Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In Other News, the Dow Jones Twinkling Eye Average is up...

Yes, it is now officially broken down to a science for us. See how the markets did today, but don't forget to check the Rapture Index as well. Today, it's up 2 points! Fasten your seatbelts!!

The Rapture Index

In its scoring, please remember the following criteria:

Rapture Index of 100 and Below: Slow prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 100 to 130: Moderate prophetic activity
Rapture Index of 130 to 160: Heavy prophetic activity
Rapture Index above 160: Fasten your seat belts!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Prayer Therapy

I haven’t ever found any value in prayer, the religious duty. And I think, in our common perception of prayer, that most often it refers to asking for something. So we may get out our list and sit down in our favourite chair, and begin to ask God for certain things, whether noble or (let’s face it) selfish, but how does that line up with the character of God, and what does that say about how we perceive Him? Asking prayer lines up with the teaching of Jesus that we are to ask and persist in asking, and believe that when we ask it will be done, but I like to imagine that Jesus, being the masterful teacher He is, was actually pitting our internal wills against each other (ie. our desire to have something against our stubbornness to let it go). More on that later.

Having to ask and ask and ask for something doesn’t seem to line up with the character of God, especially His fatherly positioning in our lives. Luke 11:11-13 says “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" I realize the gift being discussed there is the Holy Spirit, but I think the concept is true for anything that we ask that He will give to us.

It always seemed an absurd idea to me that the more we ask for something, or the more we rally the troops to ask for the exact same thing, that maybe, just maybe, God would give it to us. Coming to mind are things like prayer chains, and prayer rallies, etc. This paints the character of God in dark colours, and our presumptions of who He is and how He views us seem to come from the shadows.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are certain times to gather the troops to pray, but I never believe it is to fill the offering pans with our petitions until they are overflowing with our answers. I believe God has instructed us to ask for things for other reasons. In a city-wide prayer gathering, for example, I suppose God may be more impressed with the implications of an entire city of believers laying aside their differences and coming together for one purpose, than what they’re actually praying for. Because of the unity, He may make happen what they are asking to show His happiness over that. Maybe amidst all the racket of petition, He’s waiting for people to speak out intentions or declarations which may trigger certain things in other realms (careful now!).

When it’s just us, quietly asking for a Ferrari in our favourite chair, I think His requirement of persistence may actually prove to build character in the beggar. In asking and asking and asking, and not receiving, we may get to thinking about why we want the Ferrari. It is then that God can gently tell us that we are placing too much priority on what others think of us, and aren’t finding all of our worth in God’s love. It is then that God gives us a deeper understanding of His love, because the real petition is made known: “God, I don’t feel worth a lot; show me my worth.” Ask and you will receive.

In a congregation praying for one of their terminally sick to be healed, in their fervency, maybe God would use that unity to bring the congregation as a whole to a new depth in understanding the ways of God, and His sovereignty. Maybe He would highlight areas where they are lacking. Maybe He would teach them about their own eternity, how to live is Christ, but to die is gain. Maybe He would heal her, maybe He wouldn’t.

It seems prayer, then, is therapy. It is like laying out on a couch and spilling your most sacred beans. It is less about life and all it brings, more about communion and intimacy. It is God working in our hearts to bring us closer to Him. Ask, and you will receive.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Christmas Shopping!!

If you're looking for some ideas, try Target: click here

More seriously though, go to the World Vision Gift Catalogue

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Kathy Griffin at the Emmys

Warning! This may offend you!

I didn't hear about this until now; I wonder what would've happened if she said "Suck it, Mohammed!". Methinks she'd need an extra bodyguard or two. :)

Blessed, Broken, Given

I have always found it strange that the people who are considered our spiritual forefathers, the founders of the church, the workers of some of the greatest miracles recorded, were so glaringly
human. Jesus had spent a lot of time (three and a half years of constant working and travelling together) with his disciples; Peter, John, Matthew, etc. And yet, it wasn't until AFTER Jesus
appeared to them resurrected did they finally seem to start putting the puzzle together.

They had seen wonder after wonder, miracle after miracle, they had performed these very things in His name with their own hands. They had heard all the stories about rich rulers and poor widows, and had even had private sessions of insight into what the parables meant. They had Jesus, in the flesh, as their personal counsellor. And still, on the night Jesus was betrayed, Peter denied having ever met him - 3 times. The rest of them, who knows the true facts
of what happened to them, but they scattered in fear of their lives.

At that point, they still didn't get it. They just didn't get it. And this speaks volumes of the ways of God. Does he bestow his love on only the worthy, the fixed? Does he commission only the perfect? In no way. So the world will know it's Him and Him alone, He commissions those we would consider the last choice. He loves the destitute, the outcast, the sick, and makes true lovers out of them. His whole purpose is to create a family, to create people who can dwell in His love with Him. And grace is the best creator of what He wants.

Peter was filled with fear and uncertainty, thinking His best friend had been killed, and this was the end of His story - the whole thing a great big tease for the whole world. All of that work, all of the teaching - like it never happened! Do you think God was concerned? No, this is how it happens! We are largely products of our environment anyway, so of course, to be in the presence of a strong character like Jesus 24 hours a day for a number of years will produce in you a Jesus-like behaviour, sim-character. When He's gone, that's when true colours come out. [This reminds me of kids out of high school going to something like YWAM, and they spend all of their time in a certain controlled environment, and they come home on a spiritual high thinking they are going to change their world. They then of course don't have the support of the easy environment anymore and end up falling to old ways in a few weeks and lose heart thinking they've fallen out of God's will, and they look fondly on their time away as something lost. To be sure, there is a season for living in environments like this; Jesus did that with His own disciples.]

True colours are what need to be changed, and unfortunately, these are not "fixed" by creating an environment to live in. If that was the case, I think I'd be living at the monastery up the hill. And the thing is, true colours (ie. the heart) seem to be changed only when the gift is given and recieved (ie. grace, ie. salvation).

We reach a breaking point, a surrendering point, and at that point, that final moment of giving up, control can be given over to God. And we talk a lot about giving up control to God, but really what this is is love - us and God, it's always about love. This is us giving our hearts to Him, and Him giving His heart to us, in the most true love relationship we'll ever be in. This is not about Him becoming your master, about God wanting to be in control of everyone. This is about a husband and wife; you aren't only yours anymore, you belong to your other as well.

God's whole process seems to be blessing, breaking, and giving. I'm sure you can even relate this to your own life. Maybe you're in the blessing phase, maybe in a season of breaking (I'd think there's more than one), maybe you're in the giving time (where you are being given by God to others, in your love for Him). This whole 'Blessed, Broken, Given' concept comes from Luke 24:13-35 (click to read).

What does that have to do with anything? Well, it turns out, this account can be applied quite prophetically, and I'll let these lyrics to a song explain it:

Two men walked on the road to Emmaus
Blind to a stranger they met on the way
Late in the evening, they asked him to supper
To break bread together at the close of the day
The stranger took the bread and bowed his head
Then asked for a blessing then he broke it
Into pieces of three
He gave to these blind men this bread
Blessed and broken
And suddenly their blinded eyes did see
His life was blessed far more than I could ever imagine
He was touched by God's grace more than I'll ever know
Then he was broken by the hands of the father
To bring sight to all blind men who were lost on their way

After God blessed him and after God broke him
He was given to bring sight to all men
When he was blessed
When he was broken
and after he was given
God blessed him and broke him again and again

My life is blessed far more than I could ever imagine
I've been touched by God's grace more than I'll ever know
So let me be given to the hands of the father
Let me feel, what you felt, when you were broken for me
After my blessing, and after my breaking
Let me be given to bring sight to all men
When I've been blessed
When I've been broken
then after I've been given
Lord bless me and break me again and again
Lord bless me and break me again and again

(Cece Winans, Blessed, Broken, Given)

Be encouraged -- being broken doesn't mean you're lost, it means you're on your way to great great things happening in your life. You are a vessel, a carrier of the Lord's own heart (with all its love and power). Know that you are no less loved now, however unloved you feel, than the day you are finally "fixed". You are broken not because He wants to be able to love you more, but because He loves you more than He can bear right now.