"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Saying my Peace

 

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My heart is troubled today and needing some peace…some shalom. My “in basket” of prayer requests is full and overflowing, add that to my own and it seems that I may break under the weight. I was looking at my manuscript for RETOOLED and found some encouragement that I would like to share. I’m saying my “peace” out loud…proclaiming that our God is faithful in providing the shalom we need…bless you all! - Jay

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have shalom. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

I hate tribulations don’t you? There’s not much calm built into difficult circumstances, turmoil yes, calm, no. Thankfully, peace is powerful, an overcoming force. There is nothing passive about this “shalom that passes all understanding”. It changes me during trials and enables a sharper picture of my circumstance to form. Shalom helps me to walk through those trials with a sense of purpose; it makes the way a bit clearer to follow. In this sense, peace gives us the ability to walk boldly, confident in His care, even when we don’t understand. The key is what our minds are fixated on during those tough seasons.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

The Hebrew word for keep is nâtsar (naw-tsar') which means to guard or protect. When our thoughts are directed towards the Father, when we trust in Him, an awesome thing happens. God protects our shalom! And it’s perfect because it involves a closer relationship with Him! That’s why it’s more than just concentration and not ever changing our thoughts, it’s relating! This relationship recognizes the need of Father God being the center of every thought, and pursuit of life. At this center is peace, perfect peace.

“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His face upon you and give you SHALOM.
Numbers 6:24-26

Do you feel the reflection of Father God on you today? How can I pray for you and your Shalom?

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Son-Ship

 

joshmatt2 You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

I’ve started this post over and over in my mind…but it’s difficult to write when you heart won’t stop and muse on just one emotion. So…I’m just going to write and see what comes out. It’s raw exposure time…I hope you’ll bear with me.

When I became a father 23 years ago I never imagined the range of changes my heart would go through, even so, you think I be used to the roller coaster effect by now. Yeah right…I’m still riding this thing but I’m not sure if my heart is going up, down or through some loop du jour…perhaps all three.

I’m not looking forward to this Saturday; my house will be missing two men for most of the year. I am happy for them…thrilled that they have two wonderful adventures unfolding before their young men eyes. That’s the up part, the “go get em” part of my father’s heart. The down part is wondering if I have done enough in getting them ready for their journey. There is part of me that worries about my mistakes and how that will hinder their growth…that’s the loop de jour part.

Josh, my oldest, has been on his journey for awhile now (2 years)…Matthew is set to leave on Friday. Then on Saturday my heart will stretch once again. Long distance fathering is hard and I’m not sure how good I really am at it…but they are worth the effort of improving that skill set. I have a saying that I use with my boys/men when we talk about challenges and this occasion fits.

This is the way of men…this is the way of sons.

Joshua and Matt…I am so proud of you. I am glad you are my sons, that you bear my name and the name of the Father. I will miss your presence on a daily basis but will rejoice that you are on the journey God has for you. I have no doubt that you will succeed and flourish according to your willingness to surrender all to Him. The example you set for your brothers and sisters is huge, the influence you live out in front of friends and others is beyond your understanding. I know you have what it takes…you have the heart, the passion and the God given ability to make a difference in this world.

I believe in you…so does the Father…go get em’!

Love, Dad

 

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Fear-Less

 

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I have been feeling a little run down and sick for about a week now but I wanted to post some notes from my last part of my sermon series. You can listen here if you like. The series was about freedom and freedom from fear being the last was a huge one for me. I wanted to expressed how deeply the Father wants us free…I’m hoping you see that in the words He gave me.Bless you! – JC

“A good society is able to face the schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.” -FDR

There is an enemy of our souls that wants to dominate the world we live in. And one of his main weapons is fear.

The dictionary describes fear this way…

An unpleasant (no kidding) emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

It seems to me…that it takes a certain amount of faith to accept fear…in order for fear to affect us…we need to believe in it. That’s not freedom!

Everybody, if they’re honest with themselves, feel afraid sometimes. Feeling afraid is not the issue…being controlled by that fear is.

In 2 Timothy verses 16-17 it reads…

“Therefore I remind you to inflame anew the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands. (17) For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Really…then why are we so afraid? Why do we give more strength to our fears than the truth?

We fear for our safety, our security, our position, our health, our family, our processions. Fear affects our choices and the decisions we make. We get afraid to stick our neck out…to take a risk…to believe God has our best interest in mind.

Yoda (from Starwars) was always saying “Anger leads to the darkside….yes” Sorry the little Jedi was wrong…anger doesn’t lead to the dark side…FEAR DOES! It leads us to the darkness of doubt…of unbelief. Fear seeks to keep us in the dark and not see God’s goodness.

Fear paralyzes…it keeps us from freedom, from the Father’s purpose for us. It lies through its teeth to us…it lies about God’s goodness.

I believe we’re afraid because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of His goodness… In Romans 8:28 we read this…

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

This verse bothers me sometimes… it’s saying that whatever comes into our life is a part of God’s purpose to bring about our good and His glory. Hardship, trials…pain…God’s uses all these things to work character into us and to free us. It may not seem that way…but it’s true…its part of our freedom path. God uses these “all things” moments…these challenges, to shape our character. He wants us to be free in this manner because freedom without faithfulness is a bad combination.

When we are set free from fear, we are finally free to lo live. Jesus didn’t raise us from the dead spiritually, to have us hang around the gravesite the rest of our lives. In the Gospel of John is the story of Lazarus, now this is a freedom story! Lazarus has died…Jesus tells people to roll away the stone, he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and he has people release him from his grave cloths saying…unbind him…let him go.

We get to do this…we get the privilege of speaking life into people because of the Gospel message. It takes a strong and courageous spirit…setting captives’ free angers the enemy. The Pharisees were ticked off when Jesus raised Lazarus, so much so they wanted to kill Jesus and Lazarus…he was alive…he was a testament of freedom. Jesus picked a fight….and so should we.

Free people do this…

 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Psalm Prayer – Freedom

 

 

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Last night I attempted to fix a leaky faucet in our tub. This particular faucet has been a bane to my existence since we moved in 12 years ago. It has been “fixed” a few times by repair guys more gifted than I in the area of home repair…but here it was again…dripping with defiance.

I found out that the stem had been stripped, so no matter how hard you tighten the handle the drip continued. I was frustrated, because two trips to Home Depot were necessary to find the right part for this troublesome faucet. I felt inadequate…I felt stupid about a leaky faucet getting the best of me. I saw it as an example of my decision making…leaky, flawed and beyond my ability to repair.

Wow…all this drama over a spigot?

Yeah…I felt silly about that as well. In the middle of the repair I had a peculiar thought. Maybe you can relate.

It was leaking again because the stem had been stripped…apparently…
so was I.

It has been a long season of giving out…of pouring out. I have tried to stay connected to the Master…but somewhere, somehow…I was leaking…I was stripped…and I tried to tighten up (duty wise) instead of letting go (resting in Him).

So I offer up the prayer I wrote out this morning, as my way of letting go…and finding my freedom again. Maybe you have tightened up lately…maybe you’re leaking and you don’t even know. Prayer is the best freedom repair I can think of…I pray this for you as well.

Father, hear my prayer!

I’m lost without you. My heart wants to give up without you. Without you…My spirit longs to run away and hide  The strength I possess seems small without you. Without your presence, vision is dim and my way is too dark to see.

Where can a man like me go but to you, oh giver of life? With you my strength returns…with you my spirit finds the strength to go on. Vision returns when my eyes set on you alone. I can rejoice because I am exposed to the fullness of your love. I am set free in your presence… I am set free in your presence… I am set free in your presence!

No good thing will you keep from me…your Word is good, your heart is good, your way is good and they will not be kept from me.

My declaration is this…I am yours because you made sure I was yours. Thank you for your sacrifice, the price you paid…for me! In you alone will I trust! – Amen!

 

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Momentary Adversaries

 

 thefight

wpc-buttonIt's warrior poet time over at my friend Jason's blog Connecting to Impact. So head on over and read some awesome poems and you can even wear a beret and snap your fingers if you like!



Momentary Adversaries

The fight is fierce
Dangerous
Costly
The insults tear
and scar.
Yet, it is my arms
raised in victory
They are momentary
adversaries
I am eternal
They are temporary,
misfits of time
I am forever
the Father's

8-6-12 JC

 

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Psalm Prayer






I'm working on my sermon today and was going through my journal reading some old notes on freedom when I came upon this prayer I wrote down. It's a prayer based on Psalm 27...I hope you can join me in it. Have a blessed weekend! - JC

Father God,

It is your face we seek this morning. You are our stronghold, our hope against the enemy of our soul. We praise the Father of light that exposes and reveals the plans of wrongdoing. We worship our God who hides us within His great love. We sing to Him who has lifted our heads, who has lifted us to be in His presence. Teach us your way today; help us to walk in your way. Open our eyes to see your goodness in all we walk through. Father, we wait on you with the courage and the strength you give us.

In the name of Jesus we pray….Amen!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lost in Translation


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I don’t usually rant…at least online. Many of you know my beliefs, my passion for marriage and for family. If you have read my posts or listen to my talks, you know my heart is for us to be the people God has asked us to be.

I like Mike Huckabee and I like chicken sandwiches…OK? All disclaimers are in place…I hope.

So the Church’s response to the attack on God’s definition of marriage was…

…Appreciation Day?

Really…?

Sorry…I don’t want to stand in line for a chicken snack to prove anything, much less that I’m a Christian. I do want to stand for what is right by the way I live my life, not buying something from the value menu. It has to be more than that doesn’t it? Couldn’t we be mobilized to do something greater…to be someone greater?

I have no issue with Christian supporting Christian business, in fact I encourage it. But what message did we send?…what fruit did we produce?…what lives were changed? Did supporting a franchise prove the following Scripture?

“And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Mark 16:15

I wonder…but I don’t think that’s the “going into all the world” Jesus was talking about.

If the Church wants to be the light, it has to be more than gimmicks, more than flexing consumer muscle…it has to live out the Father’s truth.

I could be wrong…maybe it’s just lost in translation.

Rant over…more prayer coming…

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