Adonai, Master of the earth and sky…

Inspiration comes in so many ways.  But for me, music inspires me just as much as anything else in and around my life.  Most of my teenage years were heavily influenced by music.  So much so, it’s influence culminated while at a KISS concert in 1983, I gave my life to Jesus while at that concert.  Not because of anything the band did or said.  It’s the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life on an individual in the midst of what I all experienced that night and the days that filled the first 18 years of my life.

Today, music and the lyric that goes with it still influences and inspires my life.  Over the past several months I have written a lot that has been influenced by The Choir, Stryper, U2, The Lost Dogs, Lifehouse, Jesus Culture, and Martin Smith.  I’ve not posted any of those writings as I either never completed them or they felt too awkward to post.

While at a dance performance by the girls that make of Steps of Faith, I looked intently at my life.  I thought of dreams I have had for my life, failures I’ve experienced, and the present-day blessings that fill my time and space.  This was the first performance for me to attend where my oldest daughter wasn’t performing.  (However, my 15 year old was performing).  My oldest was on stage as a new instructor for the dance studio… I’m so proud! The performance was a beautiful display of artistic interpretation to the songs that spoke of the Names of God.

One song that was performed was Adonai.  I didn’t know the song, but it got me thinking about another song I was very familiar with by the band Petra, 1985.  Adonai means Master.  If God is Adonai in your life, He is your Boss, the One you surrender everything to.  Adonai is the One you give complete allegiance to – God – the Creator of the universe in which we live.

I recall being in Jerusalem back in 1990.  What I am recalling is a Fall evening.  We were at the Wailing Wall, also known as the Western Wall, in the Western Wall Plaza.  It’s a place of prayer and one of the most Holy places for the Jewish people.  That evening there was a gentleman walking backward away from the Wall – all the way across the Plaza.  At the top of his lungs he shouted in Hebrew the different names of God.  It was a beautiful moment.  It was one of the top highlights of the trip for me.  Hearing his praise to God without any reservation in front of all of us there… it was very moving!  I recall being emotionally moved in the moment as he spoke the name, Adonai.

As I write, I praise Adonai, “You alone are worthy! Adonai, let creation testify. Let your majesty be magnified in me.  Adonai you are an endless mystery.” (Petra, Beat The System).  It’s refreshing to look back and listen to these lyrics… a praise to God.  It reminds me of so much I have given in commitments to God, Adonai, my Master.  I want to live my life unashamed, surrendered, without reserve!  Each day I want to dwell in His righteousness… my Master and Lord – Adonai.

Walking into the presence of God

Walking in the presence of God
Walking in the presence of God

Walking with God is not always as clear as we would like for it to be.  But then, maybe we shouldn’t desire for it to be clear.  Walking with God is about trusting Him… trusting his Son, Jesus, to be who he has destined to be in our lives. And allowing the Holy Spirit to have total freedom to lead and empower as He desires.

Today, I went for a hike on a rainy day up Pine Mountain.  As I walked up the mountain, I thought of Moses and wondered what it was like for him to walk up to spend time with God in such an intimate way.  I’m no Moses but as I approached the clouds I asked God to surround me and let me walk with Him up there.  I didn’t descend the mountain with stone tablets or a specific word to share with His people, but rather an assurance He is with me.

GOD said to Moses, “Get ready. I’m about to come to you in a thick cloud so that the people can listen in and trust you completely when I speak to you.”  (Exodus 19:9, The Message).

Even though our lives don’t seem to make sense at times – or the outcomes aren’t as we planned – or the answer to prayer didn’t come in a way we wanted it to – He is with us.  I captured the moment in this picture.  I thought about how much this path represents life… my life.  As I reflect upon this afternoon,

Walking into the future is much like this path. I’m asking God to fall on me and my path as the clouds did today on the mountain. Totally enveloped by His presence.

I will pursue You

Give my lifeToday is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent.  It is a time that many Christians take to prepare themselves leading up to the celebration of Easter.  I have heard of those who are giving up things like chocolate, Facebook, Coke, or some other daily habit during this time.

Lent is not something my church tradition has observed.  But I have grown increasingly curious to look at it more the past couple of years.  After reading Margaret Feinberg‘s book, Wonderstruck, I have decided to take the next 40 days as a time to focus my prayer life.

Margaret writes about how she fell in love with this time of Lent.  She talks about God leading her to give up prayer… at least prayer in the form that she had grown accustomed – lengthy prayers.  God had instructed her to shorten her prayers to three words.  Imagine that!  Condensing every prayer down to three words.  I don’t know if my brain has the vocabulary or creativity to accomplish that kind of prayer.

During Lent, I’m not going to cut my prayers down to three words but I am going to cut out praying for my personal needs over the next 40 days.  Jesus says in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” (New Century Version).  I’ve been noticing how much my praying is focused on me… my needs… my wants… I have made prayer about me and not about Jesus.Your presence

Jesus says if we will seek God’s kingdom first – what He wants – THEN our other needs will be met.  It seems like I have had my prayer life backward.  Praying for my needs and not necessarily seeking first God’s kingdom.  Over the next 40 days I want to grow closer to God and I want to get to know Him on a deeper level in the power of His Holy Spirit through prayer.

Oswald Chambers states,

The goal of my spiritual life is such close identification with Jesus Christ that I will always hear God and know that God always hears me (see John 11:41). If I am united with Jesus Christ, I hear God all the time through the devotion of hearing. A flower, a tree, or a servant of God may convey God’s message to me. What hinders me from hearing is my attention to other things. It is not that I don’t want to hear God, but I am not devoted in the right areas of my life. I am devoted to things and even to service and my own convictions. (My Utmost for His Highest, February 13).

Over the next 40 days I want my life to be marked by being devoted to the right things.  To the pursuit of walking in His presence.  How are you going to spend these days leading up to the celebration of Easter?

Walk with me (Live), Jesus Culture

While traveling this week I downloaded the music of Jesus Culture featuring Martin Smith.  What an amazing album this is!!  If you have not heard this music and worshiped Jesus with Jesus Culture –  don’t delay!  These are the lyrics of one of the songs along with the video shot from the recording of this worship album.

Author of the world walk with me
Ruler of the earth walk with me
Calmer of the storm walk with me
Healer of my heart walk with me

How I need you
How I need you
Oh Jesus walk with me

Light for every step walk with me
Ruler of each breath walk with me

How I need you
How I need you
Oh Jesus walk with me

How I love you
How I love you
Oh Jesus walk with me

In your presence Lord there is peace – There is rest
In your presence Lord there is life that never ends
In your presence Lord there is joy – There is joy
In your presence Lord there is life that never ends

Oh want you walk with me God
Oh the One who gives me life
The One who gives me joy

How I need you
How I need you
Oh Jesus walk with me

Everyday

How I love you
How I love you
Oh Jesus walk with me

Through every storm and situation – How I need You, God.  How I need You. I need more of Your presence, God.  Everyday – everyday.  I can’t go one single step – one single step without Your presence – God.  Without You the source of my strength – the source of  my joy – the reason I come alive, God.  The reason I come alive is just to be with You – my love – my love – the greatest love – the love of my life – it’s you it’s you –  Jesus want you walk with me

In your presence Lord there is peace – There is rest
In your presence Lord there is life that never ends
In your presence Lord there is joy – There is joy
In your presence Lord there is life that never ends

How I need you
How I need you
Oh Jesus walk with me

How I live you
How I love you
Oh Jesus walk with me

King Jesus is faithful… Celebrate him today!

IMG_0539 VirginiaThrough everything we face in life, Jesus is faithful. In a time where commitment is a rare, Jesus is faithful.

Jesus faithfully loves us all. He is consistent in his dealings with us. Jesus is faithful when we find ourselves so often unfaithful.

God, as we begin this new day,

Listen, God! Please pay attention! Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries? King-God, I need your help. Every morning you’ll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend. (Psalm 5:1-3, The Message).

Today we need the Lord’s help and strength to fulfill his mission in our lives. His faithfulness extends beyond the limits we set up upon our lives. His love reigns and leads us in righteousness for the sake of his name.

Jesus is king… today let’s celebrate him and proclaim his great and mighty faithfulness.

His majesty surrounds us… Stand strong today in the power and the might of his Holy Spirit.

“Let the little children come to me…”

At times, my two-year old gets a little jealous of the attention her daddy gets from the other children.  When my older children hug me or sit with me she wants to draw closer to me.  She will typically say, “My daddy!”

After work I will pick up my son from school then head over to the baby sitters to pick up my daughter.  Everyday my son hopes when he walks up to the door  she will want to run to him and hug him.  Each time she runs past him.  I can’t get up the steps to the front porch before she is literally jumping off of the top step and into my arms.

As I caught her yesterday, I thought to myself, “That’s faith.”  She loves me and can’t wait to see me.  She can’t wait for me to hold her.  Her 10-year-old brother can’t distract her attention from me.  As we arrive home, she begins to see the other children (all teenagers) she doesn’t want them.  She only wants her daddy.  She holds my hand, sits in my lap, and will only take her cup of milk from me in those first moments we are together again.

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Luke 4:16, NIV).

In this passage, we see the love Jesus has for children.  I think Jesus is conveying to us his love for all of his children. And the manner in which we should go to him… as little children.  As I have thought about the faith of my little girl, in action, as she jumps from the top step and – into my arms – I have questioned where I stand today with faith.  Do I live with this same excitement? Do I run to spend time with the Lord?  Do I run past the distractions to be only in His presence?  Do I want only the food He can give me from the moments I spend with Him? Do I give him my strict attention at the beginning of each new day?

The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

 

Have you been accused of cheating on God?

I keep reading James 4 and 5.  It seems like for the past couple of years I will go through moments where I keep going back to these two chapters… over and over.  The other morning I sat down to read and James 4 came to mind so once again I begin to read.  The words, “You’re cheating on God.” stood out to me.  My first reaction was, “No, I’m not.” Until I read the next couple of verses.

You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”  (James 4:4-6, The Message).

If you have been keeping up with me the past week or so – you will know I have been reflecting a lot from Margaret Feinberg’s new book Wonderstruck.  I have been more focused on the wonder of God and how He takes the opportunity to show up in our lives.  Margaret’s thoughts have led me down a path that looks for how God plans on showing up next.  I have been finding that life is a bit more wonderful when I live with this kind of expectancy.

God wants our attention.  Not only our attention but our affection… deep love and commitment to Him.  He desires for us to want only Him.  The book of James reminds us, “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.”  I asked myself, “Where have my pursuits and thoughts been?”  Career, money, family, that problem I can’t seem to conquer, some sin, and/or God’s will more than God Himself – These are all areas in which any of us could be accused of cheating on God.  Now why any of us would really do that is really the mystery.  While I sit here and ponder this I really wonder how in the world I could ever put anything else before God.  His love for us goes beyond what any language can communicate.  In fact, His love is best communicated through the life of His Son – Jesus.  But, I know the attraction to flirt with the world is there.  The way James puts it each time I decide to give my focus and affection somewhere else – I am cheating on God.

It doesn’t have to be a sinful thing that moves us into flirting with the world.  It could be a good thing… even a godly thing… as long as it takes the place of God then we have walked into a situation that could lead us into relying upon ourselves, someone else, or that thing that has won our affection more so than God.

So, where do your thoughts take you?  Are you living in oneness with God or are you cheating on Him?