Friday, July 25, 2008

Turning Hearts

I had a dream a few weeks ago that I wanted to record here.

I am walking into a big banquet hall and there lots of families there. The banquet is for families to honor their fathers. A father stands up and begins to read a biography of his father and telling of his wonderful deeds and sacrifices that he had made for his family.

Suddenly this man’s own son stands up and grabs the papers and begins to read the words. His tone is heavy with sarcasm as he reads the words. It is very uncomfortable to sit and listen as he reads.

As the boy reads the words something begins to happen. As he reads the words, the power of the sacrifices that the man had made began to touch a very deep place in the boy and his voice begins to quiver with emotion as he reads about his grandfather. He puts the papers down and begins to tell exploits of sacrifice that his own father that he has made for his family. The boy explains how this has touched and transformed his own life. The boy shows true honor to his father. It is a very powerful moment. All the angst that the boy initially had has melted away. He has truly been transformed by the actions of sacrifice and love of his father.

End of dream.

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers…. Malachi 4:6

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jesus Justice

Why decree Justice?

I believe we have developed such a skewed view of Justice.. Justice is often associated with punishment or wrath – evening up the score. This is not the Justice that God describes in Isaiah 42:1-4

1 “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or raise his voice in public.
3 He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
4 He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction.”

We want this kind of Justice -- I call it Jesus Justice – it encompasses deliverance, love and mercy. When the spirit of justice falls that means repentance and humbling will occur and that must be in place for true healing and restoration to occur. Justice is not about someone being punished for a wrong doing – justice has occurred when an individual takes responsibility for his actions, has repented for his actions -- asked forgiveness, and seeking Gods restoration in their lives ensuring this will never happen again………….

While I believe negative behavior should have consequences – I also hope that Jesus Justice falls because this will result in heart movement. Meaning that the individual will not only be repentant for their behavior but also will humble themselves and cry out to God for His love and His restoration in their lives……

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Camp of Victory

I remember a time when I did not encourage my daughter to pray for her father’s return to her life. What was that about?

I believe we make choices based on our fundamental beliefs.

I realized I had some disappointments in my life that had manifested into unbelief. I had allowed those disappointments to define who Jesus was to me. My vision of Jesus was not congruent to the true Jesus in the Bible. I love Jesus and had given him my heart …… but my heart was hard.

When we pray, we are standing in faith that God will hear and answer our prayers. God is extending us an invitation to believe and have faith in Him. When we come to God with our prayers …we are accepting His invitation.

In the past, I had prayed faithfully and God had answered….just not the way I wanted…disappointment began to set in. Evidently that disappointment took root and when another invitation came and I did not even RSVP – my heart was hard.

I had a big problem.

The love of my heavenly Father is so healing to the heart. Over time God began to heal and woo my heart…my daughter began asking tough questions – I knew I had to make a decision…was I going to accept the invitation or continue to live with a hard heart?

We have decided to accept the invitation and join the party in the Camp of Victory!

Recently, God gave me the word – Justice to decree over my daughter’s and her father’s relationship. I think this is a word for all children…who have lost fathers.

We decree Justice over the relationship between my daughter and her father. We pray he returns to her life, today! If he does not we will continue to live in the camp of Victory surrounded by a bit of mystery – we don’t always understand but we don’t have to – God has us in His hands!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Just Give

When my daughter and I first moved into the city, she enjoyed the new sights and asked lots of questions. One afternoon as we were driving home, my daughter saw a man on the side of the road holding a sign. He was obviously homeless – tattered clothes and he looked tired.

She asked me what the sign said and I told her the man was asking for money. “Why does he want money, Mom?” she asked. I tried to explain to my six year old the plight of the homeless. I told her the man did not have a home, job, or food and needed money to secure these items.

As she listened and took all the new information in, she quickly replied, “well, give him some.”

Wow! Why didn’t I think of that – the world’s problem solved! I thought about this incident all week – her words had sounded so simple and appealing.

Why didn’t I just give him some money......why had giving to the poor – become so complicated?

In my self righteous mind, I justified my lack of giving him money......because as a good Christian I needed to be a good steward of my money and I did not know what this stranger on the side of the road would do with my money. I was not going to fund foolish behavior.

In my heart I knew this was not right and I was choking on my judgment of this man.

I thought about the Gospels and how it instructs us several times, to give to the poor......I also thought about how God has blessed my daughter and I......I always say, we live “the best life ever.” Doesn’t God want that man on the side of the road to live “the best life ever?”

He absolutely does and I realized that at that moment when we interface with someone in need that we may the conduit for that “life” to begin… give hope. I do not believe I am responsible for what the man does with the money but I am responsible to give with a happy heart.

Since my revelation……have I given every time that I have had the opportunity? I would like to say – yes, absolutely……but that would not be true. What I can say is......I have given more.