Posts filed under 'noteworthy posts'
One of the most awesome ways in which a believer can enter into the blessing of being Christlike is to emulate one of the simplest ways of being like Jesus: helping to brothers in conflict reconcile with one another. In relational conflict, the one who aggressively pursues reconciliation between the two offended parties and helps bring true peace is one who is beginning to lay hold of the very mission statement of God Himself in this age. He loves reconciliation.
As someone wise once said, “He’s a family man!” He loves it when the brothers get along “horizontally”, and when any kind of true reconciliation takes place amongst the family members than His heart is glad. This is why there is so much in the scriptures regarding relational issues and the necessity of loving one another. In fact, this was the whole content of the beloved disciple’s message in the final years of his life. Love one another.
His love for unity amongst His people is indescribable. That one would navigate the pathways of desire to find themselves kneeling before God thirsting for His presence, hungry for His heart, zealous for righteousness, tender in heart, meek in spirit - how could such a journey not lead a man to experience true love for those around him? How could such pursuit for God not leave one thirsting to love the ones that He treasures, hungering to climb the mountain of God with awesome comrades who bear the same marks of passionate pursuit?
This longing is one that He has placed deep within the heart of every man and woman - the yearning for true brethren that constitute those whom we could link arms with as we go together into the deepest depths of the treasures of God. These divine treasures were made to be uncovered with others who have a similar hunger, desire, and passion for truth.
I am thankful for the gift of what Allen Hood calls “corporate revelation”. It is one of the gifts of Psalm 133, or the “commanded blessings” that descend upon brethren who dwell together in unity. It is our privilege to sharpen one another in our knowledge and understanding of the scriptures. It is our glory to share nuggets of insight and truth with one another, from various perspectives and sensibilities that constitute the diversity of gifts and thought processes of the body of Christ. We truly can go farther together than we can alone - and it is God’s sovereign design that it work according to that pattern. Why?
As human beings with prideful natures, we have a tendency to fall into the trap of the most insidious expression of pride: self-preference. We love our own perspectives, ideas, opinions, and styles. We become easily annoyed and thrown off by the sensibilities of others. Often, when you are capable or gifted, it just seems easier to go it alone. While we may hate loneliness, we love to isolate ourselves into a self-preserving effectiveness that enables us to continue to champion our own cause.
God, on the other hand, had a better idea. It’s called “diversification”. He spreads spiritual gifts and natural talents around to many people with varying degrees of strength and intensity. He creates a glorious variety amongst His people. Then He throws us all into a room together. How glorious are the collisions! He has created a built-in system that demands humility and love for one another knit to our intrinsic need for one another. We can’t make it alone.
We need one another as comrades who labor for the common good, friends who champion one another’s destinies, and cheerleaders who keep one another in the game when we stumble in discouragment or failure. We need to grow in love, trust, and meekness that we might grow together and enjoy one another as we enjoy God. We need to learn to become good brothers so that we can become true sons. He is delighted by the journey of brothers learning to be good, faithful, and loyal brothers - that they might learn in turn to become good, faithful, and loyal sons. He loves reconciliation!
This is one vital and important aspect of the glory of the “peacemaker”. The one who fights for relational reconciliation according to God’s heart does so not for personal gain or emotional relief. The one who fights to be reconciled to his brothers according to the heart of God has touched the zeal of the Father for His sons to love one another. It is a window into the divine delight of the Father that longs for unity and honor amongst the brethren. As a loving Father, He desires reconciliation and intimacy that is more than vertical. He longs for horizontal intimacy.
It thrills His heart to see bretren dwell together in true, spirit-empowered, tender-hearted, meek and lowly, honor and grace filled unity! This is the dream of His heart for the age to come. There is a coming day in which we will love one another with the love of Christ, with no selfish ambition and vain conceit, with no fear or mistrust, with supernatural wisdom, understanding, insight, and perceptiveness fueling our thought life about one another. We will speak the heart of Jesus to one another. We will enjoy one another in unimaginable ways. We will weep with joy together as we explore the depths of Christ together.
Knowing this, my prayer is that we would be empowered by the zeal of the Lord to walk in forgiveness and tenderness towards one another. The “perfect” that is coming is something that we are challenged by the word to strive to walk in today. It is not okay for the brethren to hold things in their heart towards one another. In fact, it is not okay for brethren to sit still when they know that someone else has an issue with them! That is why Jesus commanded that we go to a brother when we know that they are offended (Matt. 5:23-26). He was charging us to be agressive and spiritually violent in our pursuit of reconciliation. There are some who have a clear heart towards their friends, yet are still passive in this regard - they often will choos to wait until the offended party takes the initiative. This is not the heart of the peacemaker.
We must be those who love true unity - brethren agreeing together in lifestyle and biblical values, honoring and enjoying one another in Christ. The journey involves much relational labor, time, and energy. The one who endeavors to be a true son of God, however, will take on the heart attitude of the peacemaker. They will be the ones who decide to fight for the love of God in every relationship and situation, regardless of the personal cost.
Blessed are they, the true sons of God!
April 11th, 2007
After a brief hiatus from the “Sermon on the Mount” series, I want to get back on track with a critical question that really should challenge me to the core of who I am and what it even means to be a Christian at the end of the age. My point is not that I want to give this challenge, but that Jesus Himself did, two thousand years ago. He raised the bar towards the end of the Beatitudes, when He invited us to become “peacemakers”. Jesus had something in mind when He spoke those words that goes well beyond how traditional theological streams define the blessing that comes to a peacemaker. It was His stated intention and awesome promise that those who lay hold of this heart reality would be called sons of God.
Five hundred years of protestant theology has taught us to think of this phrase in the “positional” sense, as an aspect of our identity that is “automatic” or bestowed to us in the moment of our new birth. The moment we said “yes” to Jesus as Lord and Savior is the moment we became “born again” into the family of God. “Behold!” John spoke in his first letter as he meditated on this stunning truth, “what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” John continues to develop this awesome sentence in a manner that was meant to provide insight into the manner in which God views us as he emphasizes, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
It’s a breathtaking statement that gives the believer a concrete definition of their present position before God as well as a future glimpse into the implications of that position. John’s words were meant to give us both confidence and hope. So I agree that to primarily view our identity as a son of God in a positional manner is correct and beneficial to our growth in God. Yet the scriptures consistently speak of the “already, but not yet” manner in which Jesus establishes His kingdom promises. Thus Peter could be called a “rock” of steadiness long before it was actually true of him. The kingdom of God was at hand in the days of the first advent, but the fullness of what Jesus proclaimed was yet to come. This is why John concludes his statement about our identity as chldren of God with this: “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies Himself, just as He is pure.”
In other words, John understood that there is more to being a “child of God” than simply a positional reality at the new birth or theological statement of identity regardless of our lifestyle. John identifies our coming transformation as a future hope that must stir us into present holiness and purity. In other words, one can be in the family yet not be a true spiritual son. A true son is not satisfied with the designation of sonship, but longs to be found in truth as one in whom God is “well-pleased” as we live before Him. A true son longs to be like his father - just as Jesus wanted to reflect His Father in heaven. Jesus did not simply call Himself a Son of the Living God, nor did He appeal to His identity as the Second Person of the Trinity. He actually embodied and exemplified the meekness and humility of His Father as a true and authentic Son - and thus the Father was well-pleased with Him.
This same princple holds true with the modern concept of “spiritual fathers” and “spiritual sons” that at times oversimplifies and waters down the high and rigorous call on those who endeavor to be one of those two things. Many want to be a father or a son - but it takes more than simply having an older man spend time talking about life with a younger man. It takes more than a younger man “carrying the bags” of an older man and making his life and ministry work better, while learning a few tips along the way.
To be a true spiritual father, one must have an rich inheritance in God to give to a true son. There are few true spiritual fathers around the nation today. Few give themselves to a life and pursuit of the things of God that ignite a fire in the inner man. Few are willing to endure the demands of such a life in God - to go somewhere in paving the way that others could emulate and follow. Even fewer are willing to do so in a manner that is exceedingly generous in spirit, that true sons could be (and would be) actually given the inheritance by a father who is not concerned with personal gain or honor but longs to honor his sons.
Again, so much of what passes for “spiritual fathering” today involves older men and women in ministry that are happy for gifted young adults to make their lives and ministries better. While I appreciate training and leadership development, this is not really “spiritual fathering”. Other times, this false reality is expressed in a relationship based mostly on entertainment without God’s purpose at the center. What is the issue? It is common and assumed as a right that is automatic by young and old alike without first exhibiting faithfulness. The spirit of entitlement often sets the culture of a ministry in a wrong place, hindering the process of fathering.
A spiritual father, first of all, must be faithful to God in order to be ministries with substance in God that young people are provoked to imitate. Spiritually boring older people will not be able to function as spiritual fathers, rather, they must have something to give. The test of a leader is to look behind to see if anyone is following you; if no one is following you, then another cannot make you a spiritual leader.
As Paul said, “It is required in stewards (fathers & children) that one be found faithful.” (1 Cor 4:2) This works both ways in the concept of “spiritual fathering” - the reason for its rarity is also found in the corresponding need for faithfulness in the “children” as well. For sons or daughters to have a spiritual father requires that they be faithful, teachable and “able”, or gifted, who are committed to reproduce in others. Paul talked about this in regards to Timothy - who was one of the only men Paul called a “son” (Titus being the other) in all the years he ministered:
The things that you have heard from me…commit…to faithful men who will be able (gifted) to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own…You know his (Timothy) proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. (Phil. 2:20-22)
Paul lamented the lack of young men who were “like-minded” - which speaks of a faithfulness related to the scriptures and kingdom values that Paul embraced and embodied in life. There had to be “follow-through” on the part of his potential sons by which they gave themselves faithfully to the labors of Paul. As Paul prayed, fasted, taught, and lived, so those who endeavored to be a son to him had to do the same. This rarely happens! The result is that spiritual fathering is not real common because of the low numbers of faithful older people linked up to faithful younger people.
I have shared a little bit about what true spiritual fathering is, but not much about what a true father does. That is beyond the scope of this discussion - and beyond the scope of Matthew 5:8. The core issue is this - many want to rest in their identity as a child of God, yet few want to labor in faithfulness to be found blameless at His coming (1 Cor. 1:8), or confident and unashamed at His coming (1 John 2:28), having been perfected in love (1 John 4:17). Because my hope lies in the completion of His work in me, I purify myself - just as He is pure.
Why? I want to be like Him. I yearn to be a true son to my Father in heaven. There is much that He will give me as a member of His family - but I believe that He will give mor, both today and tomorrow, to those who are found faithful. The parable of the talents in Matt. 25:14-30 bears this out as true. I am not satisfied with a positional reality - I want to labor for internal and external reality as one who is called a “son of God”. I want to be authentic - and authentically like Jesus. I want my lilfe to be a reflection of what matters to Him and what He values. I want all of my heart attitudes to exude godliness and holiness. This is what I believe is knit to the heart attitude of the “peacemaker” - the one who is able to bring reconciliation will be known as an authentic son of God, through and through.
Of course, the depth and the extent of that reconciliation is the topic of tomorrow’s second part. An authentic son who receives an inheritance from His Father, knit to faithfulness, will partner with Jesus to shift and change regions.
March 26th, 2007
I find a few things slightly tragic and ironic at the same time this morning. It is frustrating to me that I have been too busy with my leadership responsibilities over the past few days to write about Matt. 5:8 and the promise of Jesus to the pure in heart. I find it ironic that I was in tears in Allen Hood’s office yesterday over the tension of being given more leadership while simultaneously yearning for more time to pray, fast, and go deep in the word. I find it tragic that my leadership responsibilities make it very difficult for me to do an extended fast that is not a corporate one. I find myself in a great tension clinging to hope that desire and longing “counts” before God as I struggle to navigate laying hold of a true life of prayer and not simply the reputation of having one. I want to have what Jesus invited me to have - a pure heart. Pure desires. A longing for the only thing that matters - intimacy with God.
Jesus made, to the “great multitudes” that had gathered to Him on that incredible day on the front end of His earthly ministry, an audacious promise. Really, the promise Jesus made to those who labored to cultivate a pure heart cannot truly be appreciated by a modern audience. The Jewish audience that had come from the southern boundaries of modern Turkey to the borders of Egypt were understandably stunned at His teaching. I, personally, find it shocking that the multitudes were “astonished”, as Matthew says (Matt. 7:28-29), at His teaching and His authority. Why am I shocked? Because Matthew tells us that they gathered to Him in the first place because of His fame that had spread throughout the region related to Hid unprecedented displays of power to heal and deliver the sick and tormented.
He healed “all kinds” of sickness and “all kinds” of disease among the people. (Matt. 4:23) Yet they saved their “astonishment” for His teaching. Imagine laying hands on someone and dramatically healing them, only to have them be astonished more by your sermon afterwards. That, in my opinion, is authority in teaching. It is also the point of revival and signs and wonders - not that we would pursue them as an end unto themselves, but that they would serve as a gateway to bring people into stunning truth and propel them into a rich and vibrant relationship with the living God. In many ways, the whole of Jesus sermon and ministry was about this incredible promise found in the beatitudes.
What was so stunning about the promise?
Simply this: Jesus said that the pure in heart would see God. He did not put a qualifier on it. He did not add, “…after the resurrection.” For the Jew (and for the theologically-minded), this promise then was unthinkable. God Himself had said to Moses in Exodus 33:20 that “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” How to reconcile this divine paradox? Was Jesus contradicting the Father? Now we can understand a bit better the astonishment of the Jews and the authority (and audacity) of Jesus to promise such a thing. For we know, as One who only did what He saw the Father doing, that the Father Himself is the initiator of the invitation and promise. If I CAN see God, than I want to pursue the possibility in THIS life. How far will He let me go in pursuing Him?
This is the essence of “pure in heart”. To be pure in heart is more than being clean in heart. To be pure in heart is to be of singular desire, to be engaged in wholehearted pursuit. To be pure in heart is to want nothing more or less than God Himself. God will give you the desire of your heart - He longs to give you your exceedingly great reward. That He desires to give me the absolute best reward possible is the reason that He Himself is the reward. It is not enough, however, to set this promise aside as an esoteric future reality relegated to “someday”. The measure to which you desire God in your life now is the measure to which you can have God in your life now.
“Hungering and thirsting for righteousness” is about, in part, God transforming our desires and what we hunger for to line up with His desires. The transformation of our desires has, in the plans of God, a destination, a place He longs to take us in the journey of love and what we cultivate in our hearts. The end of the journey is a complete and total, all-consuming desire for God Himself and nothing else. No competing desires, no love for the things of this life, and no friendship with this world. What a destination! This is where I want to go and what I want my life to be about, with all of my heart. I want to be truly abandoned and fully given. I want this and pursue this in the hopes that this audacious promise could somehow be true - that I might, in my life, see God.
I want to see Him as John did in Revelation 4. I want to see Him as Paul did in Acts 9. I want to see Him as Daniel did in Daniel 7. I want to see Him as Ezekiel did in Ezekiel 1. I want to see Him as Isaiah did in Isaiah 6. I want to see Him as Moses did in Exodus 33. All of these men saw God before they died, before they were resurrected, and before they were glorified. I could add many more to this list. Why not me? Why can’t I take the promise of Jesus seriously and make my life’s pursuit, my “life’s work” as it were, the labor of longing, cultivating, and pursuing - whose payoff is the possibility of seeing God with my eyes and being marked in my heart forever?
So it is that I weep at times in regards to the responsibilities the Lord gives me. I trust His leadership. I love His ways. I will be faithful and diligent (in my weakness) and labor daily to maximize the talents He has given me to establish a kingdom value system in whatever it is I put my hands to. Yet I cannot shut off the yearning within me. I cannot ignore the pain of my heart, and the secret fear that grips me - what if God, in His perfect leadership, is raising me up as an example to many, an example of how easy it is to get thrown off course? What if part of my purpose is to teach the generation that follows how hard it is and how narrow the way is? There is more of a price to be paid. There is more of a cost for me to lay hold of. There is a deeper and more intense place of holiness I must yet find by grace.
I am trembling, but hungry. I am weak, but resolved within myself. I am carnal, immature, and foolish. Yet I have this advantage - by grace I see the way ahead, and the destination that is alive as the dream of my heart. I know what I long for, more than money, comfort, honor, fame, and even the power and blessing of God. I know what I want my life to be about, and I will fight the good fight with the best of my strength to lay hold of something more than flowery prayer language and the ability to teach a few scripture passages. I want God.
One thing I desire, that will I seek…
February 28th, 2007
The beatitudes constitute a whole garden of heart attitudes that are awakened within the believer at the new birth. Even before we “feel” or consciously and naturally express those heart attitudes, the work must begin immediately to care for and nurture those tender, immature plants. Before we receive a revelation of eternity, we must begin to mourn. Before we fully understand the aspects of independence and pride that drive us to react to the people and situations that irritate and wound us, we must work to learn meekness. Before we yearn and long for holiness, we must still live holy before the Lord in full obedience. Obviously, we will fail miserably early and often in this pursuit.
Not only are the beatitudes a simultaneous reality that we must grow and cultivate, but they also constitute the natural progression of our hearts before God as we journey from immaturity to maturity. Cultivating each successfully through the grace and power of the Holy Spirit makes it much easier in many ways to lay hold of the next one in the progression. A true revelation of our spiritual poverty and great need naturally can lead us to mourn deeply for the absence of God in our lives and homes. We are humbled in the process; thus we stand before God broken, weak, and truly dependent as a result. If the “plants” of spiritual poverty and mourning are healthy realities in our hearts, it doesn’t take as much work to be meek before God and man.
Then, along the way, we grow in our desires for the things of heaven. Supernatural longings lay hold of our hearts and we grow in thirst for the establishment of righteousness. Not only are we continually mourning the lack, but we now have a corresponding thirst for the fullness of God. Desire for righteousness and the things of God do not necessarily translate immediately into success in living obediently and diligently on a daily basis, however. Even now, the sting of failures past chasten us and check our prideful, self-congratulatory tendencies, as if the Beatitudes could be reduced to a kind of spiritual “checklist” to be accomplished on the way to glory.
The limp that we walk in as we begin to emerge with authentic, Christlike maturity then serves as a continual reminder of our spiritual poverty. Rather than exult in our current success as a mature believer, the failures and glories of our journey to this phase in our development help make our hearts tender towards the Lord. We become thankful and filled with gratitude for His faithfulness and continual work in our lives. Chastened but bold, we are growing in our courage to go before Him in prayer and supplication to ask for more grace. As our hearts become more tender, our inner man becomes more alive, and we in turn become more responsive to His voice and His leadership in our lives. We are becoming authentically prophetic in the process of becoming a true man and woman of prayer.
This is a glorious reality to embrace as a believer who endeavors to know the Living God. In the journey we find ourselves continually impacted in a new way by the scriptures we read, the messages we hear, and the prayers we pray. The thoughts we think are different. The emotions we feel are being transformed. Through the first four beatitudes our heart has been pierced, it has ached, it has yearned, and it has grown stronger in our internal resolve to lay hold of the heart of Jesus. Jesus spoke of this reality as the “flowing heart” - as He said in John 7:38: “…out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” What you sow in your heart, you will reap magnificently in regards to the abundant activity of the Holy Spirit in the area of your emotions.
This is critical for the next heart attitude that Jesus is jealous to see “flow” out of a living reality that abides within us. Jesus is jealous for us to be a truly merciful people. He was speaking about something wholly different than pity, but He was speaking about something a bit deeper than compassion as well. There are elements of compassion, or a deep identification with the suffering and trial of others, that will be dynamically connected to the one who becomes merciful. More than identification, however, is delight. God longs for His people to participate in His deep delight and enjoyment of people. This does not happen quickly, naturally, or easily.
We can only love and enjoy people to the measure that we feel loved and enjoyed by God Himself. As His love and passion for us settles the storm that rages within us related to our true identity and confidence, we become increasingly free-hearted. The wounds and failures have tempered us. The love and tenderness of God have softened us. We begin, over time, to truly believe that God finds us “lovely” in the darkness and immaturity of our present unrenewed and carnal condition. We actual feel and experience His delight in our desire to reach for Him and live holy lives even before we are able to find a measure of “success” in the place of obedience. That we would desire to be obedient and loyal to Him is as enjoyable to God as it would be for us to hear our own children express such desires.
That our children would truly and sincerely want to be obedient would fill our hearts with joy and satisfaction. Even if, in their inexperience, youthful zeal and idealism, and sinful condition assure them of failing at what they have set their hearts to do, we still are delighted that they are trying. Because they are sincere, we will fight for them and exhaust our resources to help them succeed and learn to obey and live faithfully to what is right and good. Comparatively, God calls our attempts to give good things to our children “evil” compared to the perfect love and leadership that flows from His heart towards us as a passionate Father. We cannot fathom the transcendent depths and heights of the vast ocean of God’s love and delight for us as we strive to obey His commands in the name of love.
This revelation changes everything. Our identity shifts dramatically from what we can produce for God through our labors, titles, and positions in the body of Christ, to who we can be and become in Him by grace. Our identity and confidence begin to flow from His abundant love and tenderness towards us as we grow in Him. Self-importance, competitiveness, and ambition begin to fade. True confidence, boldness, and deep resolve to be great in His sight begin to ignite within us.
Then, the most astonishing thing begins to happen - and quite naturally (and quite supernaturally as well). As we become tender towards God in faith we become tender towards others. As we enjoy God (and feel enjoyed by Him) we begin to enjoy people. Rather than seeing people through the lens of what they can give or take away from us, we begin to evaluate them on an entirely different set of values. We do not judge them by their success or failure. We are not annoyed by their weakness and shortcomings, but neither are we awed by their accomplishments and abilities. We enjoy them for who they are. We become thankful for them. We begin to see them in the same manner that God does. We begin to evaluate them in the same manner that King David did. This is what he said:
“As for the saints who are on the earth, ‘They are the excellent ones in whom is all my delight.’” (Ps. 16:3) King David had a bonfire ignited in his heart for people - for believers who loved God as he did. He saw them as excellent comrades, not as resources to help him accomplish his goals. He needed them to build a successful kingdom, but those kinds of considerations ran a distant second to their true identity and value as fellow pilgrims on a journey. Their journey and the reach of their heart for God was as endearing to him as it it was for God. David began to delight in the sincere reach of the heart by an immature believer. He began to grow in his delight, respect, esteem, and desire to fight for them to give his resource to help them succeed at their pursuit. He became a true father for authentic “sons” who responded passionately to the invitation of the Lord.
This is our journey as well. The limp of past failures and the cultivation of a tender heart both work together to make us truly and authentically merciful. we don’t just “show” mercy, we become merciful. The heart reality and posture of our lives exudes and expresses mercy. To love God is to love people. To enjoy God is to enjoy people. As we make the first commandment (to love God) our top priority the second (to love people) will be natural and easy. True love will flow out of the depths of our heart and we will be compelled by what is burning within us to serve. The one who becomes merciful will do even more than serve, however.
They will lay down their life for a friend.
February 21st, 2007
I am not what would be known as a “dispensationalist”. Among other things, one who believes in dispensational theology believes in what is known as the “pre-trib” rapture theory. Any who have heard me teach and preach know my stand on that viewpoint. There are many other ideas associated with the pre-trib rapture theory that I disagree with beyond what I feel is the most grievous error, that being the idea that saints will be removed from trouble before the worst of it comes to the earth. The main idea, that there are different “dispensations” or eras in which God deals with humans differently, is one that is filled with error. Most do not connect with the details of dispensationalism; they only know and cling to the popularized idea that has filled the church in the west.
Thus, the dispensational idea that this is the “Laodicean hour” of the church has much truth to it; the great irony is that the theory itself has greatly contributed to the present lukewarm condition of the church. There is, however, a deeper reality fueling the current “pop theology” or the embrace of preaching and teaching that “tickles the ears” and comforts the carnal mind. The greater problem facing the church is a severe lack of hunger and thirst for righteousness.
As an intercessor, I readily and easily connect to this passage in Matt. 5:6. As I have undertaken the journey of prayer over the years I have seen a dynamic thing happen within me that has given me hope. My desires have changed. The things I want and long for have changed. I feel within me the beginnings of a little flame that represent an ache within me to see the righteousness of God established in my life and in my city. It is a real and holy aggression that has seized my heart, a stirring deep within my inner man that has provoked me to press and cry out in the place of prayer. I spend my days praying Colossians 1:9-11 -
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy…”
This is my daily prayer. More than anything else, I want to be fully pleasing to the Lord. I want to know what is on His heart for me, for my life, and for my city - and walk in those things. I yearn for the establishment of the righteousness of God in my life. I long for the divine order of God, true justice, to be expressed through me, my family, and pervade my region.
My wife and I were driving the other day with the kids. We passed an old woman in the passenger seat of a car moving in the other direction. She was severely mentally handicapped. Right now across the nation, the advancements in pre-natal screening allow parents to know in advance whether or not they should keep kids with potential birth defects and mental retardation. Before I could finish the previous sentence, the arrow of God’s zeal over this issue struck my heart with great intensity. I wept for 30 minutes and have been stirred all day over this great and grave injustice. I said to my wife on that day, speaking of the old woman we passed, “imagine a time not far from now when Jesus is King over Jerusalem. You will never see that kind of infirmity again on the earth. She would be fully healed and free from the effects of the curse.”
I imagine an earth free of the injustice of sickness and infirmity under the leadership of Jesus and His glorious power to heal. Mankind, today, is imagining a world free of sickness and infirmity by aborting the weak and the broken. Beloved, this expression of darkness, this terrible injustice, this grave and murderous agreement with the spirit of death must be driven from the earth, never to return. That the righteousness of Jesus would be established in my city, that my children and their children would know a world without abortion and murder, is the great longing of my heart. I am stirred with an indescribable hunger to see the righteousness of Jesus, the light of His truth, and the plans of His heart fully established and expressed here.
As an intercessor, I will fight for this all the days of my life. In the place of prayer, I will go to war, together with my King, against the works of darkness and the expressions of wickedness that permeate the structures and cultures of my earthly home. I despise them. These mocking spirits, these wicked demons, these dark and insidious beings that long to be enthroned fully over my city - I will give them no rest in the place of prayer and worship, night and day, until the peoples of Kansas City, Missouri burst forth into singing, praising the name of my God. I will not rest until every knee bows and every tongue confesses Jesus as Lord in Kansas City. Oh! What a day that will be!
I stand on the promise. He who is already working in me to transform my desires - to love what He loves, and to hate what He hates, will be faithful to complete that work of righteousness in me. What I hunger and thirst for is changing. My appetites for the inferior delights, pleasures, and comforts of this world are diminishing rapidly. I yearn to become a true friend of the Living God. I long to hunger and thirst at a whole new level of desire for the deeper, higher, and greater things of His heart and kingdom. I long to experience a new depth of yearning for the understanding of His word and the knowledge of Him who loves me and prepares me for encounter with Him.
That hunger then transforms into an even greater thirst and ravenous desire for the transformation of my family, church, and city. I will not rest until I see the fullness of the promise He makes to me daily from the Beatitudes: that as I grow in my hunger and thirst for the things of another age, I WILL be filled.
I will not be truly satisfied in the deep places of my soul until I am filled with the fullness of God - all that I can have in this age and the age to come.
February 20th, 2007
One of the most overlooked phrases in the Bible is the promise that the “meek shall inherit the earth.” It’s too incredible of an idea to ponder in regards to the actual implications of inheriting the actual earth. The paradigm of my spiritual family allows for us to “skip the pleasantries”, as it were, and go right for the meat of the definition of meekness. That’s what I so enjoy and value about the place I live and work on a daily basis - for the thousands that interact with IHOP-KC on a regular basis, “inheriting the earth” is a normal idea. Many have long passed from being awed by that thought and have put their head down to grind away and take seriously the mandate to be meek before God and man.
It is still important, however, that we understand what constitutes one of the most critical phrases in the entire Bible. This phrase, that God delights in meekness to the extent that He would give the planet to the man or woman who walks in it, then becomes our window into an otherworldly value system. It punctuates what our Father in heaven believes is the most critical thing to have on a “global leadership” resume. What qualifies a man to rule before the Sovereign King of the Universe? What establishes us as worthy to receive such an incredible gift from Him? Is it automatic that every believer will receive this gift?
For many in the church today, God has become so sovereign that everything related to godliness and humility has become an automatic reality. Only God can do a thing or perform an act, and it is our lot to simply hang on and enjoy the scenery. When it comes to the things of blessing and rewards from the King, salvation alone is the qualifier of man whose full sanctification is assured by the only One who can escort us into the fullness of His heart. This assumption is partially true. As believers, we have a tendency to allow the pendulum of our understanding regarding the leadership of God to swing wildly between the two extremes of overwhelming sovereignty and the autonomy of man.
We cannot play God’s role in our journey to please Him. We cannot will ourselves to some kind of glorious internal transformation of the heart, nor can we renew our own minds. It is imperative that we as believers understand that we can never “graduate” from the reality of our own spiritual poverty. We did not have the resource to climb out of our own destructive pit at that time; we do not have the resource to be transformed by the renewing of our mind today. We mourn because we long for the in breaking of God’s power to do what only He can do in our lives and in our world.
The critical point that is missed by many, however, is that God is more than an initiator in the events and lives of the peoples of the earth. Many have been content to leave their life in God at that, always waiting for God to do His part - yet never sure why He seemingly does not and growing bitter and disillusioned over the years in the waiting. There is much delay in the leadership of God, but much of their waiting for God stems from the reality that God is waiting for them. God is both initiator and, in His stunning humility and tenderness towards us, He dignifies our lives by also acting as a responder. He does not respond to a passive waiting for something to happen, He responds to the aggressive, spiritually violent (Matt. 11:12) posture of waiting that is personified by the believer that is fully given to the day in, day out fight to obey the will of God “until”.
In the waiting, I am ever seeking to cultivate. My heart is like a garden. Only God can make it grow, but I can in the meantime care for it by feeding it the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. So I “feed” on the word of God (Job 23:12); but Jesus said that proper diet for the heart included obedience as well (Jn. 4:34) - “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me…” The lifestyle embodied by the Sermon on the Mount is the necessary diet of the believer that cultivates the heart attitudes that the Father longs for us to lay hold of. To those who honor God by walking out His will, He is a responder who will hear the cry of our hearts and give us what we seek (Matt. 7:7). We have not because we ask not (Jas. 4:2).
Thus it is imperative that we do not perceive “meekness” as a personality trait but a necessary attitude of the heart that must be pursued and cultivated with much work and struggle. The quiet introverted one does not have an advantage over the boisterous extroverted one in this fight. We are warring with our own prideful, independent, stubborn nature to walk in authentic meekness. God will help us in this if we ask. He will give us grace to do the thing, which is inherently unpleasant for us. He will empower us through the Holy Spirit to win the fight and grow in meekness. The victory will come only if we continue to fight to be meek in the years that it is greatly frustrating and unpleasant to do so. The victory comes when, over time, He changes our hearts to grow in enjoyment of meekness and the manner in which it attracts His favor.
Meekness is different than humility in that one is a response to what others initiate while the other involves how we view and perceive ourselves and those around us. True humility makes it much easier to walk in true meekness. Yet while we are lacking in humility we must still fight to respond rightly to that which God and men do to us and around us. The common definition of meekness is “strength under control”, but I find that to be an incomplete definition. There is an inherent gentleness and submission to true meekness that goes beyond our own ability to govern our passions and desires and translates into true submission to the dealings of God that break our self-will and self-sufficiency. We shift radically from independent to dependant as we come into a true heart attitude of meekness.
True meekness is embodied by the Shulamite bride, emerging from the wilderness of testing and trial “leaning on her beloved” (Song 8:5). She loves her Bridegroom wholeheartedly, thus she wisely leans against Him, for she has acquired a “limp” in her journeys to find and cleave to Him. The “limp” is the necessary shattering of our own power and strength (Dan. 12:7) in a manner that leaves us fully dependant on God as our only source of life and strength. Israel, who is the subject of the Daniel 12 passage, enters into this reality involuntarily in the dealings of a jealous God, who is zealous to bring her into the fullness of what He has purposed for her. The believer enters into this journey voluntarily. The measure to which we submit and surrender to the dealings of God is the measure to which we cultivate true meekness within our heart.
It is to that measure that God determines our inheritance: leadership of the earth itself.
February 19th, 2007
It strikes me this evening how conditioned we are by both culture and pride to either miss or avoid one of the greatest gifts God can give us by grace: spiritual mourning. In the natural sense, it is easy to see why this would be the case. One of the most powerful realities of the kingdom is also one of the most foolish to the peoples of the earth. It is the one aspect of our faith that reduces the gospel message in its current, popularized form, to almost total irrelevance if one had the boldness to add it to the evangelistic presentation. Who wants to sign up to “feel bad”? Isn’t the gospel about true joy and a free heart? Why would mourning be a necessary component to spiritual growth and maturity?
The most powerful reality that we can enter into in this life is agreement with God. Amos asked the pointed and convicting question to a people who assumed they had relationship with God - “Can two walk together unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3). A major part of my journey in God is expressed through a continual hearing of the word, believing it to be true, and changing my life to conform in obedience to the superior way of righteousness. I listen to the word and believe it because I love Jesus, and that love spurs me on to do what He commands. In giving my life to the superior way of His commands, I am doing so because of the continual hope I carry that my obedience will have a glorious “payoff” in this age and the age to come. I want to encounter and walk with God in deep and dynamic friendship.
The fruit of my life and the reality of my brokenness and sinful heart express the truth about my heart and mind. There are many areas where I find that I disagree with God and do not like His leadership. I am, in many ways, conformed to this world - I embrace a subtle and quiet friendship with this world and forget that this world is not my home or my friend. How many areas in my life and heart do I find that I am in “enmity” with God, and often prefer the comfortable and the normal to the narrow and hard way of obedience that seems to have no immediate satisfaction? This world is passing away, John told us so long ago, and the lust of it; but He who does the will of God abides forever. (1 Jn. 2:17)
Lust (or ambition) is the vain pursuit of self-satisfaction, the selfish and endless desire for the externals in the hope that they will satiate the internals. They never do. Thus we run and pursue and chase the things that we have set our heart upon with great expectation; we find ourselves disappointed often when we arrive at lust’s destination. It is greatly disheartening for those who chase riches, honor, and power as a means of satisfying the craving within them to arrive at a place of rest only to find that the things they pursued only cause more internal and emotional disruption when they obtain them.
God’s ways, and the way of righteousness, are far superior to our ways.
The war to lay hold of this truth with conviction that permeates our soul intensifies greatly with the gift of mourning. One can only mourn in context to the measure and degree one possesses a vision for fullness. What does it look like when the righteousness of God is fully established in my heart, my life, my church, my city, my nation, and my generation? It is not enough to have a revelation of our great problem. It is not even enough to be aware of our spiritual poverty in regards to our inability to solve that problem. If we do not move into the grace of God to mourn we are candidates for depression, cynicism, or apathy. Mourning spurs us to act on our problem. Mourning provokes us to move towards God. If we do not mourn, we cannot progress into maturity in Christ.
We mourn because we have seen the destination, and caught a glimpse of what God has purposed in His heart to birth in us and on the earth. The gap between the present reality and the future hope then pierces something deep within us that hurts greatly. For the ones who had conformed to this world, the renewing of the mind leads to both agreement and a painful awareness of the extent to which we have fallen short of His vision for our lives. There is a corresponding awareness of the extent to which our spiritual family and city have fallen short - and a greater ache to the one who stumbles into this realization. In hearing the word of God, conviction has gripped our hearts, formerly dead to such cares, and the pain is palpable. The vision of the fullness of what we can have and who we could be does more than stir us with a firm resolution to obey - mourning awakens something far more powerful in the area of agreement with God. It awakens a disgust to turn from the inferior things that hinder us from walking in the fullness of God, and stirs a related longing for the superior things. What a gift!
It is one thing to know what is wrong, and it is another to recognize and believe in the right way to go. It is another reality altogether to feel the initial stirrings of pain and conviction that are the opening salvos of God’s grace to declare war against sin and lay hold of righteousness expressed in our lives. It is mourning - feeling - that leads to the eventual transformation of our desires and deep agreement with God that Jesus called “hungering and thirsting for righteousness”. These early stages of mourning and repentance are invaluable in our journey to that place of internal transformation. How many are confronted by their spiritual barrenness and are content to feel nothing? How many are “comfortably numb” when confronted by injustice, unrighteousness, wickedness, and sin pervading their lives, their homes, their cities. How many are content to make peace with the socially acceptable sins and compromises that constitute “normal life” - a life of lesser than and just short of?
The one who mourns will not be denied - for he will not be comforted by anything less. She will not be comforted by anything inferior. They will not settle or be satisfied by the pat on the back, the little promotion, and the temporary and inferior comforts of this world that would fool others into thinking that they are “okay” or “good enough”. Many surrender in the weariness and stop knocking on the door of God’s heart. The one who truly mourns by grace can never stop knocking and they can never stop pursuing the things of God. They will mourn the rest of their lives until the desire of God’s heart is fully expressed on the earth, as it is in heaven.
Why in the world would someone voluntarily sign up for this pain - for the rest of his or her natural lives?
The answer is simple. They’re homesick, and they won’t settle down in a foreign land and pretend that they’re happy there. Until they get to go home, they’ll never be fully or truly at rest.
February 16th, 2007
I’m going to, over the next few weeks, explore the Beatitudes and their impact on my life and yours. This is, for me, one of my favorite subjects in all of scripture, and so I want to get my thoughts down on these vast and critical subjects related to our spiritual growth and maturity. I started last week with my entry on meekness. We are all on a journey in the leadership of God, and partnership with Him along the way involves agreement with the heart “attitudes” He longs to birth and cultivate within us. The exploration of these internal realities provides glorious insight into a heavenly value system that is radically set against the foolishness, frivolity, and vanity of the things of this world. I want to connect with a value system that turns my heart and my world upside down.
There is no more important moment for a man or a woman than when they encounter a Holy God for the first time. This first encounter is really our first encounter, but in truth the Holy Spirit had long been brooding and stirring in our lives, in an external and internal sense, calling and inviting our hearts to come home. The Lord longs for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, as Paul once said (1 Tim. 2:4). God is searching the whole earth, calling all men to Himself as He searches for any who would come into agreement with Him. He is looking for friendship with men. Thus, the moment of encounter when we are first confronted with Him and by Him is one in which we are reoriented to take a journey that culminates in deep, voluntary agreement with His heart and mind.
Our journey is one that begins with connecting, by grace, with the reality of our spiritual poverty. One of the most glorious moments in our entire existence is the moment in which we are confronted with the painful reality of our complete lack of resource to accomplish anything noteworthy. When the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes to us and reveals our sinful state He also shines the light on our inability to do anything about it. It’s the problem of no resource - we can’t get ourselves out of the shameful pit we have dug for ourselves in our delusion and pride; only the divine “rope” offered by the Lord can set our feet on a rock and “establish our steps” (Ps. 40:2).
This same problem gripped the heart of the prophet Joel, thousands of years ago. An insurmountable problem was facing Israel, and the people were largely ignorant of their impending crisis. Fixated on an immediate, natural crisis, they had (as they had done for quite some time) overlooked their internal or spiritual crisis. Their spiritual crisis, their internal corruption, was leading to their destruction. They were destroying themselves. Thus, they were on a collision course with God Himself, who was intensely committed to stopping them before they could succeed. The great and terrible (Joel 2:11) judgment of God that was coming was about more than wrath and holiness, it was about a God whose plan for these people was so critical that He had to cut out, with a surgeon’s precision, any in their midst who threatened that plan to birth a Savior and King. It was also about a God who was committed, in His deep love for them to go to war against all of their enemies who threatened their destruction - even if the enemy was them.
Thus there was an unavoidable problem - if something did not change they were on a collision course with God Himself. There was no army, no earthly amount of finance, any shelter or protection from this grave threat. There was no resource on the planet, external or internal, that could save them from what was coming in regards to judgment. Who could endure what was coming to them?
This is the terrifying reality of my own spiritual poverty. My life was on a collision course with a holy God, with terrible judgment awaiting me if something didn’t change. Only, I had no power to change anything! My initial moment of “awakening” was the moment I came face-to-face with my own poverty of spirit and my great need for divine resource called grace to awaken my heart to love the things of God and empower me to do those things. This, of course, is a continual, ongoing reality. I can never graduate from “poor in spirit” in this life. I will have to continually “fight the good fight” of faith (2 Tim. 4:7) by continually seeking resource from heaven to resist temptation and sin while being renewed in my thinking (Rom. 12:2).
This was God’s solution for Israel when facing national crisis. The crisis was the context to provide an external “push” or impetus for them to come to the end of themselves and seek the face of God. It was God’s kindness and mercy that led to the raising up of Babylon to sweep into Israel to destroy it. Without the external crisis or trouble, Israel would have been blind to the internal cancer that was eating away at them from the inside. It was the crisis that caused them to become desperate and seek the only true solution - sincere repentance with prayer and fasting. This was to be for them something more than a momentary gathering, or an occasion - this was to be a lifestyle of continual prayer meetings and solemn assemblies that marked them as a people before God. The gatherings would train them in a different mode and reshape the way they thought and approached life as a whole.
It is the same for me. I need more than an initial awakening, or a salvation experience in which I am confronted with my internal corruption - the deadly cancer of sin. I need more than the initial encounter with God that stirs me and spurs me to pursue Him both for relationship and internal transformation. I need an ongoing awakening, one that happens on a continual, daily basis. I need to continually present myself before the Living God in all of my spiritual poverty and great need and see Him as Jehovah Jirah - my Provider, my divine resource, my sole source of life and hope. Once I connect with Him as One who can provide the more necessary thing - internal resource or supernatural grace - I can be empowered to love and pursue Him trusting that the externals are the easy part. The external needs, the sustenance and supply, are easy for me to receive.
I find that it is all too easy for me in the immediacy of life to reverse that reality. I often imagine that I am in great need for the externals, yet I need to be continually reminded that they are the easy part. The harder part is to come again for a fresh awakening into an internal, spiritual reality of encountering the Living God. I need to reach again. I need to come again. I need to drink and eat the only food that will help me and ultimately satisfy me. If I will fight that fight, than I truly have no worries. The external “stuff” of life isn’t even considered true necessities anymore.
They’re just considered the fringe benefits that flow from a tender, generous, wise and loving Father who knows what I need before I ask. Jesus, awaken me again today.
February 13th, 2007
Jesus said, in the well-known Matthew 5:5 passage, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” James punctuates this promise practically when he counseled us to walk this out with wisdom:
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” (Jas. 3:13)
As a general rule, I love the leadership of Jesus and really believe that His ways are “just and true” (Rev. 15:3). I’m sold at a deep level that the way of weakness - fasting and prayer, giving and forgiving, serving and loving with abandonment to my own self-indulgent, self-absorbed ways - is the wisest and best way for a man to live out his days. I’m not even thinking in terms of gritting my teeth and earning a reward for my obedience - I’m thinking in terms of “wisdom will be justified by her children” (Matt. 11:19). In other words, in the here and now, I believe that the story of my life will testify to the superior nature of God’s divine order and wisdom.
It doesn’t mean that it’s always enjoyable to live out. It doesn’t mean, by a long shot, that I like it. In fact, the way of meekness has me slightly miserable right now. Voluntary weakness is great to preach on but painful at times to live, mostly when I’m confronted with the reality of my heart and my unwillingness to fully embrace and delight in (with a free and joyful heart) God’s way forward for me.
I find myself in the most frustrating of places in life. I’ve been around the block enough to know that my ways are more painful in the end than God’s. I’ve got just enough life experience know the consequences of my foolishness and pride as I fight the tide of the Holy Spirit to try just one more time to do it “my way”. I’m left staring at the bankrupt and barren fruit that comes from my best efforts apart from Him to establish my sensibilities, plans, and opinions. Pondering my failures, I am left with a firm resolve to really lay hold of God’s ways and means to establish things of significance.
Of course, now that I’ve left one road, I’m staring into the vast lengths of His road forward and seeing clearly where segments of it lead. I can’t see the whole journey, of course. But I can see enough to know that His way is better but not easy nor likeable yet. At some dark recess of my soul I still believe that my way, while unproductive, will still satisfy and bolster me along the way. In other words, to ground this a little, when something rubs me the wrong way I inevitably have two choices:
1. Think through ways to immediately come to a satisfying resolution that usually involves the direct application of my gifts, strengths, and talents. In other words, talk it through until the person sees it my way…and therefore conceding victory to me. I get my way, order is restored, and my way of life continues. Sometimes this works, yet many times it doesn’t. For some reason, the other folks around me aren’t convinced that my ways are superior.
So, on the front end, I may end up partially satisfied (or at least, satiated) half the time. Long term, however, I’m more tired and worn out trying to enforce my will all over the place to make life work better for me. Then, at some point, the Holy Spirit confronts me yet again about my control spirit and I have to repent with deeper pain than the initial frustration that led me to begin my vain quest in the first place. So really there was only one option - option two.
2. I wait. I hold my tongue. I don’t talk about it with anyone. I let what I perceive to be clear injustice prevail for a season (of course, I would never admit to myself on the front end that in my limitations I only know a small percent of the full story; I’ve never let this stop me before. Of course, when I realize that I’m dealing with presumption and arrogance I’m forced to pause a bit. But only for a bit.). I pray. I pray some more. I plead with God to vindicate me and prove me right. God tells me it’s not about me, or my little cause. I don’t believe Him. I wait some more. I pray. I fast a little. I don’t react, or apply my strength to force my sensibility into the equation. If asked to speak, I say a little when I really want to dazzle everyone with how awesome my solution is.
I radically commit to see God’s way prevail in the waiting. I have almost no short-term satisfaction that I am doing the right thing. I’m mostly annoyed and not sure things are going to work out right. I’m restless and frustrated that my way hasn’t been implemented yet, so I go back to the place of prayer to register a complaint. The problem I find when I get there is that I’m barren, so that prayer on this occasion is boring and frustrating. At this point, all I want to do is get up and solve my problem. Still, I wait. I hold my tongue. I wait for the right door to open, the right solution to become clear in my thinking by the grace of God. Of course, now I can’t get any work done to get my mind off of my problem because my heart is a mess.
Then it strikes me. I hate meekness. I’m not even ambivalent or lukewarm about this point. My heart is a torrent of activity with little rest or peace - my soul is a storm of frustration - because I don’t like the weakness of waiting, the weakness of dependant trust in the leadership of Jesus, the brokenness of dependency, and the simplicity of foolish silence that seems to be costing me much in the short-term. And it is. That’s the bigger frustration - it actually, truly is costing me something in the short-term to wait for God to break through and have His way in these types of situations.
It also dawns on me that the price I pay in faith is one that God will delight in and honor forever. It strikes me that, in the journey to embrace meekness, God delights in the fight while I am struggling in my little blue chair. I want to hold fast. I want to wait on Him to lead me and establish the wisdom of meekness in my heart, so that I can walk and work in the meekness of wisdom. Hope fills my heart again, and I get a burst of courage from the Holy Spirit to trust Him once more and walk this out His way. The epiphany that waiting for God to give me wisdom, that I might establish and stay loyal to His will (not mine) in the process brings me to the realization yet again that in something like this, a drama far bigger than me, it wasn’t about me at all. In repenting and asking for grace yet again, my heart finds rest in the waiting. It’s then that He whispers to me the most delightful paradox in regards to my dilemma:
“It was all about you.”
In other words, I magnified the issue and the difficulty in my zeal for justice. Justice, of course, was defined by “my sensibilities and opinions established in my world”. In making the issue about the issue, I actually minimized the true thing that God was after all along: agreement in my heart with Him and His wisdom and leadership.
The truth is, I hate meekness because I love my own opinion and delight in my own abilities as a means of making my world work. He is committed to me to bring about an internal shift that causes me to despise my own way and wisdom to embrace something higher, something transcendent. James continued in his discourse to walk me in a stunning way through the process of what we (in a gross oversimplification) call “dying to self”. Of course, since we never define the parts of “self” that need to go we never actually get around to dying to anything - but that’s another story. Back to James:
“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
James goes right for the heart, and it hits me hard. In the journey to embrace meekness, this practical outworking is a must if I intend to walk as one who makes peace. I’ll talk about the reality of the “peacemaker” at another time, but for now I know this - I want to walk in the fullness of what Jesus had in mind when He talked about it. Which means that my way forward is to embrace pure wisdom that invites me to embrace a posture that is peaceable, gentle, humble, and tenderhearted - especially towards those who have a tendency to make my life complicated. This is my way forward, and it’s the best way.
I’m confident that I’ll like it more eventually.
February 5th, 2007