Archives For Lent

Maybe it is fitting that such a big word would have a big task.

Intercession. To stand in the gap. To fight for somebody when they can’t fight.

We can interceed or intervene on behalf of a person with our words and our actions. Some of us have been in an “intervention” and it saved our lives.

In this instance I am speaking about the action of intercession or intervention through prayer. This is not to bend the will of God, but instead to join in with the army of heaven in a spiritual battle over the minds, hearts, and lives of others.

For two days God put on my heart a list of people to pray for.

Some He called me to pray for them so that they might find healing in their life. Intercession is powerful.

A few He called me to pray for them so that I might find healing in my life.
Forgiveness is powerful.

I found the peace of the Lord by going to battle.

I would encourage anyone who has been reading this reflection series to take a step back, get out of your own head and intervene in another persons life THROUGH pray. Pray blessings over your enemies. Pray for peace over your loved ones.

My prayers were ones out of Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:18-20

18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[a]

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 3:16-19

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

There is power in the one we PRAY TO. There is healing in the name of Jesus. There is freedom in our God and there is peace in His spirit. Take some time to delve into that.

The ancient and wise philospher, Chumbawamba, once said

“I get knocked down, But I get up again, You’re never going to keep me down”

I have been amazed at my journey so far this Lent. I don’t know what it is this year that is making things so different for me. Maybe it’s the trials and wounds of the last few years. Maybe it is because in a few months I turn 40 and it’s forcing me to take a real look at my life. Not in a “I need to buy a corvette” kind of way, but instead with an understanding that truly each moment counts. Where am I headed?

The apostle Paul said this in Phillipians 3:12-14

12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

I wonder how many moments of my life can be defined by not pressing on to posses the perfection for which Christ first possessed me. Now, I am not talking about ditching netflix or refraining from mindless things. I am talking about the recognition that this “race” set before me matters. My growth in the Lord matters.

I came across a youtube video yesterday that I had seen before, but this time the Lord spoke to me through it.

It was the story of Great Britain’s 400m runner Derek Redmond, whose hamstring snapped during his event but was determined to finish the race at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

He never won a medal. Never made it into the finals. The footage shows him wincing in pain crippled on the ground as the runners next to him get a far distance ahead. Miraculously he stood up with an agonizing pain on his face and hobbled with one leg towards the finish line. When you watch the video it is much more heart wrenching than the written word because you can see every ounce that it took for derek to do what he did. He had made a promise to himself and his father that no matter what we would finish the race. Nothing would stop him.

He got half way and balled his eyes out… Suddenly he felt relief in his battle worn stride as his father ran on to the track, put his arm around derek and helped him finish the race.

I find it interesting that nobody remembers who won this race, but this man who lost it is etched into history.

I love that this same phenomenon happens in the backwards economy of the kingdom of God. The last shall be first.

Jesus set the race before us. This journey towards being more like him, growth, and life-change. However it is OUR choice to run.

Derek fell down… And then pressed on.
Paul fell down… And then pressed on.

Nowhere in the verses paul Writes does he say “sit still… wait”. Even waiting on the Lord requires movement. We still press on to grab hold of who Jesus designed me to be… reaching towards eternity.

Do you recognize what things make your spiritual hamstring snap? What takes you down?

I know my triggers. In my anxiety and insecurity words others say matter. I forget to trust I am who GOD says I am and instead hear the echo of others words rattling in my mind and heart. So I get stuck. I lapse into my comfort zone. I begin to believe lies and somehow convince myself that I need to jump into another persons “lane” in order to defend myself.

This has been wrecking me lately, because I am tired of having my hamstring snap and slamming to the floor. After years of getting wounded a person becomes desensitized to the stabbings instead of pressing on in order to heal or fight.

Then God showed me some things in that video of Derek I never saw before.

  1. This is NOT a footprints in the sand cute poem. It’s real life and in this race set before us God doesn’t pick us up and carry us. He doesn’t swing in an force anything on us.
    Matthew 11:28 ~ “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
    He brings rest and relief from the difficult journey. He puts his arm around us and helps us as we hobble wounded. Then He takes that natural moment of a friend helping another friend and He makes it supernatural as the “great physician” heals our wounds, stops the bleeding, and repairs our “muscles”. He does this as we press on. It is not easy, but every morning we have a choice. Am I willing to trust God and press on?
  2. In order to walk forward with Him in FREEDOM I need to leave the past behind. Typically our options for the past are ignore it or hug it. Jesus says to cast all your cares on Him. Let go what won’t let you grow. 
  3. I never saw it before but At the end of the video footage from derek’s “triumph”, official after official come up and try talking to the dad. One of them is clearly saying that he can’t be there and needs to let go of derek. The father yells at each of them, waves his hand at them and tells them to go away. I have no clue how I never saw that, but isn’t that like our God. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His presence. No weapon that is formed against us can win. The Lord is with us and in Jesus name the enemy and whose who try and convince us we can do life without Him need to leave!

Sometimes life is so hard.. But don’t quit!
There are times when nothing seems to go right and you wonder where God is in it all… He is Emanuel God with us.. He is right there with you.

Your feelings, beliefs and awareness do not determine his faithfulness.
HE JUST IS 
FAITHFUL..

So we can have an attitudee of expectation and assurance that God is who he says he is. We need an attitude that presses on and wants more, but is patient with God’s timing. This is a journey and not a sprint. We have so many things along the way to learn.
Paul wrote this section about 25 years after that day he was knocked off his horse. Notice he is still in process. Still working on his growth in Christ.
This is a lifelong goal. When we make a choice to follow Christ our life is no longer our own.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20

PRESS ON!

 

Yesterday was day 6… I took the word from God on day 5 for silence and tried to be mindful of my schedule, not cram any more into and just breathe the breath of God in. I was stressed with work and time and tried hard to keep the meditation of My heart of the Goodness of Jesus… I succeeded at times and other times failed, but regardless I was still… and I know He is in control.

Psalm 18:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

On day 5 I reflected on the second part of that verse. Today I want to address the first part.

May the words of my mouth be acceptable in your sight, O Lord.

words matter…

Because what comes out of my mouth is directly related to what is in my heart.

I have found that in my most stressed overdone moments, The times where I am just tapped.. All that is left in my is the sludge of my own self. In turn it ends up being that same sludge that I spew out when interacting with people I love. This past week my deadlines have piled up like crazy because my macbook pro died a horrible death. This week was slightly different though because I have really been trying to dig in each day into the heart of God. Somehow, by God’s strength, I was able to.

Nothing mattered more to me than when my wife told me that she noticed that I was trying. I pray I can make a habit of that so that when my heart is turned towards Jesus my mouth glorifies His goodness.

Prov 18:21 “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Life and death are in the power of the tongue. I have been amazed in the years I have been doing ministry that the majority of damage that most of the people that come in the doors of the church with is from listening to and owning something somebody other than God has spoken over them. Broken people do have sharp edges and we not only get cut easily, but we have become word ninjas ready to chop any one down with our mouth katana so we can protect ourselves.

In the beginning was the word…
With a word the our world was created….

Everything begins with a word. 

This is the situation we find ourselves within our workplace, with our children, in our church family and with our spouses… That we can bring life with a word or we can bring death with a word. The question is do we want to begin with a word of life or death. The consequences are drastically different by our choice.

James 3:4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

The tongue might be small but it has the power to control us. Not only does it have the power to control you but it gives you the power to control and steer others.

Freedom and deliverance begins with a word.
Recovery begins with a word.
Repentance and forgiveness begin with a word.

I want to continue this Lent being mindful that what I say matters and affects more than just me. As I look towards holy week I can rest on the words of Jesus as an example as he hung on the cross, which I can never compare my plight to.

He said with a word: Peace; Forgive; Love…

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!

Day 6 reminded me to continue in the patter of day 5. It was an opportunity to just exhale. To be quiet. So for me there is nothing that brings an atmosphere of peace and worship into my environment Like Mozart’s “requiem”.

If you are reading this… Turn the lights out, press play, and let the spirit of God wash over you anew!


I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about what the Lord would bring to my heart today. He simple said “SHH”.

I hate silence. It is kind of funny to even say that because as a dad of 4 kids I am always complaining like and old fart that I need peace and quiet. When will all the noise just stop?! The truth is I am very uncomfortable in the silence.

My teenage years were marked by seclusion and isolation. I was stellar at being different and as much as I craved the “noise” I spent most of my time in silence. This led to years of introspection or what it is more commonly referred to as the dangerous combination of depression and self loathing. This is what I found in the silence. I found that when everything wasn’t noisy what I had left was me.

I love the readings and stories of the Desert Fathers and Antony said it well.

“He who sits alone and is quiet has escaped from three wars: hearing, speaking, seeing: but there is one thing against which he must continually fight: that is, his own heart.”

I find that I am not good in the silence. The war of hearing attacks my heart. The war of speaking reveals my heart. The war of seeing lies to my heart. This is my battle because in the solitude where I should find the whisper of the Lord I find the loud GONG of my flesh.

When I work I also listen to music. When I listen to music It can’t be background music… It needs to be at a good volume. I have my “sound quirks”, but I think it’s because silence is so unnerving.

I was in a music studio once doing a recording. It’s like every single sound had been sucked out of the room. It was dead and a bit disturbing. We don’t realize it, but even in solitude or silent spaces there is still so much noise.

“Be still, and know that I am God” – (Psalm 46:10).

Such a hard verse to apply. Even when I am still my brain is going a mile a minute. Even when I am quiet my heart is not.
Yet it is in this stillness that the Lord wants to speak to me.

As the disciples are tossed around on their ship in the chaos and noise of a storm Jesus steps into that storm and says “Peace be still”. All of a sudden there is silence and in that silence is awe and reverence for the Prince of peace.

Psalm 19:14 says “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

I will get to the words of my mouth in the next day or two, but todays reflection needs to speak more to the meditation of my heart.
Today my prayer is that it would reflect the peace of Jesus and that I would be still…
This doesn’t need to be a long reflection because I know what God is speaking to my heart and He can speak it simply to me.

Today I fast the NOISE and the war of my heart so that I can hear the voice of God in the sound of silence.