Friday, March 11, 2011

Winning battles through rest

There are so many lessons to be learned from the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, but one of the most important ones that Holy Spirit has been speaking to me is about the battle- that it is his and not ours.  We all want to see supernatural deliverance like the red sea swallowing up our enemies, but rarely put ourselves in the position to where we have to trust God for the miracle or we will be destroyed.  The kind of confidence that puts you in front of the red sea with your enemies behind you comes out of a deep and abiding trust that many think is absolutely nuts.  
The fame of what God did at the red sea went ahead of  the people of God so that all of their enemies were quaking in their boots. When you let God fight your battles it is the gift that keeps on giving.  You are able to rest and he is glorified and the next enemy in line has already given up.  The enemies would have all given up without a fight and let the Israelites pass- remember Rahab at Jericho who confessed as much.  When we survey the enemy and determine our chances in the battles ourselves, we align ourselves with the 10 spies instead of Joshua and Caleb and the 40 day journey turns into 40 years giving our enemy more time to gain confidence and us more time to forget what God has done.  God called the Israelites ( minus Caleb and Joshua) an evil and unbelieving generation for not believing that they could enter into the promised  land  ( rest).  They couldn't get past trusting in their own ability to displace the enemy  to take posession of the land and God called that Evil and unbelief.  
Remember this is the generation that saw many miracles of supernatural provision, including Manna, quail, water from the rock, shoes and clothes that lasted for 40 years etc.-  Supernatural occurrences were not the evidence of faith, Rest is the evidence of faith. God wants us to trust him in the battle, the more seemingly overwhelming the odds, the more glory he receives.   Think about all the examples in scripture where God is jealous to do battle for his people:
*Jericho,  the Israelites marched in a circle and worshipped and God crumbled the walls
* God sent an angel who killed 185,000 enemy soldiers in one night who had laid a seige on Jerusalem
*More than once we see the example of mass confusion and the enemy ends up fighting amongst themselves because the Lord puts a spirit of confusion on them and they are confounded.
* Remember the severe punishment David received for numbering his soldiers and trusting in those numbers instead of the Lord
* Remember Samuel's rebuke of Saul who did not honor God by performing the sacrifice before battle
The principle is true spiritually for the church age as well.  Jesus has already defeated every enemy in every battle and there is nothing we can do to make the victory more complete, nothing we can add to his sacrifice. It really comes down to trust, believing that what he did was enough for everything we will ever have to face.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Do you see this woman?

"Do you see this woman ?"   Is the question Jesus asked Simon the pharisee who had invited him over for dinner.  This was a loaded question as are all questions that Jesus asks.  He is asking the pharisee in all of us if we really see and understand this woman he is highlighting as an example of what he is looking for in a woman, in his church, in his bride.  When Jesus told his disciples I am going away to prepare a place for you, he was referring to the Jewish custom of a groom going to prepare the addition to the home for his betrothed bride.  That is why he says in my fathers house are many mansions and that he will go prepare a place for you and come back for you.- He wants a Spiritual bride made of many members.
  Jesus speaking to Simon who is glad to have Jesus around (at arms length) can of course see the woman, he and many of his guests see her/judge her  by her past actions and her social status, but not her current heart condition before Jesus.  He and all the rest of the self-righteous are offended and embarrassed by her presence, boldness, and abandonment before Jesus.  Maybe they forgot about the book of Hosea and God's heart and commitment to his unfaithful bride.  In any event Jesus brings home the point to Simon and to us all,  when we invite him into our home, our heart, do we keep him at arm's length?  Or do we rush past the Simon's to the feet of Jesus, blocking out every distraction?  Do we honor him with our actions, time, our treasure and emotions irregardless of what the crowd thinks of us?  Is our passion and intimacy with him developed to the point that we look ridiculous to the establishment?  - What do you think when you see a man laughing uncontrollably in church or a woman in heaving tears, or a child dancing in abandonment?  Are you embarrassed and judgemental or do you see them like Jesus sees them fighting through the crowd to pour ointment all over his feet, greatful for what he has done in their life.  

Luke 11
 36-39One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee's house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him."
 40Jesus said to him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
   "Oh? Tell me."
 41-42"Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?"
 43-47Simon answered, "I suppose the one who was forgiven the most."
   "That's right," said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, "Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn't quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn't it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal."
 48Then he spoke to her: "I forgive your sins."
 49That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: "Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!"
 50He ignored them and said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."