Tag Archives: Christ

Saving Jesus from Mr. Banks

MMMSquareOne Thing I Learned About Mary Poppins…

Interesting that Ron Dunn would be leading a deep dive into the 10 Commandments at One Th1ng the same week I watched “Saving Mr. Banks”. I just might not have seen the connection between this movie and the second commandment, had God not juxtaposed these two events so closely.

No big spoiler here – if you’ve read the title of the movie, you know “Saving Mr. Banks” is a statement of identity for Mary Poppins. It’s what she was created to do: save Mr. Banks. The movie covers two stories in parallel: the childhood of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers and the 1960s collaboration between Walt Disney Studios that gave birth to the big screen film. So, what does this have to do with the Ten Commandments, much less you and I?

So, What:

Thanks, for asking. Let me dive into the “you and I” part first and the Commandment part should become pretty obvious along the roadside.[Spoiler?] As Travers’ father’s alcoholism began to take its toll on her father’s health and her mother began to break down under the stress, her aunt enters the picture – on whom she’d later base the beloved Poppins. But, this Mary Poppins – to save the family from utter destruction. But, while this Poppins could offer help to Travers’ beleaguered mother and siblings and limited care to her dying father, she couldn’t save her father from the damage already done. The story left me wondering how much of our adult lives we often spend trying to right childhood wrongs. Travers, who loved her father’s whimsical imaginations, apparently shut her self off from all childhood fun, save that which she wrote about in her books.

Mary Poppins was sent to save Mr. Banks since her own aunt could not save her own dad. In other words, Travers created for herself a savior who would make all things right that she could not…

I know, that’s a little heavy for Monday Morning Momentum, isn’t it?

Good News…

Not for the Christian. For those who are in Christ, we understand God as the loving father far better than Travers’ faulty dad. Our Sovereign Father doesn’t have an alcohol problem or a bad temper at work, and He appreciates whimsy far more than even Colin Firth can revel in. Because He loves us now, and Israel long before us, He gave the command to worship no rival gods. The second commandment warns us not to even dream up our own physical representation of Him, because such things always fall short, and will consequently leave us only temporarily fulfilled and unsaved from our greatest need. The Disney story shows Travers reaching a final, cathartic salvation when she sees her father figure, Mr. Banks, alive and well and frolicking with his children – eventually flying kites they repaired with money her own father would have made her invest.

Who Made Your God?

Though she may have experienced temporal justice, without a true Savior, she’d never truly know the good of a perfect and loving Heavenly Father.

Do not act like the other nations…Their ways are futile and foolish.
They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.
They decorate it with gold and silver
and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails
so it won’t fall over… such gods,
for they can neither harm you nor do you any good. (Jer. 10:2-3,5)

If Travers spent much of her adult life writing, forming a savior decorated with earthly wisdom, silvery songs, and fancy on pages her typewriter hit like hammer and nails, she’d have created a god that could only save her from the wrongs of her childhood. Easy mistake: even the disciples often mistook Jesus as one who would merely save them from the oppression of Rome and earthly princes. They would scatter at His death because they missed the fact that He died to save them, save Travers, save all of us, from something far greater – a future eternity separated from God. Ironic that Mary Poppins would be so famous for quoting that “some people cannot see past the tip of their own nose…” Her man-made idol’s power went only so far.

The Good News:

In Christ, you have a Savior – capital “s” – who does not promise you mere temporal justice. Things done to you or not done for you in childhood may not be reconciled this side of heaven. But, one day, He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will reign with Him in glory. Wrong will be made right. The wicked will be cast off. And, those who are cleansed by the atoning work of Christ will not gloat over this, rather rest in the peace and joy that only a Savior created by God can promise.

So, Lemme Askya

Is there anything – a situation, a relationship, a deal, an ideal – that you’ve created in your life to fix what didn’t happen or didn’t happen as well as you wished in childhood? Any temporal problem you’re striving and striving to save yourself from while God is calling you to set your eyes on the greater problem of eternal salvation? Do as Moses did – crush the idol to powder and feed it to the Israelites… Okay, maybe not the second part. But, repentance for this is simple – “Lord, I’ve bowed down to a god that can scarcely save me from my own past. I want a God who can save me from my future.”

 

in Christ,

AP

My “Dirty Little Secret” or, “How to Properly Offend Others”

MMMSquareWhat I Remembered at the Daddy Daughter Dance…

I have a dirty little secret. It mostly only comes out at parties and weddings, but Friday night my firstborn and I attended our very first “Daddy-Daughter Dance” and it reared its ugly head: I can’t dance to save my life. Not that I don’t try… I used to think I was pretty good. I believed in my reputation of being a “great dancer” until a look of near panic came over my then fiancee’s face when we were at a wedding together. One look at my “interpretation” of the moves and she immediately thought: “Oh, NO! He’s a MESS on the dance floor!While I was initially offended at her opinion, I eventually faced reality. Not an ounce of rhythm in this dancer…

She’s now my wife of nearly 7 years. But, she who has all the moves still doesn’t understand how I can know so much about music yet be so “white” and clumsy on the dance floor. Having a ton of knowledge and doing the right motions, doesn’t mean you’re doing them with soul. It’s different to “know about” rhythm than to “have rhythm”. Wouldn’t you agree?

Jesus had a hard time with the Sadducees, Pharisees, and other religious types of His day because many of them were so caught up in their religious moves – outward behavior – that they didn’t realize they had no soul… Pharisee [Hebrew parûsh’] means “set apart”. And, I really believe that these guys started out in the same good place many of us do when we first come to know how holy God is and how utterly sinful we are apart from Him. I learned this in 2001 and immediately wanted to be “clean” in His presence. The problem for the Pharisees is that the ones Jesus was confronting had become so caught up in the moves – the external behavior – that they neglected the proper attitude of the heart: soul… rhythm… love for God and others.

They were Chris Brown in their minds… Montgomery Burns in their hearts… Therefore, Ed Grimley in their moves.

In the Sermon on the Mount beginning in Matthew 5, Jesus essentially tells thousands in attendance that the Pharisees, etc., had all the right moves in God’s eyes, yet no rhythm. How do you think they felt? Offended to know they had no rhythm? They had boiled a relationship with God down to a list of behaviors that demonstrate piety, but were devoid of it. In fact, throughout His interactions with them, Jesus exposes some of them as using God’s name and God’s law for their own gain. “Selfish ambition” is a drive for “progress” devoid of love for God and love for others. But, when it shows up in our own mirrors, ouch. Hurts to find out you’ve got all the right moves and no rhythm… Offensive.

Lately, I’ve heard a number of people talk about being “radical for God” or being “offensive for Jesus”. Most of them, are well meaning – out of devotion to God, and love for how the truth of Christ offends “those who are perishing”, they say offensive or radical things. Their initial hope is good: wake those who are slumbering to the love of God and the atoning work of Christ. However, there is a fine line between offending those enslaved by sin with the truth that can set them free, and being offensive just for the sake of offending.

How to Properly Offend?

We are in grave danger of walking in the Pharisees’ shoes when we seek to offend merely for offendings’ sake. The Lord didn’t offend merely to be countercultural and offensive. But, exposing “inconvenient truths” about deeply held convictions will offend those who do not have “ears to hear” constructive criticism. Jesus only offended with the “you ain’t got no rhythm” truth so that He could teach them “the unforced rhythms of Grace“, rooted in love for those who have all the right moves with the wrong heart and soul. Agape love – the kind of love that God offers us through Christ – is the kind that seeks to elevate others at our own expense, not vice versa. This is the proper starting point for offending others – aim with restoration in mind.

White Boy SyndromeSo, Lemme Askya…

Before you say one more thing to that guy who’s a hypocrite at work, before you send that private Facebook message, before you send that Tweet – are you seeking to offend only to be offensive or because you’d love to see the hypocrite transformed by the Truth, set free by the Lord, and welcomed as your brother/sister in Christ?

Much love (and a whole lot of rhythm),
AP

Breaking Free from Slavery

MMMFinal-01

Longing to be Set Free?

We’ve all heard the story of the Golden Calf, haven’t we? Exodus 32, Moses goes up the mountain, the people begin to doubt he’ll return and in their wicked need for a tangible representation of God, melt down all their personal “bling” to form a golden calf. They sing and dance around it… Moses comes down and loses it, and the Levites slaughtered 3,000 of the offenders that day. God alters the game plan – no longer will He lead the nation, but an angel will be taking lead because if God were to go with them personally, He might have to kill them for their stubbornness. He’d set them free from 400 years of slavery under the wicked rule of idol worshippers. You’d think they’d have had enough of that, not to mention a little more practical devotion to the God who parted the Red Sea for them… But, when we’re used to living as a slave, it’s very possible to be “set free, but not living free.”

Idols enslave. That’s what they do. Sin is sticky and familiar. Sometimes, it’s hard to shake and easy to shift back into even when you’re liberated from it. So, what’s stuck to you right now? And, how do you get it off and keep it off?

God didn’t give the nation of Israel the 10 Commandments until after He’d already set them free – His rules were established after their relationship was established. The famous maxim – “rules without relationship lead to rebellion” is typified here. But, Moses somehow sees the big picture here. Thank God.

“If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth? (Ex. 33:15-16)”

Moses understood God wasn’t on some power-tripping mission to make the Israelites follow a bunch of baseless rules and play Simon Says: Desert Edition at His beck and call. Moses had a relationship with God. Moses understood early in the game that the only reason God would have them as His people, further ever have a people – Israel, the Church, etc. – is for distinguishing Himself and His holy name. Holy people reflect a holy God more clearly. For this reason it seems Moses refuses the angelic point man and returns to first principles: if it’s not You, Lord, in the lead – anyone in our path will miss Your point. Moses pleads for more of God.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation… If the Son sets you free you will be free indeed… In Christ, we’re no longer obligated to answer to our inner teenager who wants what they want, when they want it, the way they want it. But, don’t we all have a “pet sin” that stirs up godly sorrow every time we commit it? Aren’t there seasons of your sanctification you wish you could fast forward beyond? Feeling… stuck? Feeling… like the Israelites a bit? But, you’re free!!! Shouldn’t this be easy? As Moses understood – it’s simple, but not easy.

Had Enough? How about More?

If you’ve had enough of slavery to sin or a sin in particular, you don’t need “wisdom and discernment” (#1 prayer request of the decade). You need deliverance. You need to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. So, let me ask you: when is the last time you found yourself on your face before the throne with that kind of attitude? Refusing to move forward without His presence? Your greatest need isn’t wisdom or even courage – you know what you’re doing is offensive to God, you’ve just pushed God away thinking He can’t or won’t see what you’re doing in “secret”. I’ve been there, too. If there’s a sin or groups of sin in your life that you keep finding yourself stuck to, even though you are set free, perhaps it’s not an end to the sin you seek. Perhaps it’s just more of the presence of God. How about a little “on-your-Facetime” with God this week? Got a half hour you can carve out in your schedule to just lay prostrate, call out to God, and listen for His reply… wait on His presence?

Hope it’s the best 30 minutes you’ve spent all week…

in it with you,

Aarron

My Sister Knows… And, You Should, Too

Breaking Breakfast News:

The week after “Snowmageddon” had most of Atlanta iced into their homes, we drove a quick hour away for a quick “staycation” in Helen, GA. Nothing fancy, bargain hotel deal with a pool to wear out the toddlers and breakfast included. Just had to get out of the house, you know? After a post-breakfast stroll, I went back to the hotel to find 3 urgent voice mails eagerly awaiting on my cell. It wasn’t “good” news: my sister Shanua, had suffered a stroke… in India… and the brain bleeding looked like it could go from bad to worse. Shortly after admission to ICU, the doctor gave her 24-48 hours to live. “Fine, how was your breakfast?”

I’m 42. My sister’s only a couple years my senior. Nobody in my family dies of a stroke in their 40s! Do they?

Fast Forward

A few days pass, tons of prayer across the country, some emergency expediting of visas takes place and a few family members make haste to her side at the ICU. She’s better, still a little numb on one side, but would have to return to the States to complete her very miraculous turnaround and recovery. The day before she arrived home I got the news one of our most beloved uncles died. It was tough news for me and would be tough news for her even under normal circumstances. I spoke with her on the phone yesterday morning, she had taken it well. I could tell she was a bit busy wrapping her brain around the fact that her brain had almost taken her out… “Less than 10% of people who went through what I went through survive.”

Today, with my sister’s miracle as the first word of the sentence and Uncle Rufus’ death as the period, I understand a phrase that Shanua now knows in all too vivid detail: we all have an expiration date.

Guess Who Wants to Steer You Away?

Wolf Watching

“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31)”

MMM-2014

Paul was clearly warning the elders at Ephesus that men bent on their own fame and agenda would come swooping in as soon as he left town to draw them away from the simplicity of the gospel. Paul broke down the gospel into two very simple principles a few verses earlier: “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ”. Nothing more. Nothing less. This is a freedom bigger than many of us are prepared for. It’s so big, in fact, that in the flesh, it’s very easy to drift away from it. Enter, wolves.

Many had already picked up pieces of the gospel and tried to co-opt it for their agenda, taking grace alone and adding to it works. Some said that to follow Christ one would have to first become a Jew via rites and rituals including circumcision. This would have drawn them closer to men, not God (you’ve got to be one of us before you can be one of His). Paul outright condemns this practice and explains in later letters that it’s grace and grace alone via repentance and faith. Repentance turns us away from sin and faith knits us in to God.

The Video That Went Viral – Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Keynote by Jonathan Cahn

A Stern, Prophetic Warning to America 
     by Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn
From the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast
January 21, 2013

     In his keynote speech, Jonathan Cahn brought to light biblical passages concerning the fall of nations (as characterized by the fall of Israel) and connected the dots between those harbingers and the potential judgment of America, as a nation that has made itself a stranger to God.

     Rabbi Cahn presides over Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, NJ and Hope of the World Ministries, also in Wayne, NJ. His book “The Harbinger” has been a best seller, but we will not be featuring it here because, in my opinion, it is a bit more reiterated fluff and filler than concise and theologically sound content. For purposes of intellectual honesty and full disclosure, this assessment is not from my actual reading of the book, but a conclusion based on first watching this video, transcribing it, and reading sound reviews of the book online.

Chew the Watermelon,
Spit Out the Seeds

      Warning: We believe that parallels of America and Israel can be quite dangerous. The church is God’s chosen means to reach the world, not America, nor any other geo-political entity. So, any attempt to consider it a “chosen” nation is in error. America is not the hope of the world, unless we begin spelling America “J-e-s-u-s”. A once shining city on a hill, as Cahn reminds us, but not the hope of the world, nor a nation without hope.
      That aside, we cannot argue that we have much to learn from the fall of Israel as a world power both on a macro and micro level. America‘s foundation is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian values and has strayed greatly as a culture from this for many decades now. The signs and symbols present in the front page events he describes bear incredibly eery parallels to past biblical events. Disobedience still brings death. Perhaps not actual, biological death, but death in some form. God still punishes sin, if only with temporal consequence and a removal of the veil of protection from such consequences. We are by no means suggesting any form of salvation by works and I don’t believe Rabbi Cahn is, either.
      If Rabbi Cahn is correct about these harbingers, which I currently hold he is, we must begin praying fervently and frequently for great, national revival and surrender more soundly to the call of Christ to “go forth and make disciples”. 

in Christ,

AP

Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Mayhem

How it Went “Down”…
     On the morning of January 21st, 2013, as on all Inauguration Days, there are dozens of events, speeches and breakfasts in the nation’s capitol. This year was no different in that the usual invites went out to the usual VIPs, power brokers, politicians, and leaders. But, this year, a bold word was spoken at the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast by a man, a Messianic Rabbi, named Jonathan Cahn. In his own words, he stated that his message would not be politically correct, nor political, rather Biblical.

     He wasn’t joking and he delivered on his promise. For 35 minutes, he unfolded the truth that America is a nation in the early stages of Divine judgment and that we have time to repent and return to God as a nation. He urged us to pray in that direction… The biblical parallels he drew were stunning and the idea that prophecies thousands of years old could be unfolding on American soil during the 21st century rang hauntingly accurate.

     His speech was captured on video and made its way to YouTube. By Friday morning, 01.25.2013, I and many of the table leaders from ONE TH1NG had already seen it and forwarded the link on to friends, family, and co-workers. I had opportunity to watch it on Friday morning and immediately ripped and re-posted it on the Seasons of Life Ministries YouTube channel. By Friday evening, it had over 9,000 views.

     By Saturday, it was in the 20,000s and on Sunday morning, just 48 hours after posting it, it had 48,000 hits. Viral by any statistics. That day, we received correspondence from Scott Pinto at Hope of the World Ministries, in Wayne, NJ, Rabbi Cahn’s organization. He informed us that the production company that filmed the event owned the intellectual property and if too many people posted it before they were able to put it into proper distribution (which they plan to do with HOTW) it could wind up tied up in copyright court rather than getting into wide scale, legitimate distribution.

     We immediately complied and took the video down. However, I asked Scott if it would be permissible to put out a transcript of the speech, to which he replied “yes”. So, after hours of regular work and many hours of back and forth between YouTube and Evernote, we have the below transcription. It’s rough and fairly unedited, but you’ll get the idea. It is a long one, but a very worthy read. We look forward to your comments, questions, and reactions.

     Let’s pray for great repentance and revival in our nation while there is still time.

in Christ,

AP
UPDATE: The video has been reproduced and cleared for distribution as of 02.04.2013. It is live, again at: http://youtu.be/bovMw1l056k.

TRANSCRIPT:

     Members of the Presidential Inaugural Breakfast committee, and members of congress who have been here, Senators, Representatives, Ambassadors and delegates from other nations who are here, ministers and people of God and friends and media. We are gathered here in Washington DC, America’s capitol city, on January 21st, 2013 the morning of the Presidential Inauguration with one agenda and one purpose to come before the Lord and in His presence to seek His face and pray for His blessing His will and His purposes for its presidents, its government, this nation and its people. It is fitting that we do it this day which, more than any other, represents the future of America. We are here to inaugurate God’s own purposes. We have come here from every part of this land and from every background and persuasion to stand before the Almighty who transcends politics, movements, and men and before whom Kings and kingdoms rise and fall. Presidents change. Political parties come and go. Nations ascend and descend before Him who changes not. But He remains the same yesterday today and forever. We come before Him before whom men and women, kings and prophets, peoples and nations have come from ages past… come before Him to seek His face in troubled times. We come to pray for America. 
     But, how do we do that? How do we pray for this nation? Do we pray for riches, for power, for the success of national agendas?
 

     The Scriptures tell us that God hears the prayers of His people. But, we must pray according to His will. If a man has a terminal disease, we don’t pray for an increase of wealth, we pray for healing. If a city lies in danger of destruction, we don’t pray with flowery words, we sound the alarm. We pray for blessing. But, true blessing only comes in the will of God. So, the truth must be spoken, as well. We must pray according to the truth and we must not be afraid to speak the truth.We must give voice to what must be spoken. We must sound the alarm that must be sounded. We must address what must be addressed and so the message now will not be politically correct. Nor, will it be political. It will be biblical. It will be true. And, wherever it falls, let it fall. I will not hold back. And, if I offend you, I apologize that I cannot apologize for offending you. [Audience laughs] Without truth there is no love. On a day that so embodies the future course of this nation, it’s critical that we both pray and speak the truth. 

     In Ancient times, there is a nation known as the kingdom of Israel. It had been founded on God’s word, dedicated to His will, consecrated to His purposes, and God blessed it with prosperity, power, security, peace, and a place at the head of nations. 
     But, the people of Israel made a fatal mistake. In the midst of their blessings, they turned away from their God. They began to remove Him from their lives. Step by step, they ruled Him out of their culture, out of their government, out of their economy, out of the public square, out of the instruction and lives of their children. They ruled Him out of the kingdom. They would still at times invoke His name. But, increasingly, it rang hollow and meaningless. They had made themselves strangers to the God of their fathers and their foundation. 
     And, as God was driven from their lives, they brought in foreign gods and idols to replace Him – gods of sensuality, materialism, violence; idols of wealth and carnality, sexual promiscuity. They abandoned the ways of God, the laws, the standards of God and… for immorality. As the prophets cried out to them, they now called evil good and good evil. What they once knew to be immoral, they now celebrated. What they once knew to be right, they now warred against. It was a culture turned in upon itself. It is a civilization at war against the very foundation on which it had been established. And, the righteous, who simply remained true to what they had always known to be true, were now vilified, mocked, marginalized, labeled as intolerant, increasingly banned from the public square, and ultimately, persecuted.

     The nation’s culture grew increasingly vulgar, godless, and, and darkened. They now ridiculed, mocked, and blasphemed the name of God. It is as if a spiritual amnesia had overtaken the kingdom, as if they had never known God or His ways. And, they descended into the darkest of sins of nations that surrounded them: they offered up their children as sacrifices to the gods on the altars and the fires of Ba’al and Molech, and they now stood under the shadow of judgment and in danger of destruction and God called out to them to return, come back, be saved from destruction. HE sent to them seers and prophets to wake them up, call them back, but they wouldn’t listen.  They mocked the prophets. They persecuted them. And, they hardened their hearts and finally, something happened that brought them into the first stage of judgment.

     But, there was another nation or another civilization that was likewise founded on God’s word, dedicated to His will and consecrated to His purposes and from its very exception, America. Those who came to these shores centuries ago, to found a new civilization did so by dedicating it to God, committing it to His purposes and glory from the beginning. America was to be a city on a hill, a civilization to which others would look. It was to be a holy commonwealth and so they modeled it after Israel of the Bible. They brought forth its first government in the name of Jesus and for the glory of God. They established its first school system for the purpose and teaching of the word of God. They foretold that inasmuch as America would follow the ways of God, God would bless it, in fact that it would become the most powerful, most prosperous, the most blessed nation on earth – the head of nations. And, it would all come true.

     America would become the most blessed nation on earth, a refuge for the world’s exiles, a light for the world’s oppressed, a beacon against the dark forces of tyranny that threatened to engulf the world. America was blessed with prosperity, with peace, power, security and a place at the head of nations. America had been blessed as no nation in the history of this planet has ever been blessed. [applause, “amen”]

BUT…

     Something happened to the city on the hill. As the people of ancient Israel, in the midst of their blessings, committed a fatal error, so have we. We too, as a nation, have turned from God. We too, as a nation have removed Him from our lives. Step by step, we too have ruled Him out of our culture, out of our government, out of our economy. We, too, have ruled Him out of the instruction and lives of our children. We, too, have made God a stranger. And though we still, at times, invoke His name as a nation, it becomes increasingly hollow and meaningless. We have made ourselves strangers to God. And, as we have driven God from our national life, we have brought in other gods and idols to replace Him – gods of sensuality, violence, wealth, carnality, sexual promiscuity. And, as did Israel, so too, we have abandoned the ways of God and the laws of God for the ways of immorality. 
     The nation that was established to bring the word and the light of God now fills the earth with pornography. We, too, now call evil good and good evil. And, what we once knew to be immoral, we now celebrate. And, what we once knew to be right, we now war against. American culture has also become a culture turned in upon itself, a civilization at war against its own foundations. And, those who simply remain true to what we have always known to be true are now vilified, mocked, labeled “intolerant”, increasingly banned from the public square, and ultimately, persecuted. 
     We’ve now reached the point, this day, when a minister was driven out of the public square, banned from praying at the Inaugural for the simple reason that years ago he had preached a sermon simply saying that the Bible clearly has always said that is sin. It is a new America in which one can be banned from the public square simply for believing the Bible, where profanity is treated as holy and the holy is profane. A new America where the Bible is treated as contraband and nativity scenes are seen as dangerous. 
     Our culture has grown increasingly godless, vulgar, darkened. We now, too ridicule, mock, and blaspheme the name of God. It wasn’t that long ago that American television closed its broadcasting day with sermons about the Lord. Now, our televisions and computer screens are filled with words and images once unimaginable and God and Jesus have now become objects of comedy and mockery. 
     It’s as if a spiritual amnesia has overtaken America and the Lord asked Israel “can a nation forget its God?” And yet, Israel forgot and now we, too, have forgotten. America has forgotten her God. And, we too, as a nation, have partaken in the darkest of sins tomorrow is also a milestone of history. Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the day America legalized the killing of its unborn children. Forty years tomorrow.
     Israel offered up thousands of its children. America has offered up millions. Fifty million souls are not here today. Fifty million will not be here watching or cheering at the Inauguration. They are silent. For, their lives were legislated out of existence. Even from this city. And, in order to hide the magnitude of our moral descent, we redefine words and change their meanings on this and other sins. And, yet, a thousand apostate ministers swearing on a thousand Bibles will not change a jot or tittle of the Word of God. Though silent, they cry out in bearing witness to the darkest of our sins and God hears them. And, as He spoke to the ancient prophets in Israel, so His words echo down to us: “When you lift up your hands to Me in prayer, I will not listen for your hands are covered in blood.

     The city on the hill has grown darkened. Its lamp has grown dim. Its glory is fading, for God is not mocked. No nation can war against the very source of its blessings and expect its blessings to remain.  And, as it was with ancient Israel, the city on the hill now stands in the shadow of judgment.

     How does judgment come to a nation? After defying all of God’s calls and warnings, the nation of Israel would experience something unprecedented. It was the opening stage of national judgment. God removed one of Israel’s blessings. Years before its destruction he allowed it’s hedge of protection to be lifted up. He allowed an enemy to make a strike on the land. It was a wake up call. To avert national destruction, to wake them up. Nothing else would reach them. The strike was limited and temporary. The nation was now given a period of time to turn back to God or enter into judgment. The first opening Biblical sign of national judgment is this: the initial removal of the nation’s hedge of protection.

     So, it comes to pass that in America on September 11th, 2001, its hedge of protection was lifted. An enemy was allowed to make a strike on the land. It was temporary and contained. It was the wake up call – we all sensed it, even if we didn’t say it – and for a short time, it looked as if America would wake up, as if we were on the verge of a national revival. People flocked to churches and spoke of God. And then, a few weeks later, it was all over. There was no revival. There was no change of course because without repentance there is no revival. America continues down its spiritual descent. But now, it did so with even more fervor. Eleven years, now, after 9/11, the nation stands not closer to God, but much farther away.
     As I saw the smoke rising from New York City on that day, and when I stood at the corner at Ground Zero, a revelation began coming to me. The revelation would take the form of a book called “The Harbinger”. 

     The Harbinger was released last year. And, from the first week, it became a best-seller, spreading across the nation and now even it’s reaching into Capitol Hill. The revelation of The Harbinger is this: There exists and ancient mystery that lies behind everything from 9/11 to the collapse of the American economy, a mystery so precise that it actually reveals the actions of American leaders before they take them, the exact words of American leaders before they speak them, a mystery so exact that it gives the actual dates, even the hours of some of the most dramatic days in recent history. 
     In the last days of ancient Israel before its destruction, 9 harbingers – 9 prophetic signs of national judgment – appeared in the land. Those same nine harbingers are now reappearing on American soil. Some have appeared in New York City. Some have appeared here in Washington, D.C. Some have involved the highest leaders of the land, even the President. They’ve touched every realm: political, economic, cultural, spiritual, affect every American and every American’s fiuture. 

     The harbingers are revealed through an ancient scripture, the vow that Israel made after that first strike of warning. It appears in Isaiah 9:10. Instead of repentance, they responded to God’s warning with defiance. They said this: “The bricks are fallen down. But, we will rebuild with hewn stone. The sycamores have been cut down, but we will plant cedars in their place.” What they were saying was this: “God, you won’t humble us. You won’t cause us to return. We’re going to continue down our course. We will continue to abandon Your ways. We’ll defy you. And, even more than before, we will do so by our own efforts. We will rebuild and we will come back stronger than before. This vow of defiance would seal their fate, usher in their destruction. And, it’s the key to the 9 harbingers. We don’t even have the time here to begin to open up the mysteries of the harbingers, except to say that they are all manifesting to America. And, just to touch quickly on a few. 

     The fifth harbinger is.. in the book… is “the stone of judgment”. For this to manifest, a particular kind of stone must be chiseled out of mountain rock and placed on the ground of destruction where the strike occurred. Three years after 9/11, this stone of judgment appeared and was lowered in the pavement… on the pavement of Ground Zero. A ceremony took place around it. American leaders proclaimed vows of defiance over the stone. 

Harbinger #6 – the sycamore at
Ground Zero
     The sixth harbinger, the sign of the sycamore, a Biblical warning of national judgment. For this to manifest, a sycamore must be struck down in the ground of destruction. In the last moments of 9/11, the last tower came down, crashing down it sent a shock wave and a beam and it struck an object. The object was a tree. The tree was a sycamore. The biblical sign of national judgment, the sycamore, is fallen. 

     The seventh harbinger in Hebrew is called the “erez”. The sign of judgment, this one appeared in the sky at the corner of Ground Zero two years after the calamity. 

     The ninth harbinger is the vow of judgment. The vow of bricks and sycamores, Isaiah 9:10 the very…  in the very utterance, its very utterance in the last days of Israel would lead to the nation’s destruction. For this harbinger to manifest, an American leader would have to proclaim the vow and from the capitol city, proclaim a vow of judgment, and it would be linked, it would have to be linked to 9/11. If you see this happen, know that it is stunningly clear that your nation is in danger of judgment. On the day after 9/11 the United States Congress gathered at Capitol Hill, not far from here, and they gathered there, the place where the Inauguration will happen today, to give America’s response to the calamity, just as ancient Israel had presented its response to the calamity in Isaiah 9.10.  

     The man appointed to speak for the nation was the Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle. He makes his way to the podium and presents the nation’s response. At the end of his speech, the words of the ancient vow that bring national judgment came forth out of his mouth. He says this: “There is a passage in the Bible from Isaiah that I think speaks to all of us at times like this.” He says “the bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone.” Then, he speaks of the tree that is struck down. He speaks it without even realizing there is an actual tree at Ground Zero that’s being discovered that day. He speaks of the stone of judgment that will go up. It will come to pass three years later. 

     He has no idea what he is doing, but the vow of judgment is pronounced. Israel’s vow of judgment becomes America’s and is recorded in the annals of Congress. It is ominous. It will set the nation’s course. It will lead to the next national shaking that will not involve buildings, but will be the implosion of the American economy itself, the collapse of America’s economy that still affects everyone to this day. In “The Harbinger” it’s call “the second shaking”. And, behind this second shaking, this economic implosion, lies a stream of ancient Biblical mysteries. We don’t have time to speak of these now, except to mention one mind-boggling reality.

     There was a day given in the Bible, called on the Hebrew calendar the 29th day of Elul. Once, every 7 years on that date, Elul 29, the nation’s financial accounts were wiped away. All accounts of credit and debt wiped away. It was originally meant to be a blessing, but as the nation had driven God out of its life and pursued idols and wealth, a sign.. it became a sign that was condemning the, their rejection of God and that struck the financial realm. The peak of the collapse of the American economy took place at the end of September, 2008.  On that day, the stock market crashed 777 points, the greatest crash on Wall Street in America’s history. When did it happen? The greatest collapse in Wall Street history took place on the 29th day of Elul, the exact day given in the Bible to strike a nation’s financial realm that has driven God out of its life. And, the same exact day, the same exact hours.

     But, Elul 29 is part of a seven year mystery. What happens if we go back 7 years from the greatest crash in American history? It takes us to September, 2001, the month of 9/11. But, something else happened. That month. The other greatest stock market crash in American history to that date. When did that take place? The other greatest stock market crash in America took place on the exact same Biblical day appointed to strike a nation’s financial realm that is under judgment. 

     The two greatest collapses in American history up to those dates both happen on the exact same Biblical day, at exactly seven years apart to the Biblical day and hour. And there’s a prophetic mystery here. Behind everything we’re seeing, God is alive. There is a prophetic warning in this and that is: if America does not return to God, it’s prosperity, and we will see the end of the prosperity and the end of the American Age as we know it. 

     Since The Harbinger was released, that which was foreshadowed in its pages is actually coming true. The harbingers and the mysteries haven’t stopped. C.. they’re continuing to manifest. In fact, one of them took place this year. It involved the President, who is about to be inaugurated, at Ground Zero, this year. And one of the mysteries of The Harbinger is called “the mystery ground”. It actually involves this day. The inauguration, or rather the first inauguration of which this day is the continuation. It was the day that America as we know it, it’s part of the mystery why we’re here. It was the day that America, as we know it, came into existence. April 30th, 1789. It was the day the first President was sworn into office, the Inauguration of George Washington. Washington placed his hand on the Bible, and then he gave the first ever Presidential address. And, in that speech, on America’s first day, as a fully born nation, Washington said this. He said “the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” 

     What was he saying? He was saying “America’s blessings are based on its relationship with God. If America ever disregards or forgets or turns away from the eternal rules of order and rights, the laws, the precepts, the standards, the ways of God, if America ever departs from these, then the blessings of God will be withdrawn from the land.” This is the prophetic warning embedded in our national foundation. And, it is coming true in our day. We are now witnessing America increasingly disregarding the eternal rules of order and right which God has ordained. And, the warning is, that if we do so, the smiles of Heaven the blessings of God will be withdrawn. 
     When judgment came to Israel, the destruction returned to the same ground where the nation had been dedicated to God, the temple mount. The calamity returns to the nation’s ground of consecration, dedication. After Washington gave that prophetic warning, he and the nation’s first Senate and House of Representatives all proceeded on foot from Federal Hall, the place of the Inauguration to a site especially chosen for the nation’s first government to pray and dedicate America’s future to God. And, that’s what they did on that first Inauguration on America’s first day as a formed nation.  They prayed and committed the nation’s future to God. That was the nation’s consecration ground. If we can find out where that ground is, we will have a mystery.

The Chapel at Ground Zero, which averted destruction
because of the sycamore.
     Where did it take place? It happened in the nation’s capitol. But, the capitol then was not Washington, D.C., it was New York City. Where? The place where they dedicated America to God on its first day as a nation. America’s consecration ground is Ground Zero. America was dedicated to God at Ground Zero. The ancient mystery the calamity returns to the ground of the nation’s ground of consecration. And, it was on that ground that the harbingers appeared. It was in the soil of America’s consecration that that sycamore grew and was struck down. It was there that it all happened. And, on 9/11 a shock wave went forth from ground zero and struck and object. It struck Federal Hall, the very place where Washington was sworn in and where he gave that prophetic warning of what would happen if America ever turned away from God. And, it struck the foundation of America and put a crack in the very foundation of Federal Hall. But, all around Ground Zero, every building was ruined. They were destroyed. Except one. Which one? It was the little stone chapel in which they dedicated America’s future to God. And, why was it protected? It was protected because there was an object outside the chapel which absorbed the full force of the calamity. The object was the harbinger – the sycamore.
     You see, the purpose of the harbingers is not to consign a nation to judgment, but to waken it to redemption. It’s a message of return. The voice of God is calling this nation to return in prayer, in humility, in repentance, and in hope. And, here we stand today, on the 21st day of January, 2013 in the capitol city on this same day, the continuation of that first inaugural day, and on that first inaugural day, they gathered together in prayer and consecrated America’s future to God, and here we now are, who are of that future for which they prayed. And, we are now gathered together in the prayer gathering of that day, before the Almighty. And, we stand here, centuries later, in witness to God’s hand of faithfulness and blessing on this land. But, we stand here also, in witness to the fact that America has done exactly that of which the.. the we were warned that first day by Washington never to do. We bear witness that we have turned from His eternal ways and the order of right. We have turned and are rapidly turning as a nation away from His face. We all know it.
     And, that is why it is so crucial that we have gathered here today  in this place and on this day. For, very shortly, the President will place his hand on an object. He will place his hand on the Bible and we say, and we appeal, and we say “Mr. President we come here to pray for America, for its government, for you, its leader and for its future. We pray for your blessing and your prosperity in the will of God, because only in the will of God can we know true blessing. The answer is not found in the agendas of man or political parties, but the answer is found in upon that object upon which your hand will rest, upon the Word of God. For, everything else will pass away, but the Word of God will abide forever. So, it must be asked in respect, can you lay your left hand upon his Word, the Word of God and then with your right hand enact any law that would go against it? Can you invoke the name of God to assume the presidency and then in any way endorse anything which clearly wars against the ways of God, that you invoke. Can you stand in the city named after our first President and perform the act that he first performed on that first day and ignore the warning he gave that day to this nation? Can you do all that and disregard the eternal rules and order of right which heaven itself has ordained? Can you utter the words ‘so help me, God’ if you should in any way take part in leading a nation farther from God that you invoke to help? We pray for your blessing in the will of God. For, if a nation that once knew the Almighty is called to return to Him, then so too, must the one who leads it. You will hold in your hand the Bible of Abraham Lincoln. But, do you not know what Lincoln said and did in the midst of the darkness that engulfed this land once before, the darkness he saw as the righteous judgment of God? 
     Lincoln issued a call to the nation. He said this: “It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence on the overruling power of God. To confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow with the assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations are only blessed whose God is the Lord. And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that this awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but punishment inflicted upon it, upon us, for our own presumptuous sins to [unintelligible] the land of national reformation as a whole people? We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand that preserved us in peace and multiplied it and enriched and strengthened us. It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power. To confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
     So, Lincoln set forth this call to America to repent, to turn to God, to seek His mercy and soon after that call went forth, the tide of war began to turn that would ultimately lead to national healing. The words of Abraham Lincoln ring out to us today that those nations only are blessed whose god is the Lord. Has this nation grown so far from God that we cannot even imagine a president doing so today? Mr. President, if you seek, if you look to Lincoln as your model, then dare to follow him in his actions. 
[applause]
     For, all the politics and all the parties and all the inaugural balls and all the voices of political correctness and all the, all the sounds of applause will grow silent and still and we will be left, each of us, all of us, to stand before the Almighty. And it will not matter then how many votes we won or how much praise we garnered. Only the we were faithful to Him and to His word. The voice of Lincoln now cries out to us and pleads with us let us humble ourselves confess our national sins and pray for forgiveness. As it is written in the Word of God – “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from Heaven, I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land.
[applause]
     We have come here on the 21st day of January, 2013 to the capitol city on the day of the Presidential Inauguration for that purpose, to humble ourselves and pray and to seek his face and to turn from our evil ways. The time is late, the hour is critical. A great nation proceeds in rapid spiritual descent and these, the signs of warnings and judgment are manifesting in this land. The shadow of judgment is upon us and for those who would ask, “How, in light of judgment, can one be saved or safe?” we give the answer: The word in Hebrew for safety and salvation is Yeshua. Yeshua is the name, which we know in English as “Jesus”. Outside of Him there is no safety. But, inside of Him there is no fear. It was for Him. And in His name that this nation, this civilization, this city on the hill, named America came into existence. And it’s only in Him and in His name that its problems can ultimately be answered. He remains the answer, the light, in the darkness, the hope when all other hopes are faded and gone. 
     And, to all who will come He will receive and He calls out “Come, for all you who hear this message and you dwell in darkness, it’s time to come and you will not be turned away.” And for all you who know Him, you, His people. It’s time to put away any shade of darkness and compromise and take up the mantle of your calling. It’s time to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world you were called to be in truth, in power, in love. It’s time to light up the darkness. It’s time to be strong. It’s time to be bold. It’s time to be radical. The watchman is crying out. The trumpets are sounding. The voice of the Lord is calling to this nation, saying “Return! Return!” Let the world go forth, let the power of God be seen in this land! Let revival burst forth like a mighty river! The voice is calling – prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His path, let every mountain and hill be cast down, and every valley be lifted up and let the crooked way become straight, let the rough way become smooth, the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken “Qum e ore iki va oret.” Arise and shine, for the light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen on you in the name above every name Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Light of the world, the Hope of America, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the glory o His people, Israel, Amen and amen and amen, to Him be the glory. 
END TRANSCRIPT

Be a VIP at the Biggest Super Bowl Party Ever!

NOTE: Late this afternoon, we will begin publishing the transcript of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s keynote address at the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast. For now, please enjoy this week’s installment of Monday Morning Momentum in a Minute.
AP

“But, if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 2 Peter 1:9”

     When we lose touch with the massiveness of the sins we’ve been forgiven, we’ve become nearsighted and blind. You and I are “eternally opposed” by the enemy, be it Satan, our old sin nature, or the world and their common MO is to keep us so focused on present circumstances and worries of what is yet to come that we are just that: nearsighted and blind. The result – discouragement, ineffectiveness, and “unproductiveness”.

     This morning, I was interrupted on several occasions by each one of our three toddlers and even a few requests by my wife. When you crave uninterrupted time in the word like I was craving it this morning, “interruptions” can easily become the objects of your wrath. Knowing I couldn’t unleash my full fury on my bride or these three precious children, my brain followed the natural pecking order – “point your anger somewhere else”. In this case, it was inward. In other words, rather than exploding at my wife and kids, I chose to be discouraged. I had become short sighted.

     Ever been there?

     The beauty of my folly, or should I say the God who saves me from my own folly, is that ten minutes later, my wife encouraged me with this very verse:
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1.10-11)



Don’t Be Tardy to the Party…

     Imagine for a moment, the scene outside the Oscars or the Super Bowl – the atmosphere is rife with celebration and anticipation of the imminent event. The air is charged with excitement, with everyone looking forward to great moments of victory for someone(s) who will be honored very soon. But, this isn’t the Oscars and the crowd is far larger than all of the Super Bowls combined. 

     It’s THE biggest party EVER – the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) and the day we all get to meet Jesus face to face! And, that’s not all… You hear your name announced in 4-D Dolby Pro Logic 10.1 Infinisound. At the mention of your name, Jesus and the billions in attendance all shout “WELCOMMMMME!!!!” in unison. Balloons fall from the ceiling of heaven, a warm blizzard of confetti flies in your face, choirs of angels sing and Chris Tomlin (God’s worship leader) plays power chords on his 50-string guitar. You are given a VIP welcome to the biggest party EVER!!! Whoop-whoop!!!

     Would that not be “a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom”?

Be Encouraged
     This is the target we have to keep our eyes on. This is the target I’m praying right now that God keeps my eyes on. It is so easy to become discouraged, ineffective, and unproductive when we are caught in near-sightedness. Lift up your eyes – look far into your past to see all the sin Christ has lifted you out of. Lift up your eyes – look into the future where a rich welcome awaits those who choose not to forget that we have been cleansed from our past sins.

Beg Like Jesus Commanded

“…let no sin rule over me. (Psalm 119:133)”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

     I wonder what Jesus’ audience thought about this statement. After all, the Pharisees had been teaching people to obey the law of Moses and then some for what seemed like forever. For Jesus to say this in the about the same breath as “poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 5:2)” must have seemed a bit strange: He had already begun to unfold the wrapper of grace, was He now exposing more law as the gift?

Or, was it much simpler than that?

     Whether Psalm 119 was written by David or Ezra, it is clear that the author’s heart was broken, wrecked, and shattered for the Lord. As we read through v 131 and 133 we hear from a man who opened his mouth, panting for God’s word. Jesus makes it clear throughout the Beatitudes that sincere and pure devotion to God isn’t about the outward behavior, rather a heart desperate for God, dependent on Him, that propels us to outward behavior.

A resume rich in church activity doesn’t necessarily indicate a beggar’s heart for God. Only the poor in spirit have room for God in their hearts.

     As we enter week 2 of the fast, there are times when our flesh begs for old forms of satisfaction: “comfort” food, entertainment, and other forms of self comfort rather than on the God of all comfort. Jesus’ statement from Matthew 5.8 is clear – you can’t have both. These lesser gods have not only stolen our full devotion from God, but deprived us of experiencing the God who sent us “the Comforter”. Why would we want anything less? Because it’s wrapped in a more tangible, sleek package and available with free shipping or for instant download?

     “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1.27)”

    Question yourself as you pray – “What in the world is polluting me, Lord? What has my heart leaning even the slightest degree away from You? What can be done about the condition of my heart that would make me hate “even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh (Jude 1.23) and bring me to a place where I pant for Your commands?

     How can any sin “rule over” us if our hearts are that hungry for God?

Be Encouraged
    God sent us the Comforter to do just that – comfort us. Let us call on Him today with hearts that desire not God’s blessings, but the God of all blessings. Surely, His blessings will follow, but we cannot manufacture a heart desperate for Him. This is a work of God and it must be begged for. Would you be willing to beg God for this?

In Christ,

AP

The Answer to the Empty Feeling – Monday Morning Momemtum

What’s Got Your Eye?
     This year, as our church-wide fast began, I felt compelled to dig into Psalm 119. Glad I did.

“Direct me in the path of your commands,
    for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
    and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;    preserve my life according to your word. 
(Psalm 119:34-37)”

It’s All About Value
     Free Chapel embarks on a corporate, 3-day “water only” followed by 18 days of “Daniel Fast“. I never truly realize how valuable something is to me until I don’t have it. You? Yeah, I value water. MAN, I value food! Unfortunately, I have an addiction – refined sugar. That’s one food I value above all others. I’ll eat refined sugar products – desserts, cereals, candy, desserts to a gluttonous level – often to control my mood rather than for my stomach. Sugar is nowhere on the Ten Commandments, but abuse of any substance is idolatry and begs the question: “why would anyone want to delight in anything less than Jesus?” For me, it’s a rival god, it’s nutritionally worthless and it’s killing me and my potential with my own fork/spoon/hand

     Not everyone struggles with food addictions, but we all struggle with something. In the past, I’ve tried to manage my refined sugar addiction by behavior modification: “don’t”, much like I used to try to manage my addiction to pornography. Knowing that, Lord willing, this year I will celebrate 12 years clean from pornography, I understand that defeating that demon wasn’t about behavior modification, it was about hating the sin and surrender to Christ… oh, and a supernatural act of the Spirit, no? 

     When we come into alignment with what God values, we begin to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Selfish ambition is gradually replaced with God-ambition. When it comes to food, I need a double dose of love for God and a dose of hate for what is worthless. What’s your rival god? What are you using to fill that familiar empty feeling? What do you occasionally value more than God and His plan for your life?

Filling in the Blank

John Woodall will kick
off a transformational
conversation at
ONE TH1NG this Friday.

     We all have a blank spot in us, an ache, a God-sized hole in our hearts that we try to fill in with lesser solutions: accomplishment, material gain(s), sex, drugs, etc, things that at the judgment seat of Christ will be exposed for their true value – worthless. Side note: If you’re a man in the Alpharetta/Cumming area, you don’t want to miss John Woodall at ONE TH1NG this Friday morning at the Cabernet Restaurant at 7AM. He’ll be talking about the ache – an ache that in a Genesis 3 world, refuses to be healed until Christ returns. 

     In the meantime, the Psalmist points out the relationship between life and things: it is the nature of worthless things to suck the life out of us rather than to preserve our life. And yet, we chase after this stuff, often to the exclusion of the life giving plan that the life giving God has for us. Selfish ambition always finds us knocking on the door of stuff that is utterly worthless in God’s eyes. “Can you please fill in my blank?”

     In fasting, I am constantly reminded that I am blessed with opportunities to clean out the clutter that clogs my heart – literally and figuratively. The challenge is keeping it out. Behavior mod is a short road leading back to square one. Only a transformed mind and surrendered heart will do. 

Experience True Life
     Today, I encourage you to give up food or something incredibly valuable for more than 48 hours. You know your idols and rival gods. Pick one, but try food first. Then, pray as the psalmist did that God will help you keep your eyes and heart delighted in Him and away from things that are ultimately worthless in His economy. 

     May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you, sanctify you, and transform you into the image of Christ you were designed to be from the start.

in Christ,

AP