"BUT I HAVE RAISED YOU UP for this very purpose, THAT I MIGHT SHOW YOU MY POWER, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
~ Exodus 9:16
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Over the past few weeks, there has been a common message being spoken to me. Lord, Jehovah God, the King, the Master, the Lamb that was Slain... He alone has the POWER! His WILL is SOVEREIGN! He has a MISSION! And he wants each and every single person to come to him in awestruck wonder, because he has revealed the Mystery to us. Incredible...
I've never been much of a person who saw a whole lot of value in the rhetorical practice of legalistic praying... So, the "Lord's Prayer" has never particularly interested me. It is so casually quoted by both Christians and non-Christians all over our country, and across the world, that it has lost some of its absolute majesty in the grander scheme of things.
In meditating on this passage, there is so much to ponder... so much that my mind is unable to grasp. Some things seem so simple, and some things really challenge my faith... but it is so undeniably POWERFUL that I felt compelled to write about it.
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The Lords Prayer
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE." [For thine is the KINGDOM, the POWER, and the GLORY, FOR EVER AND EVER, AMEN.]
~ Matthew 6:9-13
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Coming out of a broken home, the search for a father figure has been incredibly important. My earthly Dad, whom I now (with the help of Jesus) am learning to value and see for the God-given gift that he is, was somewhat absent in my life growing up. I got to see him from time to time, but that male role model was missing for the better part of my childhood (I hold no bitterness towards his absence and I forgive him whole heatedly in the name of Jesus Christ)... I missed having him for the little things, for those times where I feel that it really would have mattered to have him around. In those times, when I felt that I had no one to go out before me and lead, when there was no one to help me pick up the pieces, when I was lost and couldn't find my way home, when I was crushed by the demons and evil spirits, or lying on the floor at the foot of a bed where I had given myself away to a man whom I should have never given my all too... that is really when my Abba Father stepped in. He did show up and go out before me as my Jehovah-Nissi (Lord my Banner), he was there to help me pick up the pieces as Jehovah-Rophe (Lord my Healer), he was there to lead me home as Jehovah-Rohi (Lord my Shepherd), he was their to protect me from the Evil One's army as Jehovah-Magen (Lord my Shield), Jehovah-Gador Milchamah (Lord my Might in Battle), and Jehovah-Ma'oz (Lord my Fortress), and he was there with me at my all time low beckoning me to come back to him as Jehovah-M'gaddishcem (Lord my Sanctifier). My Abba Father, my Dad who is above all things was with me through it all... and continues to be my Father today as Jehovah-Shammah (Lord Present).
I love my earthly dad, I always will. There is nothing he can do to harm me; nothing he can do will ever make me stop loving him, because my Heavenly Father is by my side.
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In the beginning God created the HEAVENS and the earth.
~ Genesis 1:1
Have you ever thought of the absolute grandeur of those first ten words? How big is this God we worship? None of us can comprehend
He is omnipotent (unlimited in his POWER), omnipresent (everywhere at the same time), omniscient (all knowing), omnificent (all creative and able to fix that which needs fixing), and he resides in a very special place where his glory shines for eternity!
So many of us long for Heaven, and I think both Christians and non-Christians, have a built in desire to be with the Lord (we were made to glorify Him after all). I have been watching the anime Wolfs Rain recently, and I could not stop thinking about this search for heaven as Ive been going through the series. The story is build on a pack of wolves and their search for "paradise." Many along their journey have searched for this transcendent plane, but just like the narrow gate, few are able to find it (Matthew 7:13-14). This appetite is further explored in a new book that one of my friends has recommended for me to read
it is called The Final Quest. The series of three books journaling one mans (Rick Joyner) visionary encounters with God in Heaven
this passage was highlighted by the time I got the book from my friend:
You have tasted of the heavenly realm, and no one ever wants to go back to the battle once they do. No one ever wants to leave the manifest presence of the Lord. After the Apostle Paul came here, he struggled for the rest of his life as to whether he should continue to labor for the sake of the church or return here to enter into his inheritance. His inheritance was magnified the longer he stayed and served on earth. Now that you have the heart of a true worshiper, you will always want to be here, and you can, whenever you enter into true worship. The more focused you are on Him, the more glory you will see, regardless of where you are.
Oh my goodness!!! How POWERFUL!!! And how amazingly true! I know those times when my heart is totally opened up to the Holy Spirit in worship I feel like I can be ruptured on the spot
how I long for that! I know that inside my spirit there is this deep longing to go be in the presence of the Lord, away from the sin, this body of death
I want to gaze upon the presence of the Lord, falling over as if dead every time (like John when he had his vision of the Lord in Revelation 1:17). Which sounds hilarious, but it is the total and honest truth!
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"... hallowed be your name..."
When I was taking this photo, I was in awe of the strength that God has woven into his creation (Jehovah-Bara or Lord Creator). These leaves are a dark, dark, dark, almost black color on top, but from underneath... Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and many other colors burn with radiance in the light of the sun! What a testament to his creativity and infinitely perfect passion for detail (What an analogy for what our Christian walk is like; as sinful beings which are evil, yet, when the Son shines through we burst into color that steals the worlds breath away!). I remember thinking, How almost deceptive that tree was
But I know that God had a specific purpose in mind when he created that tree: to have that tree scream, Glory, glory, glory is the Lord God Almighty!
And with everything I have I want to scream that as well! Praise, honor, and all glory are unto Jesus Christ the redeemer of the lost souls!
(This is also why I find taking photography of natural creation so fulfilling. Its all about capturing a fraction of Gods creation and honing in peoples focus on that one little detail
Nature continues to be more impressive than anything man can dish out any day, and rightfully so.)
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your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
"BY THE POWER OF YOUR ARM they will be as still as a stone until your people pass by, O LORD, until the people you BOUGHT pass by. You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance the place, O LORD, YOU MADE FOR YOUR DWELLING, the sanctuary, O Lord, YOUR HANDS ESTABLISHED."
~ Exodus 15:16 and 17
There is so much I want to say in this section
Im not entirely sure where to begin.
While I was writing out the section on
I had a thought come to mind that I never really got to express there (but easily fits here), and it is this: It is absolutely possible for us to experience the literal place of heaven while here on earth, here and right now. If my mind could only comprehend that
because on the one hand I know I have experienced this, on the other hand I dont think I can correctly communicate what it is like and have that explanation do the experience justice.
I think this blows my mind because as a whole, let us face it, the earth is not even close to heaven. God reigns supreme in heaven! But here on earth there is a battle between the powers of God and his heavenly host, and the powers of Satan and his army of spirits and demons. You want to talk about warfare
I cant imagine what goes on behind the scenes in the spiritual world. Though, Ive seen enough to last a lifetime, and I would like to think that what I have experienced is minor in comparison to the whole picture.
When it comes to spiritual warfare, especially when it came to my seasons of enduring demonic oppression, I often thought of this passage:
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.
"Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"DONT BE AFRAID," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the HILLS FULL OF HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF FIRE ALL AROUND Elisha.
~ 2 Kings 6:15-17
What really is beyond what we see? I know I have briefly spoken of these demonic portions of my testimony in the past, but I think that as a Christian, you must acknowledge the fact that we are in the middle of a grand battle.
But you know what the really cool thing is? Its all part of Gods overarching story and plan. That is why this is one of my favorite sections of this prayer, because it clearly reiterates a promise that we find all through scripture: God is absolutely sovereign and has ultimate POWER to carry out his pleasing and perfect will, and not only will he do so, but he will do so before all men, all creation, before the enemy and his heavenly host. He will carry his will out to completion so that all of existing creation will do nothing but acknowledge that there is but ONE GOD!!!
It just continues to take my breath away
There is so much peace in knowing that victory will come to those who love the Lord, and that his plan will be completed in the end. Especially, since the world we live in is starting to get more and more corrupt each and every day. The Christian faith is starting to be weeded out of all culture
Christian brothers and sisters around the world are being martyred for their faith, while many men are being deceived into the lies that kings of nations are gods, and that salvation is found within the governments of the world. The love of money and material things blinds them from seeking ABSOLUTE TRUTH. Men sacrifice their relationships with their wives to chase empty dreams
Women leave behind broken and dead children in the wake of their inconvenient pregnancies
Children have no foundation for anything, and they spread hate and death like a plague across the lands
People preach peace but practice the art of shaming and robbing
Thievery is no further than any one persons fingertips than murderous slander is from ones own tongue. Yet even this, is in accordance to Gods will.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, HE GAVE THEM OVER TO A DEPRAVED MIND, to do what ought not to be done. They have become FILLED with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
~ Romans 1:28-32
This I dont understand
God, you eternally love, yet through scripture you are also ETERNALLY WRATHFUL! You HATE that which is not of you
and many will receive their due penalty for their wickedness
It brings a fear and sadness to my heart that I cannot even express. I know as a sinner I deserve total separation from you. But you made redemption PART OF YOUR PLAN! Why? Why are we so important to you, when all of your creation obeys your every command and does not turn its back on you? Why do not all men reach out and take it hold of salvation? Own it? Why do they hate you so? If it was not for Jesus Christ, I would not be alive
And you know that about me. You know that sin, open and willful defiance is still a part of my life
And every time I harbor bitterness, look at pornography, take something that isnt rightfully mine, not speak up, or not reach out when you call me to Im re-nailing your precious Holy Son to the tree!!! Driving spike after spike through his hands and feet, ripping his flesh and tearing at his hair
why on hearth are we so important to you???
Why include us in your plan? I dont have an answer
but you chose to
And I submit to your will, so that your will may be done on this earth as it is being done in heaven. So that you may somehow use me, use us; use whatever you have to, to carry out what you wish.
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Give us today our daily bread.
At this point, I must confess, Im not so much thinking about the bread we eat (our daily sustenance), or even much about being fed spiritually through scripture
the Bread is Christs body
What Jesus had to endure on our behalf is insanity
Today, give us a reminder of what the broken bread symbolizes, LEST WE FORGET THE PROMISE THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS ALREADY FULFILLED, AND WILL FULLFIL FOR ALL ETERNITY. Bearing the wounds, our sins and trespasses, he hangs from that tree with JOY!
LET US FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith, WHO FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM ENDURED THE CROSS, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
~ Hebrews 12:2
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Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
I think, for many people, that taking scripture and applying it to ones own life is incredibly difficult. Its very easy to see how it should impact others (to point out the speck of dust in your brothers eye, like in Matthew 7:3-5), but often it doesnt seem to work that way when we attempt to put our foot down and change our individual lives.
Over the past few years, my live has been in a constant period of refinement that has not slowed down
The process of dealing with the core roots and issues in my life has been a real walk of faith, and is often very much a painful process to endure (but God has brought me this far and I expect him to continue in the future). One of the biggest roots to be uncovered was my un-forgiveness towards myself for my shortcomings, which was born out of the lies of Satan
sewn in very discretely through my growing up experience.
The first seed to be sewn by Satan was when my parents divorced. He actually made me believe that it was because of something I did, EVIL JERK! He told me that if I worked hard enough, that I would be able to earn my dad back, and time after time, I failed to bring him home. What a burden for such a small child to endure
To be given the responsibility to bring home the head of the household
May Jehovah have his way with Satan for his treachery!!!
But that was just the beginning
I grew up in everything arts you could possibly do. Theatre, choral music, painting, drawing, photography, dance, playing the violin, etc
and the worlds message is this when it comes to the arts realm: THE QUALITY OF YOUR PERFORMANCE, or work, DIRECTLY DEFINES YOUR WORTH AS A PERSON. You are no greater than the sum of applauds you receive and the praise that you get
And as an artist, if you hear that message long enough, it can destroy how you view yourself as a person. Similar to the sports realm and pop culture of today, the message is get to the top. Be the number one! Outside, I was the best at everything I put my mind to, and I never bothered with the things I knew I would fail at
cause it was all about me being on top. Unfortunately, the inside of me was longing for normalcy, to be the one who was nothing special.
On top of that, Satan used both little boys and grown men to instill doubts about my role as a man. It seemed that their goal in life was to take their cheap shots and humiliate me publicly every chance they got. I was ridiculed for being weak, for being emotional, and for not being of a competitive spirit. Completely denying the kind of strength it takes for a person to endure such opposition day in and out.
Are you gay? they asked repeatedly.
Are you a boy or a girl? those little children inquired of me.
I can still hear one of my seventh grade teachers saying, You are a stupid, emotional choice maker, and you are never going to go anywhere in your life. Its amazing how words so strong can resonate years after they are said.
Anyway, last summer, my pastors wife gave me a book to read. It is called, A More Excellent Way by Henry Wright, and the book focuses the scientific study on spiritual healing, and how we may be free of strongholds in many different aspects of life, but mostly when it comes to illness and disease.
There is a passage that talks about what happens when a person cannot love himself or herself, as well as what happens when we are unable to forgive others. And this is where I was at a year ago (Also I just wanted to mention that it has been my experience that un-forgiveness towards self or others can have tremendous effects on the body. I went through a spell of extreme illnesses that have now been healed because of my un-forgiveness
But now that I am learning to forgive, these strongholds have disappeared entirely, or are receding as time goes on.):
I think that sometimes we create theologies based on our lack of knowledge. The beginning of all healing of spiritually rooted diseases begins when you make your peace with God, and accept His love once and for all, accepting yourself and accepting others.
If you do not love yourself, you cannot love your neighbor. You may pretend you do. If you do not love yourself, then you cannot love your neighbor, because you are unable to receive their love. PEOPLES INABILITY TO GIVE AND RECEIVE LOVE TODAY IS A TRAGEDY.
Forgiveness is so important. Its so important to understand that as Christians (and maybe youre not one yet still reading this) we are called to forgive. Forgive one another for our faults, misdeeds, and mistakes, because we are all broken, incomplete, and faulty (though through Jesus Christ we are made whole).
I want to end this thought with a few things. The first is that, Im very passionate about my testimony and the things that have occurred during my short, almost, twenty-two years of living. I have no regrets of what I have endured, and to the best of my ability I try to forgive and keep on forgiving those who have wronged me. I dont know why God has allowed me to endure so much, but I know he has done so for his purposes and his glory alone.
Second of all, the section that immediately follows the Lords Prayer, there is a very real and somewhat scary challenge to Christians. I believe that scripture is inherent and is literal in all its aspects (though I admit that I do not understand many large portions of scripture and have to lean on faith alone rather than explanation). I dont know why, but many Christians will teach the first half of this and stray away from teaching the second. This is one of those challenges that you have to go before God himself and let him lead you
because there are consequences for disobedience, and here the consequences are steep.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. BUT IF YOU DO NOT forgive men their sins, YOUR FATHER WILL NOT FORGIVE YOUR SINS.
~ Matthew 6:14 and 15
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And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Technically, this is the end of the prayer as it is seen in the bible. The, For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, amen, was added later, and I feel simply reiterates exactly what the prayer is about in its essence. In the bible it moves directly into verses 14 and 15 (as seen above) to end this section on prayer.
This last portion is also a huge section.
I think that this particular line speaks to the heart about many different things. The first of which is that there seems to be a misconception about God, and that he tempts us into sin. I guess Ive never really thought about it before, but that is really a blasphemous statement to make
God is everything sin is not. We, as humans, have free will and it is because WE SIN that breaks our relationship with Holy God. So, to say that God has the capacity to do that which is wicked, would mean that we have a fallen god, who fell short of his own standard, or that he does not exist at all. But HE IS STILL AND ABSOLUETLY HOLY.
I think that it is interesting then that this phrase starts off the way it does. I feel like it is almost like when Abraham was pleading for the people in Sodom (Genesis 18). God heard Abrahams cries because he was burdened for the people there, and he didnt want to see Lords destruction come to them. I think that Abraham, VERY HUMBLY, was testing out Gods character. He wanted to know that the Lord was going to follow through with what he said he would
and I get that same vibe here. LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, YOU ARE HOLY AND WITHOUT FAULT, DONT LEAD US INTO SOMETHING THAT CONTRADICTS THE VARY NATURE OF WHO YOU ARE. WE DEPEND ON YOU TO BE ETERNALLY CONSISTANT, FOR IF YOU FALL OUR BELIEVES ARE IN VAIN.
Jehovah-Mephalti means Lord my Deliverer
Through my life, my short life, I have seen God deliver me from many things, but I have seen him deliver many others from even greater and more distressing things, and it serves at a testament to Jehovahs awesome POWER!
The enemy, the fallen angels of Satan, Satan himself, cannot steal us away from the love of God.
I LOVE THIS VERSE SO MUCH:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in CHRIST JESUS our Lord.
~ Romans 8:38-39
What an incredibly promise!!!
I actually do not have the words to express this concept
You are the great I AM, and YOU ARE OUR DELIVERER FROM EVIL.
As we patiently wait and seek the return of your Son, Jesus Christ, we continue to engage the enemy in battle, heads held high, the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) in full use, always pushing forward in perseverance towards the goal.
Therefore, SINCE WE ARE SURROUNDED BY SUCH A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSESS, let us THROW OFF EVERTYHING THAT HINDERS and THE SIN that so easily entangles, AND LET US RUN WITH PERSERVERANCE the race marked out for us. LET US FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith, who FOR THE JOY set before him ENDURED THE CROSS, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT GROW WEARY AND LOSE HEART
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I feel that there is so much more to say; yet I know I am incapable to speak further
All my words have been spent, but I know and believe whole heartedly that God will fill in these holes as time goes on
turning this random and abrupt ending into something glorifying to himself!
GOD, MY ABBA FATHER, WHAT TREASURES ARE HIDDEN IN THIS PRAYER!!!
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