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November 2003 Archives

November 3, 2003

Drifting Away

Hebrews 4:2; 2:1
4:2 - ...but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
2:1 - Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

As someone who is a public speaker, I try to take the truth of God's Word and communicate it so that is can be understood by the hearers. I work hard at being accurate with my interpretation, interesting in my presentation, and practical in the application of the truth to everyday life. But I find a lot of people "drifting." No matter how "entertaining" the message may or may not be, it still is the eternal truth which has relevance for our lives. But it is the responsibility of the hearer, not the speaker, to draw out the truth for themselves.

Very few people on Sundays practice "active listening." Most of us listen only for what catches our attention, then we focus in for a few moments before fading again. We wonder then why we are not seeing our lives changed, our minds renewed. We must engage the message. We must meet the Word with faith, or it cannot produced the intended results. Romans says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (10:17) When we do fully engage, our faith is built as well.

Still, faith without works is dead. So we must give "more earnest heed" to what we hear. If we do not put things into practice, that's when our faith is weakened and we begin to drift; drifting out of God's purpose and covering.

Lord, I want to be a good listener. Not only that, I desire that truth becomes action because Your Word has been engaged by my faith and obedience.

Unstuck

Hebrews 6:19-20
This (hope) we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the (Presence) behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Personal note: Hebrews is still a difficult book for me to get arms all the way around (so is Ezekiel, which is my OT reading right now). If I go slow enough, I can begin to digest it in smal pieces. That's is my process here - digestion.

To begin, hope is the result of our faith in the work of Christ. It is the guarantee of God's promise which has been given to us. Hope is also the anchor point for our lives, which is the point of these verses.

In his book Post-Modern Pilgrims, Leonard Sweet shares the story of a large ship that is stuck in a bay. The only way to get unstuck is for the crew to load up the ship's anchor into the dinghy and row out ahead of the ship. They would drop the anchor and then the ship would wench itself forward.

We have cast our soul's anchor not behind or below, but ahead into the Holy of Holies - the place of God's presence and glory. It's not just so that we don't "drift" or become swpt away, but so that we can also "unstick" ourselves and pull forward into His presence and our purpose. Hope awlays seems to draw us ahead - out and up. Faith calls us to cast our anchor beyond where we can see. But it is always into the place where we have been preceeded by Jesus.

Lord, give me the courage not to drop anchor for security's sake. Let me cast it forward, so that I am drawn to You and into Your presence.

November 5, 2003

Leaky Plumbing

Proverbs 5:17-19
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.
16 Should your fountains be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be only your own,
And not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.

I was checking my email at 5:30 this morning and I find a spam for a porn site. My preview pane was open and I caught a glimpse of the html email containing some topless females. Not a good way to begin the day. It's not often that my filter misses these. Then I read today's passage in Proverbs. It got me thinking about the impact of porn.

I was struck by the "fountain" idea in this passage. It's like the distraction of sexual fantasy causes leaks in the plumbing of a marriage. Sexual fantasy also causes leaks in our anointing. Both of these leaks cause run-off and waste that which God intended to provide good "pressure" in our lives. I remember when California was in extreme drought and water was being rationed. You couldn't water your grass or wash your car because the "water police" would issue you a fine if they saw run-off from your house. There is a "fine," a cost to wasting what God has supplied in your own well.

I want the fountain of my life to be blessed; to be at full pressure. I cannot afford to distracted by cheap thrills which don't satisfy. I cannot waste what God has supplied on air-brushed strangers. I am enraptured with my wife. And we will rejoice in the life and love God as given to us.

Lord, let me walk in even greater purity. Help me find the areas of leakage in my life so they can be repaired. I want Your pressure in my life to be strong. I am satisfied with what You have blessed me with.

November 18, 2003

I know that You know...

Ezekiel 37: 5-10,14
Thus says the Lord God to these bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord."7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Also He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live." ' " 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived...

14 "...I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live..." says the Lord.' "

"Can these dry bones live?" That's the question I feel like I'm asking as I plan for NH for 2004. I also feel like I already know the answer, much like Ezekiel - "Oh Lord God, You know." It's that "You know, that I know, that You know..." But it doesn't appear likely. Down deep though, I know...

This miracle has two parts. The first is the noise that is created when the bones come together. It draws attention to the fact that something is happening. But it;s not finished even after the skin has covered them. In our church, we need to ask God what will make the "noise" that will draw attention to the fact of something miraculous that is happening. Next, those bones will be covered with flesh. The Lord seems to be saying to me that this is the people who will be gathered to be a part of the miracle of life ("like a mighty army").

But most the most important part of the miracle is the life that comes from the breath of God. There is the promise of the HS that comes into the lives of men to make them come alive!

Lord, that's what we're needing. We need both the gathering of an army and the life of the Spirit. Let this be the year where the Saddleback Valley comes to spiritual life. And our church is full of the breath of the Spirit.

November 19, 2003

Complete Faith

James 2:22
Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?

His faith was made complete ("perfect"). You know, that's an interesting thought, that our faith is completed by our works or actions. The circle of faith, what begins with belief is completed with action. To only say you believe, but not to take any actions makes for an imcomplete faith.

I know it sems like I'm repeating myself, but I'm mulling this over...It is impossible to please God without faith (Heb.11:6)...God is then honored by our works...Once again faith and obedience are inextrecable linked. You can not believe and not "be" because fait is then "dead" (v. 17) But "doing" outside of the motivation for faith is empty.

Lord, help me to be a man of complete faith.

November 25, 2003

Sin Stress

1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

On a label attached to the front of my computer monitor is Romans 13:14 - Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill it's lust. It's there as an accountability reminder. So much stuff floats around the net and I know that I am very susceptible to digging through following some of the garbage that is out there. The issue of the how the flesh still has influence on the life of the believer and how it's lusts can override the spirit though disobedience is a difficult one. Ultimately, I know that I am redeemed, and that "Sin" has no authority over me. God's grace and forgiveness covers my "sins." Yet there remains a residue from my failures that is difficult to deal with - the emotional impact of guilt.

This verse helped me get a hold on something today. That although the state of my spirit is not changed due to a particular "sin" (I'm still redeemed, forgiven when I repent, restored in my relationship with the Father, etc.), my soul remains troubled. Disappointment, is compounded by my new hunger to indulge my flesh. I feel guilty, unfulfilled, yet pulled towards sin with more force.

An answer for this dilemma resides in understanding that the battle with my flesh has to do with my wholeness, specifically my emotional well being. Starving my flesh has as much to do with living the "more abundant" life that Jesus promised (John 10:10) as does my walk of faith. It is critical to win this war so I don't sacrifice the peace and joy that is the Kingdom of God. As a "sojourner" it is critical to free myself of the baggage I carry to pursue Him completely (Hebrews 12:1).

Lord, I commit to winning the war against my flesh. To be free of the self-induced condemnation that results from my failures by fighting the good fight of faith against the self-indulgent desires of my flesh. So then to walk in love and joy and peace.

November 26, 2003

Get Serious

1 Peter 4:7
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers

I would have to admit that I have a lot of improvement to do in when it comes to having a designated time for prayer. I find many moments throught the day to converse with the Father, but I want to be more disciplined in a structured time. I'm challenged to do so by this reminder that we are moving ever closer to the return of the Lord.

Be serious. I'm sensing that the need for more time in disciplined prayer is an important matter. What transpires through God's people humbling themselves and partnering with Him has eternal significance. People's problems seem bigger thn ever before. The state of our world requires heavenly intervention. Life is a serious matter. It's time I got a little more serious about my responsibility o the KoG.

Be watchful. I desire to be a man who understands the times and the seasons. The world needs Daniels to whom God will reveal his secrets to so that they would know the thoughts of thier hearts (Daniel 2:30).

Lord, I will be a man of greater seriousness when it comes to prayer. I will be a "watchman on the walls" for my family, my church, my city, and my world.

About November 2003

This page contains all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in November 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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