Focus

I believe one of our keys for becoming like Jesus is a better focus…

Duh right?

What do I mean?

I believe we must pursue intimacy with the Lord by pursuing His face. We need to focus on His eyes instead of the sin and failures we experience. Picture looking at Him and sin being like a distraction off to the side that Jesus paid for in order to allow you to keep your focus on Him.

Sin is not ok, but it is paid for…. Don’t let it take your eyes off Him! There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus(Rom. 8:1). We become like Him as we behold Him….(my 2Cor. 3:18 paraphrase)

Joshua

My Hero

I was recently pondering some things with the Lord. I was reading Jonathan Welton’s book New Covenant Leaders(haven’t finished it, but very good so far), and was thinking about Jesus carrying ALL authority as a man on earth. He literally did things our hero’s do on movies(i.e. walked on water, teleported, healed people, set people free, multiplied food, and so many other things they can’t fit in books).

I began realizing the weight of His ability. The Father was giving Him the power and authority to do ANYTHING…. How many times are we puffed up when we get even a great revelation. We think we’re awesome when God uses us in any way. Jesus was given immeasurable power, and what did He do???

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Jesus washed the disciples disgusting feet…. He could have easily chosen to make His skin impenetrable to the soldiers beatings and weapons… But what did He do with all that power??? He allowed their weapons to sink into His blameless flesh. He allowed the thorns to sink into His “steal”…. I’m overcome with His humility in overwhelming power. Not only that He could, but that for our sakes He would. Jesus didn’t get angry and stop it, even after the horrible beating went on and on. I don’t really understand why, but He loves us deeply….

Oh how I long to be like my Hero!!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me(Jesus) will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Jn. 14:12 ESV

Joshua

Commission

We are advancing! Every place the sole of our foot treads He has given us. So… what is our commission beyond preaching the gospel? Let me run some scriptures by you(ESV emphasis added):

  • Matt. 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
  • Mark 16:15-20 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

Ok.. So, He sat down at the right hand of God. Now look at this passage…

  • Hebrews 10:12-13 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. See also- Psalm 110:1

I believe we are called to walk in Jesus on this earth in communion with the Father as Jesus did, doing/saying what He is doing/saying. I believe we are now partnering in close intimacy with the Father to make Jesus enemies a footstool with the Father. Jesus said in John 20:21 “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

We are not called to sit with our hands folded until the second coming of Jesus! We are called to release His Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven and walk intimately with Him! Let go of doomsday theology and realize His Kingdom is advancing in all the earth! As in the promised land of the old testament, we are removing the enemies of the Kingdom, both demonic and as strongholds in the minds of men! We can do this together with Him!!🙂

Joshua

Surrender Everything

Such a tough subject, and yet one that is non-negotiable in the Kingdom. Don’t kid yourself. Surrender is a requirement, but it’s fruit is amazing! In the last year and a half, I’ve had to do more surrendering than ever, and I’ve never been doing better as a result.

For the most part, surrender is your choice although circumstances in life can prod you. Awhile ago I was diagnosed with MS and the symptoms that accompanied could have been devastating. To name a few, I lost most of the vision in my left eye for awhile, numbness in different parts of my body, and a while back lost most of the use of my left arm(for those who don’t know I’M LEFT HANDED). The temptation was a constant to get slammed since in some ways it felt like I was loosing my life. I was tempted to believe I wouldn’t be able to do things with my kids and wife, and everything I love could be taken away(enemy garbage). The result however was a drawing near to the Lord in intimacy I didn’t know was possible.

One of the things that saved my life was something I had heard Bill Johnson say… my paraphrase… we have to stay thankful for what we have and what God promised, and not focus on what God hasn’t done yet. I began thanking God for my right hand when my left wouldn’t work, that I could walk, eat, hear, etc. Then came… surrender.

The Lord brought to mind all kinds of things I hadn’t fully surrendered, and the one I want to touch on is family. I knew when I had heard stories of missionaries surrendering their kids to the Lord even unto death, I was not there, and I didn’t see how I could. Through time and many tears with the Lord I surrendered my whole family to Him. Whether it was thoughts of them making wrong choices, doing things that would hurt me, or even death, I surrendered. I handed them and their choices over to Him.  Luke 14:25-27 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”(ESV) The word “hate” can be looked at as an intense choice. Obviously, we are called to love our families, but this is more about not putting them before the Lord in ANY way.

The result has been an intimate connection with The Lord I wouldn’t trade for anything! I can say with all my heart that what I’ve been through physically has been worth it for the intimacy I’ve gained with Him. FYI I don’t believe you have to go through difficulty to get it.  I also do not believe He gave me MS to teach me, He’s not a dysfunctional Father. He has used it however, and I’ll literally be eternally grateful! Don’t wait to begin surrendering, do it now. Don’t try to keep getting the promises of The Kingdom without the path. You can’t get from A to C without B. You’ll find your life if you’ll have the courage to lose it!

Do You Serve God or Money?

You guessed it….  This one could potentially hurt a little.  Matt. 6:24 “….you cannot serve both God and money.”NIV(emphasis added).

We “know” the right answer to the question, but my question to you is going past your intellect.  If you followed yourself around for a year hidden from sight, which do you serve?  In good times and strained times financially do you follow the Spirit’s leading or money’s leading?  Does fear overcome you when a financial difficulty comes or do you walk in His peace?  If you find out there’s a person in need, do you check with Him about being the answer or is it automatically about whether it cuts into your financial security?  If He told you to empty your bank accounts and give to the poor(as in Matt. 19… rich young ruler), would you walk away with your head down or trust Him with childlike faith?

Although we don’t “feel” like it, we are rich compared to the world standards throughout history. Jesus was referring to you and I when he said “only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 19:23.  We must put things into a kingdom perspective.  When I stand before Him I want to be excited I chose to trust Him like a child during this blink of an eye called life.

Stand with me and let’s have the courage to be childlike- “do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.” Luke 12:29-30 NIV.

I leave you with this….  Imagine yourself actually living without giving much thought to all your “stuff”.  Imagine living like an actual 2 year old in a good home who doesn’t think about how money works and where provision is coming from next time…  Is it possible to live trusting our Father that much in this life? If you serve money you’ll obey it and whatever it says in the name of security or even being financially responsible.  If you decide to let go of the cares of this world with childlike faith, you’ll inherit the Kingdom(Matt 18:3)!!

Joshua

A Prayer

I just want to take a minute and share a prayer I prayed(not because I’m cool or awesome) that rocked my world this morning.  This is a prayer I recommend you make a part of your life regularly(even morning & night).

It was simply this:

God I MUST know You, see You, and experience You!  I can’t live unless I get to walk with You, talk with You, and know You on new levels in this life! I want to walk with You and know You intimately!  I want You as my promise, not a destination.  Experiencing You, even for a fading moment, would be worth my life even if You hadn’t promised eternity in paradise….

Alright…  There it is…  And NO, I’m not referring to some doctrine about eternity!!  It’s a heart check and nothing more.  We can’t afford to live from our intellect only any more.  We MUST become passionate for THE ONE, and not lose sight of Him for His promises!!  I overstate things in my talking with Him to get fruit in my heart(ex. I would choose a moment with You God over an eternity in paradise).  Obviously He’s there with us or there would be no eternity and no paradise!  It’s a love language, and I recommend you start selling all of you for Him!!

I recently read a quote from Fancis Chan to leave you with: “As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing.  To put it plainly, churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians.  We will not see them in heaven.” -Crazy Love

Joshua