tree, don’t “put away” Jesus for the year. It is so easy to forget the great responsibility each of us have to this younger generation.

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” – Deuteronomy 4:9 [ESV]

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:5-9 [NIV]

Wrestling God

When many people read Genesis 32, they may wonder why someone would wrestle with God. This is God, the God of the universe, the Creator of everything. He is the all-powerful, all-knowing, the great I AM. It seems crazy to even imagine thinking you could stand a chance wrestling with God. Yet, we all wrestle with God.

Each one of us is separated from God because of sin. He is holy and He will have no part of sin. The truth is sin is anything that goes against God. But as we wrestle with God just as Jacob did since birth, something happens. Jacob started out as a deceiver, a liar—some would even say a cheat. As Jacob was following his own way, God still was reaching out. The wrestling was always there as it is with us—God always reaching out to bring us back to Him, and us always pulling away following our own way.

In the passage we know as Jacob wrestling with God, the wrestling match has changed. This wrestling was very different from the past. Jacob was alone with God, just as we are alone with Him so often as we approach during quiet time in prayer. He fought with God in a different way. He clung to God. He desired God.

We read that God touches Jacob’s hip socket. With one touch, his hip is out of joint; this is something no man could do and it demonstrates the power of God. The fact is God could have done more to Jacob than cause a hip to pop out, but God does not wish to overpower us. This is a reminder that we cannot prevail by our own power. However, He wants simply for us to desire Him, not by force but freely. Jacob’s response shows his desire. He stated, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (v. 26). Basically, I am going to cling to You. I am not letting You go. You can do whatever You want with me. I am sticking with You.

God won’t try to overcome you with power. He could but then that wouldn’t be a relationship; it would be a dictatorship. All the gods of this world attempt to overcome with force. Our God spreads His arms open wide, humbles Himself and dies so that we can live. And when we wrestle with Him, when we declare that we will not let go of Him, He embraces us right back.

This does not just end with Jacob winning a match. God gives Jacob a new name. No longer will he be a deceiver; for he has wrestled with God and prevailed. This means he clung to God, he hung on with everything. Renamed Israel, this man asked God to tell him His name. Why? That’s what Jacob was asked. We don’t read of a response from Jacob because it wasn’t necessary. Jacob wanted not to know another name for God, but to have a deeper revelation, a greater understanding of Who God is. He was given that from that day and onward. As we continue to cling to Him, He continues to reveal Himself to us daily. He is too great and too glorious for us to understand. But we know that the glory of God, the beauty of Christ, is the Light of the gospel—the rest will have to wait (2 Corinthians 4).

I pray that you will evaluate where you are at with your wrestling match with God. Have you been running around the wrestling ring taking jabs? Have you been avoiding situations and blocking the right hooks? Or have you embraced Him, have you clung Him tightly and proclaimed, “I will not let You go” my Lord? I will not let You go. I will not let You go.