"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts. 4:13
Just recently I was having a 'heart to heart' with the Father and telling him how unqualified I feel for the things He keeps calling me to do. He wasn't too impressed with my pitiful "I can't" party, but instead reminded me of who I am, and more important than that.....who HE IS. Then He reminded me of a verse that He spoke 15 years ago to me that began to transform my thinking and how I saw myself. It's become a sort of 'life verse' to me, repeatedly calling me to change the way I think.
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world, and the despised things - and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."
He loves taking the 'are nots' and doing something magnificent through them just to show off His awesome glory and power. Inside of every 'are not' is a treasure waiting to be released and displayed for His glory!
I think we get hung up on our weakness, but scripture doesn't ever tell us that we are strong in our natural selves. If we are looking for that, or waiting for that before we move forward, we will always be disappointed. In fact, 2 Cor. 4:7, says that "we have this treasure in jars of clay". And the reason? To "show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us".
This is the message of Acts 4:13. When God's power shows up in an 'are not' like Peter, who cowardly denied Jesus 3 times, the world takes notice. I think many times we feel that our weakness is too much. Too much for Him? What are we thinking? He's the Creator of the Universe! We view ourselves through our natural eyes, but this whole transaction is nothing natural. It has to be supernatural!
So what is my place in all of this? The key is found at the end of the verse...."these men had been with Jesus". My place is just to "be" with Him. I've spent too many hours of my life 'doing' when I should have been 'being'. Someone wisely said that we are 'human beings' not 'human doings'. I love that!
If I hear anything at all, I'm hearing a clarion call coming from the Father's heart to come and 'be' with Him. He really wants to hang out with us. And it is in the "being" with Him that we are transformed.
For whatever reason, sometimes we settle for less. We get infiltrated into this natural world around massive amounts of mediocrity and start thinking that this is normal. Then, a Peter or John walks into our life and we see that there is something different and that there is real love to be encountered and real power to be demonstrated. (see Acts 4:14)
Once we see and touch and taste the more, we are ruined for anything less. At least I have been.
I'll be honest, I've tasted some of the more and it's really, really good stuff. But, I want so much more. Way more.
Father, deliver us from mediocrity and mundane abnormal Christianity. Touch us with your love, then touch us with your fire. Reveal Your glory in us that the earth might be filled with the knowledge of Your glory. Amen.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
They will follow the Lord; He will roar like a lion. When He roars, His children will come trembling from the west. - Hosea 11:10
I love this time of the year and that each new year brings with it a story yet untold. I love the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. It has been my practice for many years now to ask God what it is that He wants to do in my life for the new year and then set my personal goals to coincide with what I hear Him saying.
New Years had come and gone this year and still I had not heard anything. It had been an unusually busy holiday season for us and we had just returned from visiting our daughter in Turkey. Then two weeks ago during Sunday worship I felt I heard Him say to me, "It's the year of the lion". We had been singing a song by Amber Brooks called "Like You Promised", and in the bridge of the song it says,
You come like a father, You come like a brother
You come like a lion, fierce like no other.
You violently chase me down to embrace me
Engulf me in who You are.
Here's Amber singing "Like You Promised":
I began to realize that He had been sending me other "lion messages" and I was just now beginning to understand. Even as I was working on this blog, a friend, out of the blue, posted a beautiful picture of a lion to my facebook page. Go figure.
A couple of months ago we were in California visiting Bethel Church where they have a beautiful prayer house (The Alabaster House) and gardens. I love spending time there and have always been drawn to a majestic lion statue that sits on top of a hill in front of the prayer house. I took a picture of the lion over a year ago and it was stored on my phone along with lots of other pictures. In November we were visiting there again and I glanced at my cell phone one day only to realize that the picture of the lion had mysteriously become my screensaver. I have no explanation for how this happened. Call me crazy, but I like to think that God put it there. I know that when I saw it, something happened inside of me. It was as if hope, promise, love and adventure had all come wrapped in this picture of a lion.
So, what does it mean for it to be "the year of the lion"? I keep thinking about the Chronicles of Narnia and how the people of Narnia were waiting for Aslan to come. They knew that when he came everything would be different. He was the epitome of hope. In Narnia, it meant that everything that had been frozen for years would began to thaw and once again experience light and life. In the Kingdom, it means that Jesus has come to redeem, restore, and bring us into His glorious light and life.
I don't know about you, but I have areas in my life where I need to see the lion come. There are things that could use a good dose of His light and life. But more than this, I just want to experience more of His fierce love. I want a lion hug.
What does it feel like to hug a lion? I imagine that it would be a strange combination of scary, fun, fierce, tender, and fuzzy. I would love to find out! A few months ago I was drawn to this ad that I saw on a friend's facebook page. It so reminded me of what it's like to receive a hug from Him. The good thing is that there are no bars between us.
So, how do I prepare myself for the "year of the lion"? I'm still thinking on that one. But I'm going to be watching and expecting, and I believe that one day soon, just like in the song, He will violently chase me down to embrace me, and engulf me in all that He is.