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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Compelling Love

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For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge(distinguish, conclude) thus: that if One died for all, then all died…  II Corinthians 5:14-21

Today’s verse holds a perplexing truth for us, written directly to the professing church of Jesus Christ. Paul is (according to the Greek dictionary) in a strait, taken with, afflicted in, arrested by and convinced of the truth from Christ’s love. So much so, he stakes his life on a shaking and life-transforming conclusion: If One died for all, then all died… , died to all of the old way of living, doing, and loving. And as Jesus died for all, those who now live in Christ live no longer for themselves, but for Jesus who died for them and rose again for all!

Today one of the world’s most adamant accusations against Spirit-filled Christians is that of being judgmental. If one was to read Paul’s letter without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Paul might be considered “judgmental” also.  In I Corinthians Paul doesn’t sugar coat, water down, or overlook the place of the “old life” or carnal practices threatening purity of heart in the church at Corinth. Now in his second letter He clearly affirms and reminds them of the answer to their every crossroad of decision by boldly presenting the truth of the new covenant, a new life in Christ and life in the Spirit.  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (5:17).

Paul gives a reason for his boldness by declaring that the compelling love of Jesus is the only motivator for his preaching the glorious mystery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the ministry of reconciliation, the miracle of purification and the marvel of life transformation. This emphasis in II Corinthians is also to you and me who profess to have His life within us. Do we have and live the same compelling Calvary love of Christ who gave Paul the unrestrained confidence of proclaiming the miraculous truth of Jesus – so all would know Jesus for Who He truly Is, even if it costs us our reputation…our life?

Paul is writing these letters to the Church of Jesus Christ. They are chosen to be ambassadors for Christ in the sacred privilege of proclaiming the gospel. There is nothing judgmental in Paul’s heart, only the compelling love of Christ. He longs for the body of Christ to know, live and remain in the reality of Who He is so that they may overflow Jesus in a culture where every problem, pressure and pagan  practice confronts them.

Like the Corinthians, we have the incredible privilege and challenge of partaking in the God-given ministry of reconciliation. We are in day three of the forty days set aside to intercede for hearts needing His compelling and transforming love. It is fitting for us to hear Paul’s admonition to the Corinth believers: Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you  (II Cor. 13: 5)? We must live the truth, share the truth and pray the truth with Paul and judge thus for  we no longer live for ourselves but in Him who died for all and rose again (I Cor. 5: 15-paraphrased)! Continue Falling into Jesus….PRAY!

 

Falling on His Sufficiency

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Falling on His Sufficiency
by Charity Hardman

And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:31b

 

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I doubt it. There are days when I don’t feel like a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). After changing 3 messy diapers in a row (alternating between a 2-month-old and 22-month-old who messed while I was changing the 2-month-old) while trying to squelch squabbles between their older siblings and do laundry and prepare lunch, sometimes the next “thing” causes frustration to overwhelm and pour over in a reaction for which I must apologize. In those moments, Satan whispers, “You’re not sanctified. You’re no different than you used to be. All you do is fail. You can’t do it all.” And you know what? On one point he’s right. I can’t do it all. I can’t do any of it. And the more I try, the harder I fall. But when I learn to fall on Jesus before I try, He can do it all through my “earthen vessel” (2 Corinthians 4:7). “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient” (2 Corinthians 3:5,6).

The psalmist had a grasp on this reality.  Be exalted O Lord in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power (Psalm 21:13).  Keep my soul and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You (Psalm 25:20,21). As I pray “Give [me] this day [my] daily bread”, I recognize my hunger for His power in me to live above the world so that His kingdom comes in my life and the lives of those I contact. I am powerless even through practice. “Practicing” peace, love, joy, and patience is to no avail. The only practice that produces results is practicing the presence of the One Who is peace, love, joy, and patience. How do I practice His presence? By acknowledging His reality. Requesting His guidance. Seeking His face (Psalm 27:8). I must choose the higher road when it hurts. I must obey His commands when I’d rather fulfill my demands. I must yield my “rights” to experience His righteousness. I must  live no longer for [myself], but for Him who died for [me] and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15).

The question is, do I want  a more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31)? When faced with the choice of responding to frustration with ferocity, hurt with hate, disappointment with distress, do I deliver myself to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in [my] mortal flesh (2 Corinthians 4:11)? Oswald Chambers said, “Every part of our human nature which is not brought into subjection to the Holy Spirit after experiencing deliverance from sin will prove a corrupting influence. We are not delivered from human nature; human nature was created by God, not by the devil; it is impaired, and enfeebled, but it is not sinful. The first creation retains the remnants of God’s handiwork; re-creation is the building of a spiritual habitation, ‘an habitation of God,’ and all our effort is to be spent is disciplining the natural life in obedience to the new creation wrought in us through the Spirit. If I refuse to make my natural life spiritual by the slow process of obedience, my religious profession becomes a disgusting hypocrisy.”

“Oh, Father, today I fall on You. I admit I am of myself no better than I was when You redeemed me. All glory for the beauty and growth evident in my life belongs to You, who always leads [me] in triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).” Will I allow myself to be led? My answer is “Yes!” And He has led me! I am different! I have developed new habits! Satan rarely even uses the “You’re not sanctified” line anymore because several years ago I settled that question with God and it’s no longer open for discussion. His tactics keep changing, evidence that I’m growing in grace! I am  being transformed into [His] image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18), and He  gives [me] the victory through [my] Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved [sisters], be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor (of daily obedience and growth) is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57,58)!


Charity is a stay-at-home wife and a mother of four (2.5 months, 22 months, 5-year-old [today!] 6 year-old). She homeschools the two oldest and teaches Sunday School for adults in her church. Charity, her husband and family live in Riverton, Wyoming.

Things Unseen

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Things Unseen
by Joanna Coppedge

‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.’BUT it was to us that God revealed these things by His Spirit.

 1 Cor.2:9-10

Daniel 10 overwhelms me. Read it again. We read that The WARRIOR OF LIGHT, who is supposed to come and respond to prayers and meet needs, is delayed. For 21 days Daniel had been feeling completely isolated and in this battle ALONE. He did not hear a word from the throne of grace, not even a glimmer of hope, only silence. Yet he prays on, fasting, mourning, desiring, waiting and unbathed as well (vs. 3).

What are you crying out for passionately? What has so possessed your heart, you don’t eat or bathe, without bringing it to the Father’s attention? Who is on your heart? What people group do you carry to Jesus daily? Has the situation changed? Have you wondered if God has forgotten you? Do you ever feel like Daniel, lonely and alone in the battle (help us, Jesus!)?

In verse 10 Daniel receives this message: YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this battle. From the day Daniel called out, help was sent. The throne of heaven heard the first thought of a petition that agreed with God’s heart and sent a response IMMEDIATELY! But help was delayed for weeks. Sometimes we fail to realize that there is SO MUCH going on in the unseen world. The enemy has tricked us into a fluffy, inconvenient, things don’t go my way view of spiritual warfare. We blow off the battle being fought to the death around us daily, around our children, our husbands, and churches, even our enemies. We ignore it for the most part.

Yet once the warrior of LIGHT breaks through enemy lines and gets to Daniel, he ministers to him so sweetly. “Daniel (insert your first name), You are very precious to God.” Imagine what Daniel might have thought, and how we often feel when prayer seems to be unanswered. “What? I thought He was ignoring me? I thought if he was letting me suffer like this, He didn’t care?!” The whole future of God’s people hangs in the balance, waiting for an understanding of this vision, and God’s message to His man is, you are very precious to me. I LOVE THAT!

So, I don’t know who you are crying out for. I don’t know what burden you have allowed, invited Him to put on your heart, but I do think I know what He thinks of YOU! You are precious! Believe it. It’s a word from the WORD. You are precious! Yes, dirty, hungry, ruffled YOU!

I think believing God is as important as obeying His next command: Do not be afraid. That is a command from the throne of grace, not merely a good suggestion. Do NOT be afraid! The not fearing part was put right in there, as the depth and intensity of spiritual warfare is revealed: I was battling to get to you this whole time. Powers unseen were holding me up. Really. Do you believe that?! Incredible!

Paul tells in our New Testament reading that we need the Holy Spirit to reveal to our spirits the things unseen, the spiritual realities (end of 1 Corinthians 2). Are you willing to ask Jesus what is going on in the spiritual realm around you and your family? Do you feel bold enough to ask for eyes to see? What is the unseen battle in the world He desires you to participate in? You are precious to Him, and you need not fear.

Back in Daniel 10, an overwhelmed and anxious Daniel is touched a second time (LOVE THAT) and is told again not to be afraid because he is precious to the Father, just as we are. Believe that! And as Daniel experienced, the great battle is revealed, and more of the Truth and Word is revealed at the same time! What a joy and hope, to know Him more and see His truth revealed, to see more as He sees!!! We can live as He desires us to, falling forward into more of HIM!

Joanna Coppedge serves Jesus as a missionary mom of four daughters, currently living in Scotland as her husband, Billy pursues further education.

Lord, Take Me to the Fire

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Lord, Take Me to the Fire
by Deborah TomlianThen King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nationand language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you! I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.  For he is the living God, and will endure forever.  His kingdom will never end. 
He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth.He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions”

Daniel 6:25-27

 …I watched as thrones were put in place and the Ancient One sat down to judge.  His clothing was as white as snow, his hair like purest wool.  He sat on a fiery throne with wheels of blazing fire, and a river of fire was pouring out, flowing from his presence.Millions of angels ministers to him;many millions stood to attend him. Then the court began its session and the books were opened. 
Daniel 7:9, 10 NLT

Idols! Idols! Idols! They are everywhere.  Every day they are battling for the throne room of my heart and mind.  They come in the form of materialism, money, sex, achievements, family, friends, work, entertainment, self and many more. An Idol is anything that vies for my affections from the One True Lord and King. In the book of Daniel we see much idol worship.  In chapter 3 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were brought before an angry King because they had refused to bow to his god.  King Nebuchadnezzar gave them another chance, again they refused. The king wondered what God could rescue them from his power.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the King,  “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.  He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t we want to make it clear to you that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up (v.16-18)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had had an encounter with the living God.  No other God would ever satisfy their souls.

The King, now more angry, demanded that the blazing furnace be turned up seven times the heat.  He ordered his strongest men to bind up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the furnace.  The fire was so hot in the furnace that the soldiers who threw the Hebrew men in were killed. Suddenly, in amazement the King shouted out, “I see four men!   Didn’t we tie up and throw three men in?!” As the king counted, he again came up with four men, and the fourth was like that of the Son of man! The men were unbound, unharmed and walking around the fire. Nebuchadnezzar got as close to the fire as he could and he called each by name recognizing them as servants of the Most High God. He called them to come out and come here (from v. 19-26).

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. They were untouched by the fire; no smell of smoke was upon them, neither their clothing nor their hair was scorched by the fire.

There are times in our lives that the furnace is turned up; we do not have the strength to go through the fire alone.  Three men were thrown into the blazing furnace, four walked around, three men walked out, “Where is the Son of Man?”  … He is still in the fire! We may feel bound, weak, and unsure if He will pull us through, but when we are willing to die for Christ, rather than serve or worship any other god, we have a heart satisfaction that says, “Lord take me to the fire!”

 The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.  Psalm 12:6

Deb Tomlian serves Jesus as a pastor’s wife and mother in Pennsylvania.

From the fields white unto harvest in Africa we are privileged to hear from the heart of another one of our harvesters. This week’s scheduled Autumn Harvest readings so ministered to Kelly Hallahan she wanted to share her gleanings with us. I pray we will all read both Deb’s and Kelly’s  ”grain for gleaning” causing us to fall on our knees before God for His purifying fire in our lives and around the world.

In Psalm 10 we read about the wicked and evil men who prey on the weak and helpless.  There are so many corrupt leaders and politicians around the world!  They are doing as they please and prospering while the people they were chosen to serve suffer in poverty.  But God sees! How my heart aches for all the small people in the world oppressed by wicked leaders.

And, praise the Lord, in Daniel 6 we read that God can put His man (or woman) in high places of authority and accomplish His purposes even when corrupt leaders try to thwart Him.  We are here in Uganda working with university students that we are praying will be Daniels and Esthers in the coming generation!  We are discipling and training the 1% of men and women in Africa who get a university degree and will, by default, become the next leaders of their communities, families, and perhaps, countries!

Even as I pray against corrupt leaders, and beg the Lord to ARISE, I am seeing Him answer as we hear about alumni from our ministry in places of authority (as high as personal advisor to the Vice President of Kenya!)! Praise the living God  who endures forever, whose kingdom will not be destroyed and whose dominion will never end!

Grateful to kneel alongside you, even from Uganda!

Kelly Hallahan serves Jesus through WGM Uganda. She and her husband Josh focus on discipleship of university students. Read more at Hand in Hand with the Hallahans.