Destroying Obstacles

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT

I remind myself that it doesn’t say “We proudly destroy every obstacle” and it doesn’t say “We destroy every proud person” but it says “We destroy every proud obstacle”.

And just like “fighting fire with fire” without any plan or understanding just creates a great bigger, raging fire — it should be clear that to destroy any “proud obstacles” that our own pride can’t be the weapon or tool used. It must be us humbling ourselves.

It should not be us trying to manipulate a way to humble “them”. It must be us submitting ourselves and humbling “ourselves”.

We must take our eyes off the person, see the actual obstacle between us, and overcome spiritual obstacles with spiritual warfare. Don’t fuel the “proud obstacle with” more of our own pride, but humble ourselves and see mountains laid low and stones rolled away.

We see our example of this in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Lord, let our faith please you, and let us receive your Holy Spirit to teach and guide and lead us in The Way, as you have promised when we believe, confess, and repent. In Your Name, Amen.

Where am I?

Pride, 

thinking that we have it figured out, 

focusing on what has already been conquered,

Instead of what needs to be surrendered today, 

It will lead to disgrace.
Disgrace,

When it is found before men, 

We have an opportunity to learn, 

To be disciplined by the experience,

And given an opportunity to choose

Between remaining powerless in repeating our prideful failures,

Or if we will seek God, 

And be lead to humility. 
Humility, 

When it is found before God, 

Provides an opportunity to find Hope,

in Jesus Christ who is faithful and true, 

To be empowered by the Holy Spirit,  

who is our teacher or guide and our comforter,

To know the Love of our Heavenly Father, 

Who is the unseen made visible in Christ Jesus,

And in finding God we will understand the fear of God,

Which leads to wisdom. 
Wisdom, 

She is more precious than Gold, 

She is eternal and nourishes our soul for eternity, 

Because wisdom is not worldly knowledge, 

But it is the understanding that God is in authority over all things, 

That He is ruler and we are servant, 

But that He is also Father and we are sons and daughters, 

That He knows what is best for us,

That He has a purpose for us, 

That He loves us, 

Which leads us to Love. 
Love, 

It is that most excellent fruit, 

That grows ripe on the branches of those planted in the Lord’s garden.

It is the fragrance of the incense of the prayers of His saints, 

It is a pleasing aroma to the Lord our God, 

Because it is the evidence of His very essence breathing within those that are His.

It is the life that we find when we lay down our burdens of sin and death and pick up our cross to follow Him. 

It is eternal and it is how He knows us and calls us by name. 

Love is the law of Christ, 

And it fulfills completely the requirements of God that the law of Moses could not, 

Because being reconciled to love is being reconciled to God himself, 

For God is love. 
To love Him is to serve Him, 

To serve Him is to love others,

To love others is to serve them, 

To serve others is to carry their burdens, 

To serve others is to share with them the very hope that we have found in Christ, 

To serve others is to recognize that we have a purpose in life to reach others with the gospel, 

To tell them of this ministry of reconciliation to Christ, 

To show them this love that flows from the very Spirit of Christ who lives in us. 
Where are you today,  friend? 
Moving up from pride to disgrace, 

Moving up from disgrace to humility, 

Moving up from humility to wisdom, 

Moving up from wisdom to love,

Or falling down in pride? 
Even if you find yourself falling, 

It is never too late to let your disgrace lead you to humility, friend. 

Cry out to the Lord, 

Seek Him with your whole heart, 

Repent of your evil and rebellious ways, 

Knock until He answers, 

But remember to be quiet and listen for His answer, 

Because He will answer in that still,  quiet voice, 

And you will recognize Him as the Good Shepherd who loves you. 

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. – Proverbs 11:2 NLT

Lean and weak or fat and strong?

I read this and it continues to remind me that I’m just a fellow sheep and not the shepherd,  not the teacher, I’m a student – at best I’m a messenger and servant. I hope we can remain lean and weak (dependent upon God), not fat and strong (pridefully confident in ourselves), friends.

“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God : Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.  “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : As I live, declares the Lord God , surely because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd, and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : Thus says the Lord God , Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them. 

“For thus says the Lord God : Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God . I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. 

“As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God : Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? 

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord , will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord ; I have spoken.
Ezekiel 34:2-24 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ezk.34.2-24.ESV

My ears really perk up and my pulse quickens a bit at hearing this and having to check myself: “I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.”

What God wants

“Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer : ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector!  I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’  I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18:10-14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.18.10-14.NLT

Will we choose to humble ourselves?

Or will we find ourselves humbled?

When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?  The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward.  Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
Luke 14:7-14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.14.7-14.NLT

Let us come before God in the right position of heart,  humble.

You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Psalms 51:16-17 NLT
http://bible.com/116/psa.51.16-17.NLT

I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6 NLT
http://bible.com/116/hos.6.6.NLT

Like a Child

http://bible.com/116/mat.11.25.nlt
At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.

Observation
It is childlike faith that follows Christ with abandon, stepping out in faith and doing things to follow the Lord that seem foolish to the world around us.

A proud and arrogant person hears the Word of God and thinks himself wiser, twisting it and turning it or denying altogether that it applies to their lives – having no fear of God at all.

A childlike faith looks to the Word of God a and the Holy Spirit as their teacher, not relying upon their own understanding,  but being humbled daily by examining their lives closely and identifying those things that need to be cut out and abandoned so they might live a life that more perfectly reflects Christ’s love. It is understanding that His way is the best way for our lives because His life of obedience and love validated and confirmed His title as Messiah just as our lives of obedience and confirm His presence living in us and through us.

And even as we continue to grow,  we are humbled by our not yet fully reflecting His perfection in our walk. It is in our weakness that we are reminded that we are the children and He is the teacher. In our stumbles and as we search deeper into the depths of our hearts with this two edged sword of the Word of God performing surgery upon the cancer of sin that must be cut out, we find ourselves on our knees before Him at the foot of the cross, boo claiming royal titles of kings and rulers and crown bearers – but humbly claiming our title as the very children of God that He professes as His when He says,  “Suffer not the little children to come into me.”

You see,  He tells the world and all of creation,  He, the Christ,  the Word of God,  through whom the heavens and earth were created,  He who has been here since the beginning and who will be here evermore commands – Yes, He commands His creation to not get in the way of His little children as they come to rest at His feet and learn from their teacher.

And He warns the world,  those proud and arrogant enemies of truth,  that stand in opposition and that seek to distract and destroy those that are His –  those that think themselves wise in their own minds – He warns them of their destruction – He promises them that they will be laid low.

So we must examine our hearts and recognize those areas of pride and vanity in our lives that need to be cut out that are a trap and snare to ourselves and are a stumbling block to others. We are to be humble and obedient children of God,  not proud and rebellious children of evil and self importance.

Call to Action
Is God truly first in our life today, friends? Does our spiritual stance, our position before God, our visible actions in front of others prove us humble and obedient to the Word of God proving the fear of God that is His wisdom?

Walking upright and obedient to the Word of God, while loving and serving and forgiving even those who might seem “far from God” is the stance that recognizes our own position before God – not as someone kingly and close to the perfection of Christ ourselves, but as one “far from God” ourselves if we were to be measured and judged by our life actions alone without the redeeming sacrifice of Christ and the gift of His grace. Because even a single sin, even a lustful thought, even a hateful thought,  anything that falls short of the glory of God proves that we are not yet standing in his presence, that we are still in the flesh and not yet in our fully glorified spiritual being.

Yes, we are just children. We are growing from the seed planted and watered and growing by the streams of living waters. We might even be little trees bearing fruit in our branches, but we are just children, learning and growing at the deer of our Father. We are not great,  but He is. If there is anything great in our lives, it is Him – as we decrease and He increases. But all of that which is good and honorable, He gets the glory and praise and honor. It is His alone.

Humble child of God, arise and walk upright and obedient to the Word of God. Be healed and renewed. Find strength in the Lord your God.

Enemies of truth – arrogance,  pride,  vanity and all who would stand in the way of the Lord’s work – make way for your own destruction. Your time draws near, my Lord Jesus Christ approaches and will come quickly like a thief in the night. Repent while there is still time. Hit your knees and surrender willingly to the one who loves you and is willing to forgive you and free you from your captivity,  or who is faithful and true to send you into everlasting separation from God.

Believe,  take up your cross and follow Him. Find yourself sitting at the feet of the Good Shepherd,  child of God.

Radical Forgiveness

http://bible.com/116/mat.6.14-15.nlt
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Observation
Am I standing proud? The mountains will be laid low and pushed into the sea.

Am I kneeling at the foot of the cross? Seeking His will in my life,  surrendered to the Lord, repenting of my sins, loving Him above all, denying myself and in doing so – finding my new life that is renewed and alive and blessed.

Am I kneeling before my brothers,  washing their feet,  serving them and loving them? Paying attention to their needs on the same level as my own?

Continue reading “Radical Forgiveness”

Don’t Point

Today’s Manna – Our Daily Bread
http://bible.com/116/hos.4.4.nlt
Don’t point your finger at someone else and try to pass the blame! My complaint, you priests, is with you.

Observation
People are less likely to listen and learn when we point the finger at them in judgement, because when a sword is raised towards us,  we prepare to defend ourselves,  we put up walls and prepare for battle, we run away because we are afraid that we are about to be hurt and plundered.

Continue reading “Don’t Point”