Meet Jesus : Pleasing God Matthew 3:17

ImageMatthew 3:17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 When we connect with Jesus we connect with pleasing God.  Jesus pleases the Father.  When we are with Him, we are pleasing the Father.  That is important.  So often in life, we want to please our Father.  When you meet with Jesus, you are in the environment of pleasing Him.  You can’t miss pleasing Him.

Pleasing God may mean doing tough work.  While working through some conflict mediation, we came to the point of closing in prayer.  It had been a tough night.  Everyone had spent emotional energy to embrace peace.  It was the right thing to do.  It is greatly pleasing to God to do everything that leads to peace and building each other.  That does not make it easy.  But it is pleasing.  The scripture came to mind as we prayed from Zephaniah 3.  God joys over us with singing.  That word joy means to jump up and dance and pirouette. What a picture of God singing and jumping and spinning over us with joy!  Doing the hard thing is pleasing to Him.

ACT!  Take one item you are unsure about in your relationship with God.  Examine it.  Is Jesus involved in it?  If you were doing it or being involved in it would you invite Jesus to be a part?

PRAY!  Father, help me to please You.  Help me to meet with Jesus when I plan an activity.  I can always be sure it will be pleasing  to You when I meet with Him to do it.  Help me keep that focus, Father.

Meet Jesus: Fire Baptizer Matthew 3:11

meetjesusfireMatthew 3:11: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

 Be ready for change when you meet Jesus.  John gets us focused in our preparation.  Meeting Jesus can make you different from the inside out.  He brings the Holy Spirit and fire to pour over you and change you.  Think of it this way.  It is like having chemical fire on the inside (the Holy Spirit) and liquid fire on the outside. However, the real you is strengthened not burned.  The stuff that is between you and Him will be cleansed.

Conflict is one of those baptizers in the Holy Spirit.  We want to avoid it, yet it is the right thing.  God used conflict to cause us to dig deeper into understanding of relationships and life.  The deeper we dig, the stronger we become.  In talking to a leader, it struck me to provoke him that leaders love resolving conflict.  They don’t love the conflict or the anger and frustration that may accompany it.  They do love the process of resolution and the end result.  Through conflict we are baptized in Holy Spirit fire.  He strengthens our resolve and our ability to move ahead.  He causes us to face hard items that need to be removed.  It is one way He baptizes us with fire.

 ACT!  Pick an item that needs to be burned away in your life.  Put it in front of Him for handling.

 PRAY!  Father, I am not afraid of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire.  I await continually meeting with Jesus to be continually cleansed. Let Your faithful and just character enter into my life as I confess my sin before You.  Forgive me and cleanse me from all ways that are unlike You.

If we can pray for you regarding anything in your life, please let us know.  Our greatest blessing is to bless others in prayer.   www.prayermetro.com   Phil

Meet Jesus: Life Giver Matthew 1:2

Matthew 1: 2: Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;

 Jesus comes from the line of Abraham.  Abraham was a giver of life.  Abraham turned faith into a lineage of ability and more life.  Abraham was an investor in the future.  His sights were always set forward.

Meeting Jesus means meeting the future.  He is future focused.  He intends to begat.  He intends to birth new life, new dreams, new ways, and new opportunities for you.

ACT! Take that dream of yours.  Think of who else could be involved.  Give them the opportunity to be a part.

PRAY! Gracious Father of Life, Jesus challenges me to be like You.  You are a Father.  Abraham got his ways from You, the Father of fathers.  Teach me to birth newness through others

Meet Jesus: Escape From Trouble Matthew 2:13

meetjesusMatthew 2:13: And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14: When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

 When trouble arises, Jesus is an escape artist.  He is totally able to get us to a place of escape and safety.  That’s necessary sometimes.  Sometimes facing the issue won’t help.  Sometimes trying to bring the trouble under rule won’t help.  Sometimes we need a place of escape.  Sometimes we need Jesus to take us to a place to let trouble blow over.  Then we can go back.

 ACT! Trouble comes in many forms.  Do you need escape from one form or another?  Take time to listen to God.  Where is Egypt for your trouble?  Where can you wait it out until it passes?

 PRAY! Father, troubles surround us every day.  You know all my troubles.  You know the ones I can face and conquer.  You know the ones I can give over to the  governance of Jesus.  You know the ones that need a place of escape.  Show me the difference.  Guide me.

Meet Jesus : Receiver of Gifts Matthew 2:11

Matthew 2:11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Abundant living is a promise of  Jesus.  He comes to give us life and life more abundantly.  The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  Jesus brings abundance.  In that abundance is our capacity to respond in giving to Him.  He is never embarrassed in receiving.  He is a receiver of gifts as well as a giver of abundance.  Abundance is the capacity to give.

ACT!  Give to Jesus.  You may not have gold or frankincense, but you have something.  It may be finances for the kingdom.  It may be an ability that will bless the kingdom.  Give out of your abundance.

PRAY!  Father of Giving, You have enabled me with more than I need.  Jesus told me that when I give to the least, I have given to him.  Show me where to give of myself of Your abundance.

copyright 2001 Phil Larson

Get Outside The Reach @Christmas

Get Out Side The Reach

Usual travels this week include a trip from OKC to Matamoros and back again.  Sort of a Bilbo Baggins adventure.   Though, I’m not sure which end is the Shire.   Raul and I certainly don’t look like Hobbits even though we might have hairyness.

This year, I am staying home. Raul and Abdiel are in Matamoros.   Fiero will take another load of   toys today.   I will watch the star from afar and trust the wise men to do the job.

Why do we do this?  Why have we connected with this congregation in Matamoros called CAREVI?  Why don’t we just stay home instead of drive for 12 hours one way?  What is the purpose?

Get Outside Your Self…

A big reason is to stay outside of ourselves.  It is easy to go downtown and deliver gifts to kids who have more on a poor day than some kids in Matamoros on a rich day.   Ever watched a kid who has never opened a new box open a new toy?  Used stuff really is not the focus.  But getting a new toy in the box is an amazing experience for some of these kids.   Sure, I’ve helped a little and my wife has helped a lot right here in OKC with families needing Christmas.  Yet, they have so much even when they have little.

Get Outside Your Comfort

There is a need to be uncomfortable.  Our lives have little real sacrifice.  Try driving toys across an armed border knowing you will drive past military and cartel operations just to bless someone.  A little unnerving.   We need to be unnerved.  We need to remember.  We need to think about the chaos our comfortable, drugged, entertainment, make me happy culture in the US creates to sustain.  All of those guns and threats exist to supply US entertainment and leisure.  Hmmmm

Get Outside The Reach

Sometimes we need to see the miraculous.   How in this world doe multiple churches and business professionals in OKC come together to support folks in Matamoros?   Black and Latino and White churches here; Baptist and Nazarene and Full Gospel churches here;   join and bless with gifts and gospel folks they will never meet.

Return

Then we come home.  Then we live with memories and facebook connections in between.  Sure I  get to stay connected unlike missions works in the old days.  But it doesn’t smell the same.  It does not taste the same.  It does not love the same.  Sorry, I can’t hug a facebook post.   I can hug a friend, a child, a cohort, a fellow human on the journey.

That is Christmas

There you go.  That is Christmas.

Jesus went outside Himself and became an extension in humanity.

Jesus went outside His comfort zone in the throne room and stepped into an earth zone.

Jesus went outside the heavens and touched the earth, where we live in sin and destruction disturbing His intended peaceful creation.

Jesus returned to heaven; yet, He stays connected with us.   He is more powerful than facebook.  He takes up residence in hearts and stays even though He returned.

Guess That’s Why

I guess reliving that journey of Christ every year is what drives me and the team.   Thanks for sending us.  Thanks for allowing us.

Enjoy the Light of Christmas


navimg8Isaiah 9: In Galilee of the Gentiles. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.

During the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my family has always enjoyed watching Christmas themed movies and celebrating with friends.  For us, an opportunity to have a world focused on giving and receiving and thanking the God of Comfort is special.

I am thankful for each of my friends and family. The honor to exchange prayer with you is a blessing.

Yet, one friend belied the missing element of Christmas movies.  Where is the Christmas movie that celebrates an individual connecting with Christ and His love?

  • There is connecting with the Bishop, Santa Claus.  http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/bishop-of-myra/   Surely he loved Christ and spread His love.
  • There is connecting with others.  Surely some of them are full of the love of Christ.
  • There is connecting with ghosts.  Surely some of them lived for Christ.
  • There is connecting with the spirit of Christmas.  Surely it is the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ that spawned the spirit of Christmas.
  • There are movies about the life of Christ that end with a story but not a changed life.

What about connecting directly to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Light of Life, and the salvation of our souls?  Where is that movie?

The entertainment dollar is king.  People don’t want their souls pricked and a challenge made for real life change.  We like entertainment in our movies, churches, community events, and homes.  Real life changing impact is not supported financially for the most part in our communities.  Yet, ignoring truth is a dangerous seasonal habit to form.

There is a mournfulness underlying our Christmas season.  Aversion to life changing truth brings depression.  It brings pain.  And pain brings destruction.  Evil is real and waiting for opportunity to express itself in dark acts.  Yes, especially at Christmas, evil erupts.  Suicides prevail greater than other times of year.  Depression is in high season.  Conflicts shatter otherwise smooth relationships.

Understand that the truth of Christmas does show itself.  It cannot be denied.  As a society, we love to deny the truth and replace it with a smoother reality.  Repressed truth erupts in pain and anger and depression and destruction.  Embraced truth erupts in joy and liberty and happiness and thankfulness and strength and life.

It would be better if we embraced the truth of Christmas and placed some life changing messy messages into our media.  Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  He is no longer a babe in the manger.  He is a Lion of Righteousness.  He demands we face truth and change our direction.  Yes, He demands it.  He knows that repressed truth ends in destruction for eternity and embraced truth lives in liberty for eternity.  He loves us enough to change us.

Embrace truth for a healthy life.  Embrace Christ.  Face realities and connect with a power to change and develop full health in body, mind, desires, emotion, spirit, and relationships.

Prayer:  Father, give a little light.  Better yet, let the Great Light You have already given explode into our darkness. We need You.   We need Your light.

Powerful Healing: Glad Heart

Psalm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure. ESV

That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous;
yes, my whole body will rest in safety CEV

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure NIV

Every so often, you will find a verse in the original language that defies exact matching translation from different eras and interpretive groups.  This one fits that description.  Many times, it is because an idiomatic phrase is contained or there is such emotion and expression, it is hard to put into a single phrase.   So let me expand this one.

My heart is glad and celebrates in great joy.  With my whole being inside and out, I am excited and alive; my tongue must shout and declare this joy.  It cannot be contained or restrained.  A great sense of peace and restfulness and security envelops my body and mind and spirit.  Phil’s version

Rested Health

Now, that is a picture of great health and well being.  That is a picture of restful trust in God and God alone.  That is a picture of one that has wrestled with God and found Him to be more interested in securing our hearts that controlling our actions.  That is a picture of one, who has encountered fierce angers and pains and problems and illness and has come through to a new realization that the presence and leading of the Father brings us to refreshing and rest.  That is a wonderful picture.

Entering In

Entering in to health many times is preceded by great struggle and pain.  Our habits become acclimated to the struggle.  Our daily routines become expectant of the pain.  A friend going through back surgery shared some of her story.  The doctors instructed her that ghost pain would continue for some time.  Though the surgery is successful and removes even some nerve endings, our minds are trained to find pain at times of day and particular motions.  The pain is not there physiologically.  Yet, the pain is there in our minds.  The conditioning of ill health forms a barrier even when we are healed to enjoying the new freedom.

Breaking Conditional Barriers

In my own experience, I find it difficult to rest after an intense time of development of a business thrust or a strained season with a client.  Though the situation is ended and the issues are resolved, my daily expectation of another problem wrestles with my restfulness.  A wise executive once commented to me, “Even when we receive a new and different and positive answer, we hear the old negative one that is so common.”  He did not say it just like that, but you get the point.

There must be a time of “glory rejoicing” to break the conditional barriers of ill health and negative situations.  Celebrate.  This unspeakable joy works internally for us to remove scar tissues and sensitive nerves of mind and will and emotion and body.  Then we can receive the new and positive situation and answer.  This transition must happen.  It is a barrier breaker.

Returns at Customer Service

Discount retailers dedicate a large area for returned and damaged merchandise.  It is not a happy place.  There is not a lot of smiling for anyone.  When you find a smiling employee working that area, your frustration is defused at having to come back to the store. The transaction becomes more pleasant.  That employee is giving a rejoicing to a healing situation.  The item is broken.  You are receiving a replacement.  That should be joyful.  Yet, you lost value when you tried to use it at home and it broke.  You lost positive expectation and trust.  Now, the item and positive expectation must return before you can get full value. 

Broken bones and aching hearts and rent emotions and lingering illness in our body cause us to lose positive expectation and trust in God.  We expect nothing.  Worse than that, we expect bad.  We expect anger and frustration and continuance of a wrong situation.   And we get what we expect until we expectantly express ourselves into a different result after the new answer of health and healing and restoration and replacement is received.

Prayer:

Father, there is a great life available through You and Your presence and Your word. 

You are life.

You are healing.

You are “Yes” to all Your promises.

You are “Amen” to all Your commitments.

Cause rejoicing to resound in the camp of my heart.  Let me release the joy of the moment that heals and conditions me to hear, “Yes, you are healed.”

Walk with me today, Father, as You heal negative expectation built on real experience with tough living. Let joys restore a new hearing and receptivity to my full health.

Powerful Healing: Unshakeable

Image

Psalm 16:8 I am always aware of the Lord’s presence;   He is near, and nothing can shake me GNT

Near To Me In Healing:

How powerful is healing?  A friend described his last three weeks of healing journey.  He had a violent condition that resulted in waking several times a night choking and gasping for air.  The doctors had prescribed major medicines, inhalers, etc… As he said, “I have quarts of medicine.”

Then we prayed in his home one evening.

That night he slept.  Every night since then he has slept.  All the symptoms are gone.  The doctor is puzzled.  His friends are puzzled.  They are so puzzled they are opening up and talking to him about issues in their life that need prayer.

That is God being close to us.  He is so near, others want to touch Him through us.

Near to Me in Healing:

How powerful is healing?  M came to CAREVI in Matamoros years ago.  It was before Raul and I began working with Dr. Carillo and the team.  M is on the leadership team.  There are many stories to tell.  He and his family are a blessing to watch.  They are busy expanding the kingdom.  M ministers the gospel from the point and testimony of his new life, healed and whole.  Once he was addicted and trapped.  Through scripture and prayer and counsel and love, that is past and he is healed.  When visiting this summer, he showed me an outline he made of Los Siete Secretos de Los Padres (the Seven Secrets of Effective Fathers).  He is teaching 17 men. 10 are in the congregation and 7 in the community.  I gave him the book three years ago.  He has devoured and put the truths to work for his family and others.  That is healing.

When Are You Unshakeable?

Another friend and I talked over lunch.  The press of painful events in my life is enormous these days.  Six family deaths, job change, deep betrayals by trusted friends, near death accidents, and more than I want to mention all occurred in an eight week period.  Wow.  My wife and I should be rattled and locked up under drugs somewhere.  Yet, we pursue peace and continue to live and reach others.  How so?  Why are we not shaken beyond the calm?

Easy.  Prior to the onslaught and while it was happening, I was in a period of reading from Genesis to the Revelation.  In the same eight weeks, in prayer, I felt strongly impressed to make that prayer and reading journey.  That was before the onslaught. That was during the onslaught.  The effect is still flowing.  The words of God can create unshakeable health in us.

These friends to whom I point are living in strong circumstances.  One lives in a war zone city in Mexico.  The other works in law enforcement.  They are bright lights of Jesus in dark circumstances.  They have chosen to allow God’s healing in them to reach others.  They chose to be near to God when others run away.

When Are You Unshakeable?

When you are near to God, you build the unshakeable force of health and healing.

In the scripture

In prayer

In healing

In comfort.

In peace

In living

In pain

In problems

When you allow Him room to show through you to others in all your experiences, you build the unshakeable force of health and healing.

For Tomorrow, Be Healed

Another friend called to cancel an appointment.  It happens often.  He plans to be sick tomorrow morning.  Yes, he plans to be sick.  He is sick now and plans for it to continue for a while.  Hmmm

Yesterday, I worked helping some friends move. They are new friends and coworkers.  We started at 8:30am and I finished at 7pm.  Many finished along the way and the friends were still going when I left.  It was a long day of carting and carrying boxes and chairs and desks.  Sleep was sweet.  This is being written in the early morning hours.  I am up and ready for a new day.  No time to plan for sickness.  I went to bed early and planned for a good healthy day.

He is near for healing.

He is near for peace.

He is near for strength.

He is near, now and here.

 

Pray:

Father, I’d like my time to be with you now and here.

Fill me with Your presence.

Heal me.

Peace me.

Joy me.

Estoy aqui.  I am here.

Powerful Healing: Living Large in Boundaries

Psalm 16:The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. KJV

You make my life pleasant, and my future is bright. CEV

The boundary lineshave fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. NIV 1984

Boundaries

Along with every gift comes a set of conditions and expectations.  Giving a BB gun to a nine year old comes with conditions that it is only used with Dad.  Giving a wedding ring to a spouse comes with promises to love, honor, and cherish.  There are boundaries.  There are definitions of the blessing and how to enjoy and conditions to limit and protect and fulfill purpose.

Every job comes with a set of conditions and expectations.  Overlooking a contract arrangement it impressed me I might have to take extra time to really understand how to make this new relationship work.  Conditions and clauses limit and liberate my abilities with the group.

Every call of God comes with promises and extensions.  The call to do something helps define our path and helps us to understand obedience in the path will result in extended boundaries.  Resistance to path will result in confusion and possibly greater limitation in order to get us back to the path.

Limiting Boundaries.

Some boundaries are limits.  Gravity is a limiting boundary.  Jump off a 20 story building and the limiting boundaries of strength of your physical body coupled with the limiting boundaries of gravity will pound your body into death.  Expect it.  Those limits allow us to define actions in a safe and full living manner.

Liberating Boundaries

Some boundaries are liberation.  A grant for an education is meant to expand our knowledge and ability to do more in life.  It is a boundary, but it has an intention to liberate.  It may be restricted to a certain university and course of study, but there are liberties all along the path.  The same would work with an employment contract.  The employer may give us latitude to work and make commissions within a certain product and service.   The boundary can be liberating.

 Healthy Boundaries

God given boundaries always lead to life and health.  Understanding, acknowledging, and living inside them bring us greatness in life, health in our bodies, blessing in our minds, and peace to our souls.  Defining the boundaries of envy, jealousy, strife, and contempt keeps us peaceful with our fellow humans and enjoying our lives.  Defining the boundaries of the power of God focused toward us, righteousness in Christ, full salvation,  and the fruit of the Spirit brings incredible liberation and blessing to every step we take.

Recognize

The smart and healthy and balance Christian sees the right boundaries of call and position in life and uses them to good for themselves and others.  Boundaries can be stretched when obedience is engaged.  Boundaries can be tightened with disobedience is the norm.   It is our choice to study, recognize, acknowledge and activate the boundaries.

Short Story

A friend challenged me on some of my activities.  His best knowledge of me was my gift of organization and administration.  Since I am more active today in birthing and building and developing new works and businesses, he is confused.  How can I be going outside my boundaries and hope to succeed?  The answer is simple.  My boundaries have been stretched through obedience and fulfillment of call.  What fell to my lot before is much bigger today through study, acknowledgement, acceptance, and obedience. 

Had I simply stayed safely in the middle portion of my boundaries and never explored them fully to the outside edge, I probably would have no understanding of the build components God had in my future.  My friend would be right to tell me to stay in my older boundaries.  But the boundaries have been expanded and there is much more life and abundance to be enjoyed.  The boundaries of my future need not be the boundaries of my present experience.

Where Are You?

Struggling with health issues?  Struggling with emotional distress?  Struggling with bad relationships?  Sometimes our best strategy for healing is to acknowledge our present boundaries and begin growing them into future boundaries through prayer, action, and engagement.  The boundary I have today provides a safe place in which to grow and expand and become healthier.

Prayer:  Father, it really can be hard to understand life.  You want us full of health and life and living.  You want us complete in Christ.  Yet, we must grow in grace and power.  We must acknowledge the present and grow into the future.  We must seek You first and Your kingdom to understand how we are protected and given room to grow.  Grow us safely, in good season, and with ever increasing faith and results.  What a Good God You are.