Sunday, March 11, 2012

Razed and Brazed

As I was backing into my driveway this afternoon, following a great time with God’s people at theREMEDYchurch; these words bubbled up from my heart and out of my mouth. At first I thought it was because I was hungry, but that’s not why.

Here are the words. Razed and Brazed. Razed and Brazed? I thought; “Lord what’s this all about?”

As I inquired of the Lord, this is what was revealed. Before God does much of anything, in terms of using us for His glory, and beyond salvation, He will first raze all our kingdoms to the ground. He’ll seek out the areas of our life that are hindrances to our advances in Him. He seeks out the areas that prevent us from living in truth and by His grace and power He begins swinging His divine wrecking ball. Because of His heart of compassion, to not leave us with some preexisting soul condition, things can get very destructive and invasive; at least from our stand point.

Most of us have built our lives upon some very poor foundations. And usually without knowing it was happening. So when our lives get to a certain height or place, is it any wonder things are so tipped in one direction or another? And upon noticing how off plumb of our lives really are, most of us go into a maintenance mode or a self-help-works-doctrine of some sort. We troubleshoot or reboot our religious systems. We somehow really believe that with a few strategically placed religious shims here and there, things will get back in order. You know, back to plumb and level.

And for a period of time, things might look right, but they’re not. The foundation is still not level. As a result the whole structure will eventually be off plumb, even if only by a few degrees. And just a few degrees may not seem like much at first, but by the time things get up there a ways, gravity begins to pull on the angle and collapse is inevitable.

Like I said, we’ve become masters of the religious shim. We like to wedge them in here and there to keep things “looking” right. But in fact they are not.

The Lord said, “I must raze this structure to the ground. I must remove the rubble and remove the old foundations. I will lay a new foundation. I will become the Cornerstone upon which everything will be plumed and leveled. But know this, demolition must occur.”

So I’m saying to the Lord, “Okay let’s do it.” But He said, “It’s not just you that needs razed and a new foundation, it’s all of My people. It’s all of the REMEDY church.” And of course I agreed with Him, but there was more.

As I further listened, He reminded me that some may not want to submit to the process; but it is absolutely necessary. Anything that has been built upon the wrong foundation must be razed; if He is to receive the glory and if lives are to be changed and restored.

Change and restoration must begin at home, with us, His kids, His house. And yes judgment does begin with the house of the Lord. But that judgment IS NOT, let me repeat NOT, a delegated ministry to any one whatsoever. As a matter of fact, it is a ministry that is strictly and only given to Jesus, by the work of the Holy Spirit within each heart and life.

The apostle Paul wrote, in Romans 14:12-14, “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.”

Here we see the Holy Spirit’s guidance within the Body of Christ. We see a proper use of mercy and judgment (or justice). Unfortunately, many well intentioned believers (people with lies and pain still governing their feelings and attitudes), take this passage and others like it and use them as whips of condemnation toward other believers who they simply don’t agree with or even like. All the while God may actually be silent toward the one being judged.

In other words, because I’m so steeped in my own pain and lies (not having a level foundation), I grow up tipped and leaning one way or the other; so as to judge others according to my relative crookedness. All the while I’m projecting a demand that others align with my lie-based, sin-based, feelings-based doctrines of insecurity, guilt and shame. And at the same time ignoring the damage I’m doing to the body of Christ by being divisive and judgmental.

You see, this passage was not given to the one who believes in their own spiritual superiority (self-piety), so as to give them license to police the growth process in others, but on the contrary. It was given so that the people in this position of destructive arrogance would humble themselves and find the lies that keep them from loving others and then simply to love the ones they “disagree” with. And that my friend is true spiritual maturity (Galatians 6:1). That is the ability Jesus speaks of. That is the ability to see the speck in a brother’s eye yet not be intimidated or bugged by it. But then to actually go away and begin the private work of digging the 6x6 beam from our own eye – also something that only the Spirit of Jesus can do for us; just saying.

Our ability and willingness to see the stains, pains, differences, and even the mud on the master piece of another human without passing judgment is true Life. It’s the ability to overcome the temptation of self-righteousness. It’s biting our tongue until it bleeds or drops off, so that we don’t become junior Holy Spirit. And all because we’ve finally come to know, to believe, and to feel the very worth and dignity of His beloved creation – namely other people. That is love. That’s what the REMEDY is all about. And not a single word of “loving Christian encouragement” mixed in to satiate our own insecurities, bigotry and ignorance.

The holier than thou translation: “Get out of my sight until you clean up your act. You should be ashamed of yourself. You don’t look or act like I think you should, because I of course, speak for god. Oh and by the way, your freedom bugs me because I’m bound up, but think I look fine. So please go away and do something about your wretched self. You remind me of my own bondage.”

Holy sarcasm implied. Don’t miss it.

That is the devilish spirit of carnal Christianity that keeps far too many from the Kingdom of God. And the ones that seemingly do make it into the Kingdom only do so by jumping through the right hoops and pleasing the right people. May God have mercy on our religious souls. I've choked on enough camels in my church life to know that someone already strained out the gnats. And why?

Razed, torn down, leveled, graded, wrecked or flattened; no matter how you say it God desires that we start building upon a totally new foundation. Not one that is already half a bubble off level. Not one that has been shimmed up so as to make it “look” level. All the while it’s not.

He desires a brand new foundation (its the same with wine-skins by the way). And that’s what we are going to let Him do. Rebuild us from the ground (foundation) up. And it’s time we stop trying to raze the lives of others, because we don’t like them, or we've not dealt with our own junk first.

Keep in mind; great peace have they who love thy law and nothing shall offend them (Psalm 119:165 KJV). The new law Jesus gave us was really just the original and most important one, repackaged. It goes like this.

Hear. That’s right, listen and hear with your spirit, there is only one voice from one God. Then the law goes on to say love God with all of your life, then love others next. That fulfills all the law and the prophetic teaching through God’s history with man. Right up to the present moment.

So know this. If things aren’t torn down yet in your life, they will be. God’s in the building business, but only when it’s right, and true, plumb and level. Don’t worry this won’t hurt once it’s all over.

Let us cease judging and start loving and watch the power of God change lives. Let us watch the power of true repentance flourish!

So what about the Brazed part? I’m not talking about seared meat (that would be braised). I’ll post the rest tomorrow. Now please be praying and thinking about friends who need Jesus, but were afraid to come to church lest they be judged.

Because one of these days we’re going to have a party, a service, a gathering, a meal, a worship encounter, or a teaching event. And we just might call it; WELCOME TO THE FREAK SHOW! Get ready.

Holy Ghost eye wash will be available in the lobby or online for a donation of any size.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Psalm 19:13-14

I woke up with Psalm 19:14 upon my heart (well not the reference, but the words of that verse). I really do desire that what comes from my mouth and what is percolating in my heart is pleasing to God. I don’t think that’s too much to desire, as well as to ask God for help therein.

But only after looking up the verse and further musing upon what God was showing me, did I get a deeper and greater understanding of actually what God wants from me, and what He is keeping me from when I do guard my heart and my mouth according to His way and not mine.

Please bear with me as I paraphrase, in my own words and understanding, this portion of scripture, so that you may experience additional revelation and move closer to the powerful process of a full restoration in this life and on this side of heaven.

My Paraphrase of Psalm 19:13-14

Dear heavenly Father, dear Jesus, dear Holy Spirit; reach your divine hand of power and influence down to the very place I’m at right now. Put that hand out in front of me like a crossing guard, put it out like a rock wall, grab the nap of my neck and keep me from presuming upon your special saving grace, so as to never have a root of bitterness grow up within me. May your keeping hand do just that; keep me from trampling upon your shed blood, in the assumption that what I say and do really doesn’t matter much, because I’ve got a free ticket to heaven by what You’ve already done.

Spin me around, look deep in my eyes, and point Your finger in my face, and speak with a gentle, but powerful and fearful Fatherly warning, as only a loving Dad can do to a son of His own loins. Warn me that if I am not wholly dependent upon You my Father, this deadly presumption upon Your saving and keeping grace can be forfeited. And also, warn me about this presumption and its subtle, but powerful influence to rule my every thought, my every feeling, my every word, and worst of all every single selfish song that echoes in my heart. Tell me it will become like a tyrannical dictator over my life if I do not take the preemptive action of remaining in You and Your Words.

Only then can I live with a deep sense of innocence. Not that I have done anything on my own, but that I have actually, only and simply heard Your Voice teaching, training, rebuking, correcting, and revealing the ultimate guide into a peaceful and lie-less life – obedience to and sometimes painful reflection upon Your words of truth hammered deep into my memories of life. And may this life be so valid in You, that no one or no lie can ever derail me from the path of life You’ve planned. And as I live in Your truth, may I always understand that in Your eyes, presumption upon this grace is the greatest sin of all against Your perfect provision.

My Lord and my God! I declare that what comes out of my mouth in the form of spoken words, would exactly reflect what is in my deepest heart parts, what I feel most strongly about. Because I know You desire honesty from the inside of me, even before you expect it on the outside. Nothing is ever hidden from You. You always look on the inside first – deep inside.

When You do look inside me Lord, to see if my words are matching what is actually in my heart, I covenant with You, I promise you, with all the strength You provide and my very own will; I will be writing a new song, I will be muttering over and over to myself these new lyrics to make sure they rhyme and reflect who You really are. I’m telling you, when I hover over your truth, like a lion hovers over a fresh kill, I will be growling in a low and warning tone. In a tone that tells all would be thieves; “Stay back and realize I’m serious about keeping this meal for myself. This is mine, don’t even come close or I’ll attack you in defense of my only source of life – Your Words.”

And Lord, as you see this picture of my crazed and starving fixation on the Words You give me, be well happy and well pleased with me. Have that warm Fatherly feeling that one of Your very own kids is finally getting it, I’m finally growing up and into Your image. And may I know that regardless of what others see, or even what I may see in my immediate surroundings, You see something very different. You see a son who is learning to live in Your truth and who is experiencing the power of Your peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Only because I’ve finally believed in my heart, based upon the Words You have spoken, that You alone are my strength and emancipator. You alone are the source of all I need, and when I sense Your approval upon my life, there is NOTHING I cannot do, nor is there any opposing foe or force I cannot overcome. I am in Your Love. I am in Your Words. I am Your son, and it feels amazing!

Amen and Amen – Selah.