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How much does Hell effect our prayer lives?

I got shaken by God last night.  Our youth pastor had asked me to lead our youth prayer time that we always have on Tuesday nights and so I asked the Lord what I should share.  I got back an answer I wasn’t expecting.  He said, “Ask them how Hell affects their prayer lives.”  Ouch.  I was a mess the rest of the day.  We know about Hell.  We’ve heard about it.  Does it affect us? 

I don’t have anything else to say I just wanted to ask that question.

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The Strange Flow of Life

oh my friends I have found myself surrounded and enveloped in the strange flow of life and God's Sovereign rule over me so much lately. I am finding it genuinely amusing to see the way God moves, the way He teaches and the wonderful way that He leads. He is so loving and patient and, to be honest, quirky! He takes us down some of the darkest deepest most painful and confusing paths to teach us things that are bright and beautiful and in the end absolutely WORTH IT or at least someday we will think so!

That odd herky jerky lopsided flow of life so full of twists and turns etc moves us all.
I have a new son, this you know. I also have a new job! Only part time right now, but new none the less! I am working for First Assembly of God in Fort Wayne! I am helping out with Ignite Youth Ministries specifically with small groups and Sunday school and worship. Woo Hoo!

That is the announcement part of this blog but I also want to encourage you if you are caught in one of the dark twisted and completely unfair bends in your life journey.
Trust Him... He is pulling you closer.... He really is! God has given you these dark times as a precious gift. The pain, the confusion, the fear, the frustration, and the despair are His holy tools to bring you closer. He knows you and He will not lose you. He knows how much you can bear and He will not take you past your limit. When all that you have called "God" falls down around you and every concept you have had of Him comes crashing down you are the closest you've ever been to knowing Him better.
Ask the questions...........it's ok.
Be honest with yourself and ask the questions. He has answers that you need for the next part of the journey. That's why He's brought you here.

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Ok I'm Back

Don't know if I've been missed or not but I've missed writing. We had
our third child two weeks ago yesterday and he is wonderful! His name
is ian michael Hawkins and there are several pictures viewable on the
"kids pictures" page of my website.
www.fromhimthroughhimtohim.com
Check it out when you have a chance.
I have several Holy downloads I am chewing on currently so stay tuned!

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Practically Speaking

I am normally not the most practical guy.  My belief is that if we have a true understanding of the nature of a thing we can extrapolate its capabilities and proper use from that solid starting point.  In other words I like things theoretical, rhetorical, theological, and philosophical but when it comes to practical I get a little lost.  That’s me I’ve come to accept that about myself and even sometimes ENJOY that about myself.  However I do want to address something extremely practical in my blog today.  That is conflict resolution. 

Now I don’t mean on the global scale or anything huge like that I want to bring it down to the one on one level.  The saddest most neglected level of conflict resolution that exists.  You know it is true!  How many people are you mad at that you have never said word one to them about it?  You’ve probably talked to lots of OTHER people about it but not the actual person you are incensed with! 

I hear it ALL the time.  “Did you see what so and so did?  Oh my god that infuriated me!”  or “It really offends me that I never get asked to do ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­( ­insert favorite church activity here)”  or “I get the feeling that he/she really just doesn’t like me”.  You know what I NEVER hear, “I think they might be mad at me so I really need to talk to them.”  or “Hey I just wanted you to know that when you did such and such it hurt my feelings, can you help me understand what was going on there?” or “I would really like to have a chance to (insert favorite church activity here) sometime.  How do I go about doing that?”  You know WHY I never hear that, because we have no idea how to deal with each other.  We would rather blab around our offenses to the world than confront an issue head on.  We would rather gossip, back bite, and slander than really learn to love each other. 

About now you are saying, “where is all the practicality I was promised?”, of course you would never had said it to me personally but I digress, I will now enter in to the practical portion of this conversation.

Talk to each other!  The Biblical model is laid out by Jesus in Matthew chapter 5.  If you have an offense with your brother STOP what you are doing and resolve it person to person immediately.  If it cannot be taken care of at that level then involve leadership (this part isn’t in Matthew 5 it is later in the NT.)  Jesus counts this process as IMPARITIVE to living life in the Kingdom.  He goes so far as to say that if we do not do so he will not accept our worship or prayer!  Wondering why your prayers don’t get answered? Hmmmmm.  Food for thought!

 

So next time you get tweaked by someone think about this.  Don’t you DARE open your big mouth to anyone but the tweaker or there may be real consequences in your relationship with God!

 

 

Josh Hawkins

BDS

 

 

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What Willl We Do Without God?

It is a simple question. What will we do without God? The depth of the need in the human soul goes beyond the fathom of our own understanding. We were created to need. We were created to desire. We were created for HIM! Creation, separated from God by the sin of the human race, groans for Him, waiting for the revelation of the Sons of God and the redemption that will mean RE-creation and final, total liberty from decay.

Every dysfunction in the universe flows from this one thing: disconnection from God. The deepest and most foul of these dysfunctions living in the hearts of men. So here we stand desperately in need of God but what do we do? We RUN! We hide! We accuse Him for all the things that result from our lack of Him. A lack deepened and sustained by OUR disobedience and rebellion! Oh how blind we are!

Into the midst of our dilemma steps Jesus. The one we need beyond our own capacity to comprehend comes now to us, and robed in our own flesh. The form of man has been taken up by Him. He has become our kinsman redeemer. In Him was life and that life was the light of men! In a shocking display of compassion, love and mercy the creator God reaches out to rebellious man, but in the climax of our defiance we crucified the one who came to save us; proving beyond doubt that we were eternally lost.

It was then out of the ashes of our greatest self destruction that the brightest revelation of glory broke through. Jesus rose from the dead.

The death WE inflicted upon Him became the tool of His greatest victory as Sin and Death died with Him on the cross. He removed our final enemy as he triumphantly became the first born from the dead; that in all things He might have preeminence!

Jesus the creator has proven again that He is all we need and I ask you one more time.

What will we do without God?

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The Cry for Beauty

I love the soul’s ache for beauty. I hear a song, or read a good book, see a movie or a piece of art and I feel my heart stir. I so desire beauty. This is my desire for God, and this is how God would meet me. It is no mistake that these things stir me. It is the echo of beauty in them that I hear. It is the imprint of the originator, the deep calling out to deep. Art is not beautiful so much as it is a cry for beauty. We need something we don’t have so we try and create it, and the things we create have an earthly beauty to them but mostly they either carry the cry for beauty or they don’t. I think often we ignore these longings or even call them evil, but we shouldn’t. The Holy Spirit speaks in such diverse and beautiful ways. Our ears should perk up at the ring of His voice and follow it with joy. I so often hear people disregard beauty because of the through whom it came. “That artist is a homosexual” or “that person is an atheist” etc. Does that mean that they don’t long for God? I rejoice to see these crying for beauty. They can only find it in Him.

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I want to know how this is all supposed to work!

Why didn’t the world come with directions!
The world is broken, everyone knows it. Everyone bemoans the fact and everyone thinks the problem is too big for them to answer. I know there is no simple answer. My question is not so much, “what is the answer” but “IS there an answer?” We all believe there is, at least until we have been thoroughly convinced by curative doses of pain, sorrow and frustration that there is NOT. Of course I would love to be ridiculous and say something stupid like, “the answer is Jesus” but that doesn’t really help does it?
I may be as right as anything but it is still a stupid thing to say if it isn’t followed up with more. It doesn’t matter how true that statement is (and relax people you know how deeply I believe that statement is fact), the problem is that just saying something like that doesn’t fix anything; and lets be even more honest here. The church is just as screwed up as the rest of the world. I AM NOT SAYING WE DON’T HAVE THE ANSWER! WE DO! THAT MAKES US WORSE THAN THEM!!!! WE KNOW THE TRUTH AND JUST DON’T DO ANYTHING WITH IT!!!!....... (insert rambling hypocritical rant about the state of the church here), but I digress.
What I want to get at in this particular diatribe is our annoying and deeply unhelpful way of throwing out an ideal as the fix for the worlds problems; saying something patently self righteous like, “those people need Jesus”, and never, even one time, even for a second put any effort into applying our cure – all to their wound. I am talking about myself as much as anyone else. This world needs Christ Like people not Christians. I am trying to learn how to become one. Jesus didn’t just preach to us about how horrible we were. He FIXED US. He gave Himself to make us better in a real and eternal way. He did something for us that we could not do ourselves. When will we take up that cross and follow him? I honestly think people have interpreted that statement, “take up your cross and follow me” as some kind of call to devotions or tithing. It is not that. It is a call to join the cause of giving your life away for the Glory of God and the love of your neighbor. The sooner we get that and obey the sooner statements like “the answer is Jesus” stop being stupid and start sounding like the truth. Then maybe people will actually listen.

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Questions –

As noted in my last blog, my journey of late has lead me through some dark and twisted emotional pathways that have shaken me a bit. I am glad to say I have come out on the other side feeling more firmly planted on the foundation of Christ than ever before. That doesn’t mean I have been unaffected by the journey. I have faced up once again to the impossibilities of belief and the miracles of faith in the world of Post Modern Culture. I have asked the eternal questions again more seriously and more honestly than ever before. Questions like: does God exist? Is He the one that I have been “following” and “believing in” all of these years? How do the answers to these questions affect my life? What response is appropriate to these truths?

I want to record here some of the things I ended up with so that in future times I can come back to this and find strength:

Question 1: Does God exist? – There is no answer but yes. I see the beauty of all things around me. The order, the chaos, the depth, the love, the hate, the humanity and I have no other answer but yes. There is a God beyond this material world that shines through its clunky drabness with a golden light of glory that sings to every soul. It is Romans 1 – we all KNOW God we even know what He is like and those that have thrown Him off in order to “think more clearly” about things have thrown away the whole of clarity! No honest human being can say there is no God. This is more than just my belief it is the deepest truth of the human existence.

Question 2: Is He the one I have been following and believing in all these years? - This question is far more difficult, and I think we have to go two directions with it.
- Is the Christian God and indeed Jesus Himself the true God?
- Have I been following the Christian God?

I cannot escape Jesus; one man who upended the world in three years. Split time in half. Shook the greatest empire the world has ever seen to its foundations. Just Read His words. I have heard it said that no one can name a time when He should have said more or less than He did. He was so different than everything He encountered. So utterly “other than”. There has never been one like Jesus on the planet and until He returns there will not be again. He is the Son. He is the Logos. He is the “from, through and to” of all things. I cannot escape Jesus. He was either Lying – and that doesn’t make sense, or a Lunatic - and He obviously was NOT a lunatic, or He is Lord. He must be all He said He was because He cannot be otherwise. So yes is the answer to that first part, but what about the second?
Have I been following Jesus all this time? Ouch. I can only say….well… maybe. As I look back on my life I have no doubt that much of my “devotion” has been self motivated. I am a self centered person. There is no way around that and I know for an absolute FACT that I have miserably failed over and over again in my attempts to follow Him. The wonderful thing about Jesus is that He knew I would! He made provision for my mistakes AND my hypocrisy on the Cross! So long as I cling to His provision for my sin I have nothing to fear.

That is where I have landed thus far. I cannot say I am done questioning, but I am learning to enjoy the questions as much as the answers.

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The Drift of doubt, anger, tests, and bordom

The past few weeks have been hard - there is no real reason to go into detail, but they have been hard. There has been a real time of testing and doubting in my heart. Accusation against the Lord has haunted the back of my mind for weeks. Anger at my current situation in life. Doubt thrown at me from every side. I am glad to say that, at least for the moment, I am through that season. There is the real posibility of another season coming soon, but right now I just want to sit back and enjoy the fresh air! I write about this simply because I am not the only person I know that is going through this. In truth I know a LOT of people going through similar times of darkness and doubt. Maybe it is a bad circumstance, or the momentum of life for some it is just bordom that has set them adrift emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.I want to make a couple things extremely clear to my friends who feel are in the midst of this drift.1. IT"S OK!!! - One of the worst things about the drift at least for me is the guilt! I don't feel like I used to about things and part of me feels really guilty that I don't. I am here to tell you it is ok. God is not angry about your drift. Infact I believe that often the drift comes from Him directly! He is not afraid of losing you. He is trying to build a foundation under you that can withstand everything. He is not afraid of your doubts or your questions. He is every answer.2. This won't last forever - The other thing I hate about the drift is that I usually feel like it will never come to an end. There is no light at the end of the tunnel and despair begins to creep in. You begin to wonder and even make plans about how you are going to live your life without the stability and purpose you once had. Let me clue you in. This is a journey and life's journey has its seasons. If you have ever driven west you know that Kansas goes on for a billion miles of flat grainy nothingness, but eventually Colorado comes rolling over the horizon. To go as cliche as possible "this too shall pass".3. Don't do anything you will regret - I know life sucks. I know you are mad, and tired, bored and hurting but please don't do anything you will regret when you come out of your funk. Don't burn bridges. Don't retreat into sex, drugs, etc. Bite your lip with that guy that annoys you and live life as a mute if you must but walk careful!4. Find the things you CAN hold onto during this time and cherish them. For me in this last few weeks it has been my family and my friends that have made life livable. They were my one place of safety.I love you guys don't give up!Joshy

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Treasure

have you ever stopped to think about the treasure that the Lord is. today I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Not all of the circumstances of my life are exactly the way I would like them to be. In the midst of that I was reminded very briefly that the Lord is my great reward.

God told Abraham that HE would be his great reward. The Levites were told that instead of land that God would be their eternal inheritance. David called God His portion in the land of the living. The faithful in the book of Hebrews were looking toward things and living for things that they never saw while they were alive. Paul counted all the accomplishments of his life as rubbish in comparison with the glory of KNOWING Him. All of them counted God as their reward. He was the treasure of their lives. I want this.

Today the Holy Spirit very gently lifted my heart out of being bound by the earthly rewards that I desire and have been angry with God for not giving to me. I got a glimpse of being satisfied with his beauty. I got a glimpse of counting the knowledge of God as the greatest treasure. I don’t have it yet. Not really, but it loosened the grip of self – centered materialism just that much more and a whiff of freedom made its way in.

Oh God take me all the way!

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The Simple Truth

This morning in prayer the Holy Spirit redirected me once again. I am always looking for the big thing, the huge moment, the place where destiny will finally catch up with reality. The Lord talked to me about that this morning. He began to speak to me about just doing life with Him. I am of the mindset that what God wants is some huge explosive thing and that it is up to me to set the stage for the explosion. So I kind of run around mixing the “chemicals” together; waiting for the big bang. I am beginning to believe that in doing that I am wasting my time and setting myself up for failure and depression.

It is the step by step of life that is precious to the Lord. The journey together learning to love Him and learning that He loves me is what it is all about. We live in a culture that is all about impact, effectiveness, output, production, but I don’t see that pressure in the life of Jesus. He was a HORRIBLE marketer telling some of His most amazing miracle recipients not to tell anyone what He had done for them. No Jesus didn’t worry about publicity. He spent his short 33 years going about one thing: fulfilling the desires of His Father. He said over and over that He never did anything He didn’t see the Father doing. He never said anything He wasn’t told by the Father to say and so forth.

We need to learn how that works. We need to look at the quality of our fruit more deeply than the quantity. Oh God help me do that.

To act justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God is what the Bible says God requires from us. To simply live life in love with Jesus, how much I wish I could get that through my thick skull. First Commandment First. Second Commandment Second and because of the First.

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Foundation work

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately – maybe it is the holidays. For me they have always been an introspective time; a time to dwell on the internal traffic of Josh. I really like doing that a little too much. It is part of the narcissistic facet of my personality. The annoying part about it is that the Holy Spirit likes to use these times of introspection, which my flesh indulges in to feed my sense of self righteousness and piety, to reveal to me deep schisms between what I say I believe and the truth of my life.

I am a guy who collects deeply held beliefs. I like to go beyond the surface of a thing and get to the governing principals of that thing. What makes people tick? What makes organizations run the way they do. What are the flaws in the foundational principals of a person or group that manifest themselves in cracks on the outflow of that person or group. What is the tangle in the roots of the tree that sends forth the bad or stunted fruit? My deeply held beliefs grow from my understanding of those foundational principals that should govern and shape all that is built upon them. I do not believe that my personality flaws, my recurring sins, my bad choices or my lack of wisdom in one area or another are causeless; they come from some unformed or mutated understanding of the truth that my life is built upon. For instance; if I believe 2+2=5 my higher math will be really really screwed up! If my grasp of simple phonics is incorrect then my pronunciation of complex words and phrases will be laughable!

I am in a search for the gaps in my own understanding of these type of foundational principals. I want to know where those cracks are and how to mend them.

Psalm 139 is King David’s voicing of this cry. Search me! Know me! See if there be any evil way in me! I can only echo him and say amen. Only the Holy Spirit can see clearly enough and with the power of His word cut deeply enough to do the surgery that needs to be done in me, and while I know that until Eternity I will never be finished with this process, I refuse to be discouraged. What I am after is the knowledge of God. The wisdom and revelation Paul prayed so fervently for, and this treasure is worth a life time of searching.

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Deeper, Richer

After a long absence from Blogging I have returned. I would say sorry about the absence but I had nothing to write so I wrote nothing! I pulled up the blog more than once thinking I would write and nothing came so I shut it down. This last weekend I have been in deep thought and prayer. I have been thinking about the gospel. I have been thinking about the church. I have been thinking about my heart and my relationship with Jesus. I have come to one conclusion…I am not satisfied.

Not satisfied with the gospel that I live out. Not satisfied with the church. Not satisfied with my heart and definitely not satisfied with my relationship with Jesus.

The gospel I live out (notice I said the gospel I live out not the gospel as it is, and they really shouldn’t be any different but sadly enough they are) is weak and thin and powerful enough to keep the convinced but not to convince the ones who do not know the truth. I am not here to reveal some deep hidden sin or some life crushing problem, there are none to reveal. I am a sinner and I do have problems but anyone who has read this blog more than once knows those two facts beyond any certainty! What is bugging me is the lack of change that is going on AROUND me. I am not different enough from the world on the inside! On the outside maybe I am, but the important thing is the inside. I am not different enough in the depths of my heart. My faith, my commitment to Christ, my working out salvation with fear and trembling is not deep or rich enough.

I look around me and I see such beautiful things. I see depth, beauty, thoughtfulness, richness, philosophical honesty, and justice. These are reflections of God. I am stirred by them. I am awakened by them to my shallowness. When I look at the church I very rarely see any of those things. I see laziness, wastefulness, thoughtlessness, etc. I see all of US (I am completely including myself) taking grace and gospel for granted and sitting on our haunches feeding ourselves and rejoicing in our own light rather than shining it around. I see us forgetting the needy, giving gifts that sooth our conscience, but not loving from the heart; putting resource into “funds” for the invisible poor but not giving $50 for our neighbors over due heating bill. Oh God help me to SEE! I keep my eyes closed so tight, just to avoid feeling obligated and guilty. Oh God forgive me.

I am in a search now for that deeper life. A thoughtful, joyful, sober, God saturated, God consumed, God centered, others filled life. I want to own it, not just be able to describe it. I want to live it. I want to live it and not be puffed up with pride about it; only grateful for the grace of God and always looking for more to do, not because I feel like I have to but because I want to. I really want to.

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Bought with a Price

Yesterday as a church body we stood together in the altar and dedicated ourselves and our facilities to the Lord again. As we did I was stirred by the Holy Spirit. I was stirred with a deep realization of the fact that I am no longer my own man. I've known this for a very long time of course but He brought it to me in a deeper way yesterday.

My life, my family, my marriage, my resource, my thoughts, my feelings, my days, hours minutes, years do not belong to me. They belong to my King. He is my master and my do with me as He wishes. He loves my cooperation. He rejoices when I do what He commands with joy in my heart, but that doesn't mean I have a choice about it.

So often I think of my life as mine, and the things I do for God are favors I do because I'm such a good guy. I have it so backward and wrong. I belong to Him and the things in my life that do not align with His precepts and desires for me are not OK. They are SIN and nothing less.
I was bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus. At every place I call my life my own I count his blood as worthless. This is inexcusable.
Oh God forgive me for the multiple hours waisted on nothing! The endless opportunities walked past for some flippant reason, the thousands of dollars thrown down the toilet! Truly I am full of sin and corruption. Forgive me beautiful God. Give me the grace to walk as your servant all the seconds of my life. In Jesus name.
Amen

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Jesus the Antiself

I am so staggered by the life and ministry of Jesus. His whole existence was a shout into the face of the world that all they are is wrong, ugly, and destructive. Gayle Erwin has been such a help to me to understand the character and nature of Jesus. He gives some key scriptures that lay out the nature of Jesus with unquestionable clarity.

Matt – 18:1-5, 15 – like a child, forgiving, gracious but not tolerating sin

20:16, 20-28 – As the last, as the least

23:1-4, 11&12 – leads by example, Servant of All

Mark – 9:33-35 – last and servant to become the greatest

10:43-45 – ‘’

Luke – 9:46-48 – Least

14:11 – Humble

22:24-27 – servant

John 13:12 – 17 – The one who is the teacher is the servant of all

Philippians 22:5-11 – Human, obedient, even to death

These are some scary things to begin to apply to ourselves. I don’t LIKE serving people! And in truth the greek word is Dulos or check this, SLAVE. OUCH! No no no not for me man! I don’t like being last in line. I don’t like being least in the group. I like to think I am humble but doesn’t that make me proud? I am such a long way from Jesus. He was 100% others centered. Period. He did what He did on earth for everyone but Himself! He was here to glorify the Father (John 17 check it out). He was here to seek and save those that were lost. He was here to preach good news to the poor, to set at liberty the captive, to bind up the broken hearted, to comfort those who grieve in Zion, to bring the oil of gladness to the mourning and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. He wasn’t here to have a good time, or make a few friends, or find a wife and family. Jesus was not here for Himself and because of that He has been exalted to the highest place! He is crowned with Glory and Honor! He has been given the name above every other name and was told by the Father to sit at His right hand until the Father had made His enemies a footstool at His feet!

Truly this is the path to victory! This is the path to joy! This is the path to reigning with Christ forever! Go LOW! SERVE ALL! GET MEEK! Wow what a world changing idea! God change my world with it!

Amen

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The Jealous God

When I heard about God being a jealous God and I pictured some kind of fiery angry brute of a God forcing His will on those who do not want to obey Him. Images from movies run through my brain of an angry, usually drunk, always undeserving husband or boyfriend who is stumbling after the guy who stole his girl’s heart. He usually ends up falling face first in the snow and getting laughed at by the whole town. We all have seen that guy. That leaves me with a problem when the Lord says over and over that He is a jealous God Exodus 20:5 De 5:9 etc. In fact in one place he says that his name is Jealous Exodus 34:14. A couple of years ago the Lord had me study this out and straightened me out completely on this front. Today as I was studying for our Sunday School class on Song of Solomon I was confronted again with the Jealousy of God.

The Lord began my journey into understanding this in Numbers 25. The sin of the people has brought a plague upon them. One man brings a Mideonite woman into his family right in front of everyone; blatantly defying the Lord’s command, and Phinehas grandson of Aaron the High priest skewered them with a spear. This brings an end to the plague. God says that Phinehas was “jealous with my jealousy” and that is why the plague was stopped. This an incredible picture of intercession and the stopping of God’s wrath by agreeing with His heart, but that’s not where I want to linger today. Today I want to meditate on the jealousy of God. As I studied this the Lord said very loudly to me that jealousy was not about covetousness or wanting something that belongs to someone else, but it is about wanting something back that belongs to YOU! If someone took my wife from me they are taking what is mine. I would be jealous; burning with jealousy. It says in Proverbs 6:34 that jealousy is a husband’s fury therefore he will not relent on the day of vengeance. God will not allow that which is His to be stolen from Him for long. His wrath on Israel is out of jealousy. It is not so much His anger and lashing out in frustration at a woman who doesn’t want Him, no it is Him doing WHAT IT TAKES to get her back. It was then that this got turned around to me. Was he jealous because of me? How much of me wasn’t His? What would he do to get it? It scared me truly but it also gave me such confidence. I began to realize that this is why my life goes wrong sometimes. He is jealous for me, ALL of me. He is not happy with the 15% of me I willing give. He will do what it takes to make me His completely. The word of God over my life this year has been, “Josh I love you too much to let your comfort get in the way of your destiny!” Boy has that been true! This life is a story of jealousy and passion. My story, your story, His story; the drama of the ages. Oh how far will you go to get my heart? Can you hear His answer?

He says, with jealous fire in His eyes, “To Hell and back my love and I already have”.

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In danger of being a hypocrite about long blogs

I have been stirred to look again into my understanding of God’s perfect knowledge of the future. I had a lively discussion with several close and dear friends about this subject last weekend. (No worries here we are still close friends!) We were on opposite sides of the argument. I was advocating what I see as the Biblical point of view; that God has an exhaustive and causative knowledge of all things past present and future even the choices of men. They were standing with a point of view that is referred to as an Openness theology. That God knows the past and present perfectly and He can see all possible out comes of every choice that is currently being made but that He does NOT know what choice we are going to make. I don’t have the time, the eloquence, or the education to completely back my point of view on this, but I don’t feel like I can let this moment pass unmarked. To be honest I am saddened, heartbroken, and deeply shaken at the vehemence of my friends against the historical, orthodox view of God’s Foreknowledge. I know where they are coming from. I understand WHY they want to believe this. First they were taught it by a very good teacher. I heard the man teach and he had a lot of amazing and Biblical things to say. He had some real insight into the character and nature of God and I don’t think, in most of the things that he teaches, that he is off, but on this one point he is. Second it is on the outside an appealing thing to think about, for several reasons:

1. If God does not know or cause the choices of man then it is not God’s “fault” when things go in the apparent opposite direction He said they were going to go. When tragedy happens and the pain of life is huge we can look to the Lord and know He is standing with us in it and it is NOT His fault, but He is working in the midst of these regrettable circumstances to bring about our good. Things may not be exactly as He planned but He can through infinite patience and power work His way around to His desired end. That feels good! It really does! This sucks but God didn’t do it to me so I can worship anyway! It helps to keep accusation from our God is a good God, and a good God would not create someone knowing they would choose to reject Him and go to Hell. A good God would not choose to frustrate and confuse His people with the torments of failed dreams and unfulfilled expectations and most of all a good God would not choose for the innocent to suffer for no reason at all. He cannot have known that was going to happen and not done anything to stop it!

We will sum this reason up in the phrase “A good God would not let that happen”.

2. This means that prayer and preaching and the things we do for the Lord really have deep and lasting impact! What we do really really matters! If God knows and ordains all things then He already knows what we are going to do and what we are not and He has already seen the end therefore our actions do not matter. His end will come whether we choose to help Him or not. If He does NOT know our choices then we can either help or hinder His plan. He will work with us or around us, but it is up to us, and we are really helping Him really changing things and the future when we do what He wants us to do! My friends are people like myself that are called to a lifestyle of prayer and fasting and this adds urgency to prayer it really does. We will sum this statement up in the phrase, “My decisions mean something eternally”.

3.This may be a part of the other two but I wanted to add it in. This reason says that if God already knows every choice I am going to make that I am not freely making those decisions and I have no free will. We will call this one, “God gave me free will”

I do not make light of these reasons. They are real and powerful but lets talk about them one by one.

1. “A good God wouldn’t let that happen”. This is circular reasoning and it does not work. Even if God did not see it coming He still has the power to stop it. Which is a “better” God? The God who knows and even on some level “wills” evil because He is using this for His own glory shaping and molding the final end that He has set in His eternal purpose, or the God who is surprised by the evil of man but does little or nothing to stop it from happening? That, my friends, is not a good God. Which is a more comforting and powerful interpretation of Romans 8:28? – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God created this situation to do me eternal good, or God didn’t realize I would be in this place but now that I am here He will work it out the best He can. I can’t live with the second. I cherish the first! Even in my darkest times I can look around and say, “God knew. God wanted me here. He has something amazing on the other side and I will thank Him for this some day.”

2. The next two we will take together – “My decisions mean something eternally” and “God gave me free will” I agree with both of these statements. I do not believe that just because He knows what decision we will make means we are not free to make the decision. I don’t understand how the fact that He knows the outcome means He is taking away our free will? “Those He foreknew He predestined.” I love that phrase. It is a deep and abiding reality in my life. That God knew before creation that I would be His and He has waited with anticipation to see my face and love me. I am so grateful for that. I am humbled, honored and awakened again to the majesty of this drama I have the glory of being a part of. The eternal dance. My prayers cause Him to move just like He knew they would. He waits on them before He does what is in His heart. Why? Because He loves my prayers! My service blesses Him. Even though He doesn’t need it He loves it. He is the one who really does it all, but He wanted me along for the ride simply because He loves the look on my face when He does it. What a demonstration of His glory. That He could use weak broken erring vessels to accomplish His eternal purpose and He never has to rethink or change His plans. He had it in the palm of His hand all along.

Oh the depths of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God!

For From Him Through Him and To Him be all things!

To GOD AND GOD ALONE be the Glory forever AMEN!!!!!!

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The Armful

Oh this is me!

The Armful
by: Robert Frost

For every parcel I stoop down to seize
I lose some other off my arms and knees,
And the whole pile is slipping, bottles, buns,
Extremes too hard to comprehend at. once
Yet nothing I should care to leave behind.
With all I have to hold with hand and mind
And heart, if need be, I will do my best.
To keep their building balanced at my breast.
I crouch down to prevent them as they fall;
Then sit down in the middle of them all.
I had to drop the armful in the road
And try to stack them in a better load


Almost 50% of my life I feel like this poem. The Spirit stirs my heart about so many things at once that I don’t know which way to run. I try and fit all of this into my life and it won't all fit! How much of a change does this require? Do I just wait until He gives me direction? What do I do? It is literally painful at times! Or I see things in God that are so beautiful but so HUGE I cannot get my puny brain around them. It is just all too much for me. I am so thankful for God’s grace. I need more of it.

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The Treasures of Suffering

My family and I are in the midst of a frustrating, angering, confusing time right now. I won't go into details because quite honestly there isn't room, but please pray for us. I have run the gamut of responses to all that has been happening. Faith, Strength, Anger, Accusation, Hope, Confusion, Numbness, Joy, Peace, Fear, and so much more have flowed through me as the circumstances have unfolded. Through it all the deepest pain in me is that I just don't understand what God is doing or why. If I knew what I was buying with this suffering It would be easier to endure.

Then I remember - the words of Paul, "I consider that this present suffering is not worth comparing to the Glory that will be revealed in me"
- the words of Peter, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
- the words of Jesus, "blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted", "he who would save his life must lose it"
and so many more.
The truth IS, that for the endless ages to come in Heaven my heart will be filled with gratitude for the Hell I experience on earth. All of the gold I buy today will be the treasure I offer before His throne as a testimony of His grace.

Some day I will say, "Your ways are just and true!"
I believe it

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Living out of Joy

Living out of Joy

The meaning of life IS worship. The meaning of life IS relationship. The meaning of life IS love. The meaning of life IS joy. Oh God give me to living out of this fountain whose head is the highest, purest and deepest reservoir there is in the universe, the very life of the life breather. You are my portion is what David proclaimed; my help! My source! How do I stray from this only breathe of oxygen available to me? How do I lose my way from the one breathing hole there is in this ice cap of sin over the frigid arctic ocean of my soul.

I was not made to deny the raging of my hearts’ desire to be passionate! I was not made to live as a sleeping man. Shut down and shut out of the world in which I live. I was MADE to burn! I was MADE to LIVE; to live the adventure of walking with God. I was created, you were created, to enjoy God. You are an enjoying machine. You were created as you are because no other being can enjoy all the aspects and realities of God to the level of the human “enjoyment machine” accept for God Himself. All the longings for love, joy, excitement, pleasure, etc that live in the human heart are longings for God. They get perverted and twisted by the sin nature and the influence of life and the enemy, but they start in the heart as desires for God. We as Christians are the only ones who have access to the one thing that all the world desires. Should we not be the MOST joyful, the MOST satisfied and happy people on the planet? Yes we SHOULD BE!!! If you spend much time with Christians you will find that they aren’t, for the most part, any happier that most of the rest of the world. Why? I will tell you why! You knew I would!

Simply, we Christians have lost the taste of God in our mouths. We have forgotten that HE is our great reward. Our highest joy. We have bought the lie that doing things for God; fulfilling religious duty or form or function is our purpose. We have decided that our checklists and attendance records are what make us right before God. We have fallen for the deception that religion and all of its trappings are the things of God. So we dive into them deeper and deeper looking for life we will never find. We end up bitter, cold, angry, empty and powerless against our sin. We are caught. The one thing that would satisfy us we no longer have, but the things the world runs after to quench that thirst are kept from us as well. We have been convinced that this is the Christian life! Falling and getting up again over and over, no power over sin, no joy and no REAL LIFE! Uh!

This is the life that I have lived! This is the life I live, most of the time. Then there are those days. Those days when the breath of God is mine again. Where I awaken to the truth that I was made for joy. The joy of knowing and loving God. That intimate experience and eternal pleasure is found in God and it is for me forever no holding back. This is why Jesus came. To give me back to that which I was made for. Himself. I am His and He is mine. This is life, this is love, this is joy…what a deal.

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