Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sabbath Sunday Surrender

Sabbath Sunday Surrender:

"One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple." (Psalms 27:4)

Another week draws to its conclusion. A new week is just around the corner. Lord, we come into Your Presence this day, and we devote our hearts to seek You. We come to the Well, we're thirsty for more. We come to Your throne, bowed down we adore.

"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3)

Be with us, so closely and intimately, yet again, O God. See our desperation, and come with compassion to care for Your people. Unhinge the gates that contain Your Living Waters, and let Your righteousness rain down on us. Oh come closer, Lord, and lead us in the Light of Your glory and goodness.

"I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16)

On this serene Sabbath Sunday, I surrender to the invitation into Your loving arms. Surround me, O Lord, with the sensation that is Your astonishing Love. Guard this week with the might of Your powerful mercy and grace.

"The Lord will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies." (Isaiah 42:13)

When we surrender, You take charge over the opposing forces in our lives. You call them out, grab them by the collars of their shirts and hurl them out with victorious vigour. You are our Saviour!

You are far more powerful than we could ever imagine. You are much more personal than we have yet experienced. Ah, yes, Heavenly Father, we shall find peace in our surrendering.

I surrender, Oh Father, I surrender to Thee. I know that Your favour watches over me, so I will choose to surrender to Thee. Oh how great You are, my Lord!

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, And the great King above all gods." (Psalms 95:1-3)

We enter into this week, not on our own strength, but dependent upon His mercy. We begin a new journey today, embracing the wonderfully mysterious reality of His unyielding grace. We sing praise, for our minds and our hearts are utterly overwhelmed by the rushing downpour of His blessings. Hallelu Yah! We rest and rejoice today.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I Cannot Please People

I Cannot Please People:

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:10)

My efforts to please people have quietly eroded genuineness and joy away from the shores of my personality for years and years now. I've been so inwardly paralysed by the fear of letting people down, hurting someone's feelings, and upsetting people, that at times, I lose sight of the reality that I'm made for so much more than enslaving myself to the master of human whims.

"The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe." (Proverbs 29:25)

When I trust in the Lord, I am shielded, favoured, and blessed. On the other hand, when I trust in man, I am suppressed, fearful, and burdened.

God doesn't want us to live shackled with the task of living up to human expectations. God has taken the law of expectation and replaced it with the New Covenant of grace.

"Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant." (Hebrews 7:22)

"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (Jeremiah 31:33)

HE is our God. We worship Him alone. We're not ruled by the desires of this world. We're not made to continually strive to achieve what the world wants. We are made for the Lord's purposes. It's no wonder that when our lives are directed towards pleasing other people, we feel empty and exhausted.

I've decided to forfeit my chase for human approval. After all, the only One whom I wish to please is the Lord God Himself, and lately, I've been feeling a real tug from Him on my heart. I can feel that He is pulling me in closer.

He's whispering to me the secret to a satisfying life, "I desire you. I am overjoyed when you deny the futile attempt to follow the world's fleeting fads, and instead turn to me with a thankful heart filled with expectancy and trust. I am most pleased when you simply rest and surrender to the flowing waters of my unending grace and favour."

Receiving His blessings (no matter how "too good to be true" they seem) with an attitude of gratitude pleases Him. Trusting in the sheer beauty of all that HE is brings Him great joy. HE is the One to please, and it's not a chore to please Him either. HE is the only One who matters, and the only One who satisfies.

Living life apart from the mainstream current, deviating from the rush of this world's ways. This is the route by which we're called to travel. When we surrender to His unfathomable grace and favour, His kindly charismatic heart bursts forth with even more blessings upon blessings. His gentle compassion takes my breath away.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

Oh Father, when I'm Yours and You're mine, my life plays in perfect harmony to the rhythm of Your heart. When we are Yours and we embrace You as ours as well, this is the state in which You are pleased and we are fully satisfied.

"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 118:24)

So abandon the burden of pleasing humanity, and embrace the grace found in the streams of Living Water flowing from the generous heart of God. Surrender to the flow of His unending grace, mercy, and favour today. May your day be filled with rejoicing and rejuvenating. God be with you all.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Friday, August 29, 2014

He Will Revive Me:

He Will Revive Me:

"After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence." (Hosea 6:2)

God, You are powerfully able to revive all of me that's unstable. You strengthen my feeble knees, You give sight and vision to my blinded eyes, and You put wisdom and understanding in the places where confusion and delusion once prevailed. I know You'll never leave me in desperation and ruin, but You'll come to me. You're coming to drench my desperate soul.

"As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth." (Hosea 6:3)

O Lord Almighty One, come! Come and rejuvenate me in the rays of Your golden, healing Light. You are the Light I crave. You are the bright joy that my dulled and somber spirit needs so intensely. Come and cleanse me with Your purifying love light.

"He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite." (Psalms 147:3-5)

Father, You take my inadequacies and supplement them with Your incomparable grace. Lord, I know You see my heart; I unceasingly build and rebuild a fence of sacred consecration around its border, for my heart's utmost devotion is decidedly dedicated to You.

Your understanding is not limited to that of which I feel comfortable with sharing. When I begin to approach, it's not unmet with retched reproach. The enemy's unwelcome opposition to my intimate communion with Christ drills my fears harder in my head, and my mind squeezes in frustrated pains. I cry out as loud as my pounding chest can exclaim, "Send revival, my Heavenly Father! Send Your peace!"

"He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them." (Psalms 145:19)

I know I can trust You, Lord. I know You're right here with me. I believe that Your grace is sufficient to carry me through this rough patch. I am confident in Your goodness. I have faith in Your unfailing faithfulness.

You are coming to revive me. You are coming to refresh my soul. You are good, and You're never going to abandon me. Your promises will never, ever expire. You are the same yesterday, today, and for all eternity You shall remain. I proclaim Your goodness, graciousness, and favour over myself today. I trust You.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Waiting For the Lord

Waiting For the Lord:

"Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" (Psalms 27:14)

Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes we're running the race at our fastest pace. However, at other times, we need a little refreshment and rejuvenation. This is not to applaud the faster times and degrade the seasons of rest. Rather, each season has its own set of unique benefits and lessons to teach.

"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven" (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

When planting a garden, the gardener must take into account many different aspects of the ever-changing environment. First, the soil must be tender and nutritious for the developing plant roots. Then, the gardener must take extra care to water and tend to the growing sprout, making certain the leaves receive enough sunlight and fresh air. Lastly, when harvest time comes, the gardener must determine what is best to keep the plant thriving. That is, if the gardener overworks the soil, the plant will grow wearied and will begin to droop.

This is not what our Gardener wants. Our Gardener desires for each one of His plants to exude vibrancy and vitality.

"He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper." (Psalms 1:3)

So, if it feels like God is working slowly in your current season of life, don't be discouraged. I know it's easier to say than to do (believe me, I fall into the trap of discouragement too), but don't let the adversary get the best of you! Trust our good and gracious Gardener! He may be preparing a new crop of soil in which to place you for abounding energy and overflowing joyfulness.

"God is great—everything works together for good for his servant.” I’ll tell the world how great and good you are, I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day." (Psalm 35:27-28 MSG)

Everything works together for the good of God's beloved servants. Everything works together to benefit the Gardener's plants. In plentiful and abundant seasons of harvest and prosperity, God is working for our good. In drier seasons when rain is scarce, He still continues to pour His grace over our thirsty roots. In dark and sorrowful seasons when the sunshine seems to be hidden far away, the glorious Light of His Presence resurrects our saddened and sullen leaves. In every season, He is working on our behalf.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

So take heart my friend! Don't let the entropy of this season disrupt the inner peace of God's Holy Spirit working in you. He has not left, He's not going to leave, and we all can trust in His goodness. No matter the chaos, we can be secured in the knowledge of His pure and gentle heart.

We are free to fearlessly have faith in His faithfulness in this season and every season to come. What a great and marvellous God! Sing praise! Turn to Him and eagerly await the wondrousness He shall exhibit to bless each and every one of us.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Day New Mercies

New Day New Mercies:

"Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!" (Lamentations 3:22-23)

His mercies never end. I rattle my soul within me, as though trying to awaken it, exhorting, "It's a new day, and the Lord's mercies have been refreshed for you yet again! His favour rises upon you with the rising sun. Awake O soul, rise from yesterday's ashes into the glorious goodness He has planned for THIS day!"

"But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God." (Nehemiah 9:31)

Gracious and merciful You are O Lord! I praise Thee alone! For none can compare to the vastness of Your glory and splendour. None can compare to the glory and wonder of the Lord.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

You have made Your dwelling among us sinners. You, in all Your magnificence and holiness, are living in us, sinners prone to degradation and disobedience. Mercy and patience like no other, that You would enliven our hearts of cold stone from deadness unto the abounding joy and eternal life of salvation and restoration.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

I'm not merely repaired in Christ, I'm renewed in Christ. God doesn't just "make-do" with my brokenness, He makes NEW!

His mercies never falter, and they never cease to flood me day after day. The more I yield every area of my life to His unyielding grace and compassion, the more I can experience the true joy of abundance and freedom from the ghastly grip of the fears that once controlled me with an unforgiving vengeance.

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5:1)

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalms 16:11)

You're the Lord who gives gracious gifts. You bless and provide generously, not sparingly. I worry because I wonder. I wonder, "What if God doesn't want to bless me?" But, as with every situation, Scripture puts my ferocious fretting to rest.

"...Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you." (Jeremiah 31:3)

God, I believe. I believe that today, and every single day to come, You're continuing the astounding wonder that is Your great faithfulness unto me. I trust. I trust that You are sensitive to my every concern, and You care about each one. I rejoice. I rejoice in the truth that I am free to live a life of abundance and rest. Yes, God, You bless me with abundance and rest. Oh, soul, embrace that abundance and rest.

I declare Your great faithfulness and unending goodness over EVERY part of my life. Not just a few areas, but all areas. Not one little thing goes unnoticed or uncovered by Your marvellous mercy. I give You thanks and I give You praise for all the days of my life.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Streams of Mercy Never Ceasing

Streams of Mercy Never Ceasing:

"For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring" (Isaiah 44:3)

I know Your promise to me. I know You're a personal Lord, who specifically speaks to each one of His children. I know what You've told me, "Honour Me, and I'll bless you."

I know that if I'll obey and surrender to Your way, You're going to bless me abundantly with abundance and mercy and blessings. If I'll step back from white-knuckling my life into the cool and refreshing stream of Your unending mercy, I'll begin to see many blessings manifest.

"But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”" (Luke 11:28)

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (James 1:17)

You're not trying to trick me into something and then forsake me. You don't work like that. When I step out of these choking chains of fear and into Your promised lands, I can boldly take hold of all you have with which to bless me.

If I forsake fretfulness, lay worry at the foot of the Cross, I can see the unfathomable love and grace and favour pouring out over me. If I leave my comfort zone, I know Your blessings will overflow.

Spiritual blessings occupy my heart with reverence, and physical blessings are held in my hands with gratitude. I know You're going to bless, because that is who You are. You are the God from whom all blessing flow.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3)

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits" (Psalms 103:2)

"Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness" (John 1:16)

My spirit rejoices, for You provide nourishment for my thirsty soul. My entire being releases the worry for control, because I know You care for me in whole. Not just my spiritual needs, but also every detail of my life. You care. For what more could I ask? The God of Israel blesses and watches over me personally.

Abundance. You Lord are a God of abundance. You tell me, "Rest and be renewed. I'm working on behalf of you." What goodness and graciousness I cannot comprehend! O Lord, You're so good to me! Hallelu Yah!

It's difficult, if not impossible, for me to comprehend why You would chooses to bless little old me. Why would You, Sovereign Lord and Maker of the universe, take the time to hear my concerns and then put to rest every need for doubt? I have no intellectual answer or formula for coherence. What it all boils down to in the end, in every situation, is grace. Grace, mercy, and unending love.

It's not my responsibility to break down the wires of this miraculous mechanism of God. It's only required of me to receive by grace through faith, faith in Him and faith in His faithfulness. What a marvellous God.

The very things we convince ourselves we don't deserve and could not ever possibly receive, are the very things God takes from the spattered dirt of shamefulness and turns back towards us through grace upon grace. It's that simple. God is Love, and His love knows no ending and no boundaries. He blesses and blesses out of the abundance of His goodness simply because that is who He is.

Receive this today. God's love never ends and never halts because we've sinned too much. Let me repeat this, because it's hard for me to grasp as well.

God's love NEVER ENDS. His love NEVER HALTS because we feel as though we have sinned "too much."

God doesn't look at our past anymore, because we've been reconciled to Him through Christ. Proclaim the blood of Christ and the power of redemption unto righteousness over yourself today. Taste and see how faithful God is, and experience His blessings of abundance.

-The Introverted Evangelist

*A word on the photograph used: I chose to post this picture of my dog, because of how simply at peace he was. Whilst I was toiling away, up to my knees in work, I turn to see a relaxed and completely at rest pup. I feel like it was a nice reminder God gave me saying, "Be at peace, and rest in the warmth of My Presence." Enjoy His Presence today my friends.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wholly His Own

Wholly His Own - A Monday Morning Prayer:

"Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David." (Isaiah 55:3)

Quiet my soul, O Lord. Provide peace for this shaken spirit, and caress me with Your care. I know You're here with me; I know Your goodness won't leave me. I know Your goodness never fails me.

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." (Isaiah 55:12)

Let the jubilance of this day ensue without hesitation, for Your children await the joyfulness of Your Spirit to fall upon them, Lord. You are our God, and You are the everlasting hope we desire. You're the only One we need.

You're the Lord who leads His people, and never leaves them. So lead us this day, God. I can faithfully declare that You lovingly care; I shall never despair, for Your grace is always there. I am wholly Your own. What a triumph, what a praise! I am Yours for all my days!

-The Introverted Evangelist

Sunday, August 24, 2014

All Things New

All Things New:

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6:4)

New life. Our Lord has promised new life in Christ. What a promise to be given by the One who cannot lie. Transforming from glory to glory - we shall never die. In Christ alone, we forever abide.

The past is a hurtful memory, but to You, Lord, we release it. We can't keep hold of the ties to our former life, or we live in continual, laborious strife. We accept that what was has come and has gone. We may not know why it happened, but we know that You have perfect purpose for our pain. So we turn to You, expectant for what's next. We know that in You, it's always the best.

"See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." (Isaiah 42:9)

We place our aches and regrets at the feet of Your mercy seat. No condemnation, no rejection, no discreet, because we know it's You who we meet. You're the God of endless mercies and glories, and You can heal our broken stories.

Not one redeemed soul shall be subject to destruction. For when we're covered in the blood of the Lamb, we stand in the rushing current of Your grace upon grace. Only You are holy and able to save us. We proclaim this truth, and we boldly petition to You in the utmost desperation of our burning desire.

"I have revealed and saved and proclaimed...Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?" (Isaiah 43:12, 13)

Oh Hallelu Yah! Praise the Lord! The One who crafted the Heavens and the earth is the One who transforms and restores. He alone is worthy to be honoured and praised. He alone is clothed in holiness and splendour.

When You redeem and renew, God, who can undo? Not one. Not a single hand is able to loose what You secure, and not a single bondage is stronger than Your hands which free us from the chains.

Your goodness is making us new. Each day, we're inwardly revolutionised. Every day is a new day with a new opportunity to grow closer to You, and be transposed in the inner soul. The impossible is made possible, and it's all because of Your amazing grace.

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the dessert and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:19)

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25)

You make straight the path to our refreshment, and You cleanse us in Your streams of mercy. We are fully and freely forgiven forever. What a promise! What a great and gracious God You are, Father! We cry out with shouts of hopeful eagerness, and awestruck praises of thanks! You are the Lord of all! You are the God who renews His people, and makes them His very own.

"I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15:7)

"Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’" (Isaiah 46:10)

"(for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them." (Deuteronomy 4:31)

What a glorious Sunday morning it is! We are called and we are covered in God's glorious grace. Nothing holds us back from Him, for He has given us a new spirit. Not of fear, not of timidity, but a spirit of love, joy, peace, and a sound mind. We're made into His righteousness, because we're covered by the blood of the Lamb which is the NEW covenant in Christ. Our inner man is made NEW because Christ has redeemed and transfigured our hearts. Oh praise Him, Praise Him! Let all the people Praise our Heavenly Father! Hallelu Yah!

-The Introverted Evangelist

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rise Up and Take Courage

Rise Up and Take Courage:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

Weakness, fear, anxiety, and stress are results of thinking that God is too far away. When I fear God isn't near, every other worry comes toppling down on top of me. That's because God is my Rock; He is the foundation on which I can boldly stand.

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (Psalms 18:2)

A stronghold for me, that's You, O Lord my God. You have been here with me from the start of this journey, so why do I fear You'll leave me now? You've given me signs, confirmations, guidance, and abundantly above all I can even imagine. Why do I fear You won't achieve the seemingly impossible on my behalf?

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20)

You protect me from every attack. You strengthen me to fight the good fight of faith, and You give me peace to overcome this life.

"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all." (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Peace is Your Presence leading me. If I stray, and my perspective is skewed towards perturbation, then gather my fractured pieces. Lord, put me together with the strong glue of Your grace which holds me together in Your goodness for all eternity. I'm desperate for You to be here, yes right here now, with me in this very moment - in every moment.

"Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" (Psalms 27:14)

I'm here waiting for You. My heart is opened wide, and I'm inviting You inside. My fears I lay at Your feet, knowing every need You'll meet.

"casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

Come, O Lord. This is all I need to say. All that is necessary in this very moment is my utterance of three powerful words, "I need You."

You don't expect a long and scholarly thesis from me. No intellectual analysation of Your Word is required. All I must do to receive all that I need is call on You, "Abba! How I need You, Lord!"

"I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears." (Psalms 34:4)

Take all of me, Lord. I can do nothing apart from You, for You are me hope, my strength, my joy, and my courage. You embolden me with mountain-moving bravery. My faith is independent from my own strength, but is decidedly devoted to the greatness and glory of Your power and might. Take me, save me from my fears, and renew my vision to see that You're standing right here next to me. Hallelu Yah, I will forever praise You, O Lord of my salvation.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Friday, August 22, 2014

Rejoice Always

Rejoice Always:

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favour as with a shield." (Psalms 5:11-12)

It's been a long and tiresome week, and Friday is now here. Weariness has almost overtaken you, but then, you hear a call. You begin to hear the voice of the Lord, saying, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29)

God invites us into His arms with a warm smile and a gentle heart. He doesn't call us as slaves with the strike of a bell and a tyrannical demand to work ourselves into the ground. God calls us His very own children. He sees all the effort we've exerted this week, and now He says, "Come to Me, and I'll replenish you. I'll revive you from the burnt out ashes of distress and discouragement. Come to Me, My child, and I will reenergise you."

Have you ever thought about the fact that JOY is one of the fruits of the Spirit? We so often become tied up focussing in on the fruits of the Spirit such as love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We tend to like to highlight the fruits that require us to work, but too easily skim over the ones that require us to slow down and take a minute in God's Presence to recover from all the work.

But I honestly don't believe that God intended for our lives to be drudgery. Just think about the picturesqueness of an orchard that's bursting with fresh, ripe, and vibrant fruits. It's beautiful isn't it? It's beautiful and pleasantly appealing, and that is exactly how God designed it to be.

Now, can you see why God would use this same imagery to depict the condition of our hearts? Of course,
He wants our hearts to be as delightfully enchanting and brimming with colourful goodness as a lovely orchard at the peak of the season.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

We are certainly called to love, give, and practice patience and self-control, but that's not all. God has also called us to live a life of intimate fellowship with Him, thereby becoming ever increasingly filled with joy and peace unending. The way to achieve this grounding balance of all the fruits of the Spirit is surrender to the gentle and steady flow of the Holy Spirit.

"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2)

Because no plan that the Lord ensues can be obstructed, and He has purposed us to live spiritually fruitful lives, nothing can stop the process of His glorious gardening in our souls. When we say, "Lord, I can't do this on my own. I'm weary, burnt out, and I need revival. I give all to You my sovereign God." He hears our contrite calls, and He is faithful to provide exactly what we're needing.

We all imperatively crave the peace and joy that comes only from the Lord Himself, and that's completely normal. That is a natural desire He has set into each and every heart of humanity. In the same manner we require water and air and sustenance to survive, we have great necessity for the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. Without this spiritual sustenance, we feel empty and hungry for something that's missing. God is our provider, and His goodness is all that can truly satisfy our souls.

If you're feeling anxious and worn, I strongly believe that God wants you to hear this:

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)

Oh hastened heart, find peace and rest in God alone. Oh troubled soul, find rejuvenation and restoration in Christ the Lord. Surrender the mindset the world has ingrained that barbarically blusters, "WORK! Take no breaks! Rest is for the weak!" Take hold of the promise of God that says, "In Me you may have peace." (John 16:33)

Take heart! This day will be amazing, and here's why:

"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 118:24)

The Lord has made this day! He's placed little reminders that He is with you all throughout. Don't let the enemy discourage you. You're free to rejoice and be glad! You're free to surrender to God and see all the wonderful things He has in store. So, press into Him today, and embrace His refreshing peace and joy.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Loved You at Your Darkest

I Loved You at Your Darkest:

"While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don't be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus." (Matthew 17:5-8)

In the first few verses of Matthew chapter seventeen, Jesus led Peter, James, and John up to a mountain top. It was just the four of them, or so the disciples thought. Whilst they were walking Jesus was "transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light." (Matthew 17:2)

Today, this passage is really speaking to me. I feel like the Lord is using this passage as a reminder that sometimes we must fall "facedown on the ground" in complete awe of His glory and surrender to His mysterious yet miraculous ways. At times it may be necessary for us to be reminded that Jesus is the Lord's beloved Son, and we ought to listen to Him! No matter how unimaginable His plans may sound to our limited human minds.

When the disciples heard what God had spoken to them directly, they fell to the ground and they were terrified. Now before we go any further, I would like to point out that this Greek word for terrified has two meanings which are very closely tied.

First, this word, φοβέομαι (phobeomai), means to become terrified or frightened. Another meaning for the word, however, means to revere, esteem, honour, and worship.

Most all of us have "fallen on our faces" in desperation before God. When the Lord envelopes us in His glory, it's forever life changing. No man can experience the breath of God, the covering of His spirit, and the transforming power of His Spirit without having a change of heart.

The part that's truly getting me today is this. When the disciples fell, Jesus came to them. The disciples didn't have to crawl towards Him and beg for help, but Jesus approached them.

Then, Jesus touched them. With His gentle, healing, saving hands, Jesus touched their quivering bodies. Just one touch from the hand of God is enough for Jesus to provide peace and assurance to even the most fear-stricken.

Lastly, the disciples lifted their heads from the dirt, cheeks smothered in clumps of dirt and tears. They turned their eyes up away from the mud that surrounded them and towards the Lord Jesus who reached out to them. "Get up. Don't be afraid." Jesus consoled them, and His tender mercies toward them, as covered and dirt as they may have been, were enough to recapture their trust and devotion.

When God sends His astounding and breathtaking glory, we don't just fall onto our faces in admiration and reverence. We also fall right back into His very arms. Though we're surrounded in dirt, He cleanses our hearts once again. His mercy is the refreshing river of forgiveness, and His patience the wind which pushes the flow onward - swiftly streaming over us.

God's love knows no limits. Just look at Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus laid down His life, defeated death, and claimed eternal life for a bunch of filthy sinners. Jesus paid the price for our cleansing, regeneration, and fellowship with our Creator.

This is Love, Love that reaches beyond the weakened level of mutually satisfactory love and into the realm of selfless sacrificial love. The truth that God in flesh would come and redeem us all is simply all we need. This is all we must see to have Kingdom vision, all we must hear to have God-given insight, and all we must wear to be clothed in His righteousness.

He came at our darkest then, and He still comes to us today. Don't turn away from His glory because you're afraid of falling. He is going to catch you! Listen to Him. Listen for His gentle grace whispers. Let the light of God's presence drown out the darkness that poisons. Let the glory of God transform your heart. Lean into Him, trust His merciful ways, and see His goodness grace your entire life. We serve a wonderful God.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do Not Fear for I AM With You

Do Not Fear for I AM With You:

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, through the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it's waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah" (Psalms 46:1-3)

Fear is our enemy. Fear restricts, constrains, and kills. Fear kills the hope of joy, and extinguishes the flame of faith. Fear is not welcome. After all, God hasn't given us a spirit of fear. He gives us His Holy Spirit full of love to cast out every fear.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

Our Father desires for us to live lives of freedom, joy, and abundance. It breaks His heart to look upon His beloved children and see them enslaved in chains of anxiety, fear, isolation, and imprisonment. Turn to the Lord, and allow Him to strip fear's bitterly hostile chains right off.

"Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a dear, and the mute tongue shout for joy." (Isaiah 35:3-6)

The Lord our God is watchful over every aspect of our lives. No storm comes that we are expected to endure unsheltered by His wings of splendour. No battle must be fought on our own strength, but deeply dependant upon His unwavering might. Every adverse circumstance that occurs in this life is met by an Almighty King whose power knows no limitations, whose glory never diminishes, and whose authority never ceases. This is our Father. He is the One who reigns spectacularly over all the earth and all creation.

"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength." (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Do you see the word peace here in Isaiah 26:3? This Hebrew word means safety, serenity, and well being. It also signifies being sheltered, at peace, as well as the condition of being unharmed. One more thing to note about this word is that it's also used as a blessing that one wishes upon another.

So when we read that the Lord will keep us in "perfect peace" as we focus our faith-gaze on Him, we know that this implies that He has immensely rich plans to bless us, protect us, and provide peace which surpasses all understanding.

"and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

This is our unshakable hope rooted and built in Christ our Lord. Hope is not only our anchor, but also the rope with which God reels us in closer and closer to Him. His promises sway our bleak hearts to open up and receive all the great blessings He has to offer.

The hope of His goodness secures us in the promised land of His Presence, and continually hoists us up higher and higher into the realms of His radiant beauty and brilliance. So hold tight to His promises, and have no fear!

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23)

Forget your fears, have faith in His faithfulness, and frolic in the firm foundation of freedom. The Lord's favour is resting upon us! What a wondrous reality.

He invites us in with gentleness, whispering, "Come to Me with all your burdens and fears. I will take care of them all. You have no need of fretfulness or worry when you reside in My Presence. I am for you, and I will never forsake you. Receive My gracious gifts with outstretched hands and a grateful heart. Come and rejoice in this hope which never expires."

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

Go in courage today my dear friends, knowing that He who promised is faithful. He'll never leave us. He'll never forsake us. He is for us and not against us. What a magnificent Lord we serve! He gives graciously to each of us and delights over us! His love is unconditional and drives away every fear. Oh what a mighty God! The Great I AM is with us today!

-The Introverted Evangelist

Photograph Taken By: Raphael

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Do Everything in Love

Do Everything in Love:

"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Today I choose to focus on Ἐμμανουήλ (Emmanuel), God with me. I choose to see Him present in all areas of my life. I choose to yield eyes to Holy Spirit healing, that my eyes may be opened to see. Now I can see. I can see how the God over all creation desires me. He desires me, and He wants fellowship with me. I'm amazed and in awe that the Lord would take the time to care about me.

The heart is tugged hard and the eyes suddenly move upwards away from the trap of self-sufficiency. Now my unprofitable works and efforts to "earn grace" are divinely dispatched. I can see Him with me now. He cares about all that I care about and more.

Then I turn out and look upon all the empty sullen faces of the people around me, and my heart weighs heavily as though the heart of God were grieving in congruous mournful groans with mine. How can I go on living calloused and confined within the boundaries of my own needs. I cannot. I cannot allow the burning love of God to be snuffed out by the coldness of a careless heart.

"No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light." (Luke 11:33)

A dark, cold, and wet environment is never inviting, especially not to those souls with no home. We mustn't conceal the love of God in greed. We're called to be a beacon of God's love-light, a reflection of His incredible illumination, to share the gloriousness of all that He is.

Open up wide, and shine what God has put inside. Open up your heart, let Him penetrate the dark. Let the spark of His passionate love ignite an uncontrollable blaze.

"And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (John 1:5)

"The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." (Matthew 4:16)

Our God is pure. He is fully faultless, and in Him we find all that our souls desire so desperately. We find safety, comfort, unfailing and unconditional love, and we find home. He is our home, our refuge and shelter forever. He awaits our return with eager and joyous expectation. He keeps the lights on, fireplace emanating inviting warmth. He beckons, "Come in from the cold. Come home, My child. You're safe here."

"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)

God is Light and God is Love. He is the Light that crowds out all of the world's shadowy seclusion, and He is the Love that heals everyone of our wounds. His glory is burning away our sorrows, and preparing for us eternal tomorrows.

"See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you." (Isaiah 60:2)

We have a mission. We are to take up this calling with fervent zeal, ready to act in God's grace and power. He's chose us and gave us a purpose and a Kingdom call. He chose us as His special messengers and ambassadors, to tell of the Great News and live in His pure Love for all to see.

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound" (Isaiah 61:1)

We're actively pursuing those who need healing and fellowship in the Light. Why? Because God's love changes our hearts and drives us into action. God's love passionately pursues each and everyone of us, and this is how we're called to live as well. We're called to love like the Lord every day.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:7-11)

I love this passage from First John chapter four, because it really sums up the foundation of our calling as God's Love-Light bearers. God loves us with such unimaginably spectacular love. His love runs so deeply that He sent Jesus, that we might be transformed from unrighteous sinners to become His own righteous children of God!

With this revelation resounding so loudly inside my spirit, I'm amazed and moved within my heart. God then gently whispers, "It's not too late to live in love." So I nod and lift hands high with a praise of thanksgiving, "Oh what grace the Lord God has provided!"

Today I choose. I choose to live in amazement of God's incomparable love, and I choose to humbly offer love back. I'm offering grateful love up to God, and humble brotherly love to those around me.

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:10-11)

I can't control others' behaviours or decisions, but I can call on the Lord for the strength needed to love with my whole heart. I choose to relinquish the fear-based attempts to control others up to the Father, and I receive grace and I give grace. Breathe in His goodness, and pour out His kindness.

I choose to believe that He is my faithful and sovereign God. If others hurt me, I don't retaliate and find revenge. Instead I release the hurt from others to my Father, and I receive His healing for my scars.

I choose to have faith in His faithfulness in any and every situation, big or small. He cares about everything I care about, and He is strong enough to carry them out. I am weak, but He is mighty. Therefore, I hand over everything, and with trusting faith I proclaim over every area of my life, "Lord I have faith in Your faithfulness." Now I am free to love boldly with the Love of Christ.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Photograph Taken By: Rosette Claire

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hope Anchors the Soul

Hope Anchors the Soul:

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." (Hebrews 6:19)

This world in which we reside today is much like an ocean with its changing tides and fragile features. The world is quickly distraught and disorganised, and this perilous propensity can easily cause loosely tied souls to fall overboard. In short, the world is very quick-tempered, so it's imperative to understand "The Certainty of God's Promise" as this passage of Hebrews chapter six is titled.

"Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged." (Hebrews 6:17-18)

God has made His marvellous promise perfectly perspicuous. We are to reach out and firmly grasp onto this hope He has made so readily available to each one of us as His loved children. This isn't simply wishful thinking, but eternal hope for which we can be ecstatically eager in confident expectation. Let's continue in Hebrews chapter six.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 6:19-20)

Jesus is our high priest Who has entered into the Most Holy Place on our behalf. He entered with a majestic and heroic tear in the veil which had previously kept us separated from God, the Holy King of kings.

"Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." (Mark 15:38)

"Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised" (Matthew 27:51-52)

Jesus the Messiah's work on that cross, His intercession for our benefit, is what has defeated death once and for all. Sin has no hold over those who have accepted Christ the Lord. Jesus came and set the record straight. He fulfilled the law and established a new covenant, and when we take hold of that promise, our souls are anchored unflinchingly and immovably.

"The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." (Hebrews 7:18-19)

Amazing! Did you catch that? Jesus, our forever high priest, came to set aside the former law of legalistic regulations that solely depended upon continual sacrifices to cover the sins of the people. Now that He's come however, Jesus has fulfilled the ultimate sacrifice! He is the One true atonement for all sins that have ever been committed and all sins that will ever be committed.

"This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings - external regulations applying until the time of the new order." (Hebrews 9:9-10)

I'd like to bring prominence to this phrase "the new order" in Hebrews nine verse ten. This phrase is derived from the Greek word διόρθωσις (diorthōsis).

This word is a very crucial word to understand in our studies this morning. The word διόρθωσις means to correct something that has become misaligned. A good way to put this is how it's used in Hebrews 9:10.

The old law offered up sacrifice after sacrifice only to what conclusion? In Hebrews 7:19 we see that "the law made nothing perfect." What then is the outcome? Of course, God knew about our futile attempts to accomplish atonement for ourselves from the very beginning. Ever since the first iniquity, God had a plan for our redemption. What fantastic news this is!

In Hebrews 7:19, the Greek words used in the phrase "made nothing perfect" imply that the law was unable to administer the correction and completion necessary to perfect righteousness to humanity. This phrase is a stark contrast to the phrase found in Hebrews 9:10 (διόρθωσις).

In Hebrews 9:10, διόρθωσις is used to depict a purifying provision brought about by the Lord Jesus Himself. He is all powerful, all able; nothing is too difficult for Him to accomplish. Nothing is impossible with our Lord, therefore it should come as no shock that διόρθωσις is also used to depict the new system and configuration for the washing of sins and renewal of right standing with God.

This brand new way, or "the new order" as it's written in the verse, is founded and built up in Christ alone. Jesus is the One Who bought us the New Covenant - the covenant of His own blood. By His stripes we are restored.

Our brokenness is healed because of His crucifixion. The dead areas of our lives are resurrected in His glorious Life because of His victorious resurrection. We are cleansed by Him, loved by Him, accepted and transformed inside our souls by Him.

This is our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is the Promised One that God has given to us as the final sacrifice. No longer must we live drowning in confusion and condemnation, for the blood of the Lamb of God has covered over ever iniquity and infused every empty soul with eternal life and hope.

We're tethered to this merciful hope in Christ, and steadfastly anchored to Him in a world that's tossed to and fro by immorality, wrongdoings, and sinfulness. In the midst of a fallen world, we find refuge in the Holy One.

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (Psalms 18:2)

Let's lower the ropes today, and secure our anchor in Christ Jesus. He alone is worthy to be praised; He alone is mighty to save. He is the manifestation of God's redeeming Love, and through His wondrous work we have eternal, unfailing hope. He is a stronghold for us, a sturdy shelter that shall never fall. How wonderful! We are forever kept in His mighty hands! We need not fear the storms of this life, for we are anchored firmly in the Lord Jesus Christ.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Photograph Taken By: Jon Courville

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Even the Smallest Faith Moves Mountains

Even the Smallest Faith Moves Mountains:

"So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)

Faith without a firm foundation is futile, and self reliance is a form of defiance. Unfortunately, these two scenarios are all too common in our modern day world. The truth is, there is only One Foundation, Christ the Lord, and apart from Him there is nothing.

"For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:11)

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Faith is more than just a skill that we must practice. The concept of faith is more like that of a bank. Many people put their money into the bank, but not all bank accounts contain the same amount of money. However, all those who put their money into the bank share at least one thing in common. Do you know what that is? They're all trusting the bank to protect their money and keep it safe.

Same goes with faith. The deciding factor is not the quantity of our faith, but rather the object of our faith. Faith directed and dependent upon self is destined to depravity. Faith rooted in the Lord always ends in triumphant victory.

"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

He is the One Who perfects our faith. This is where the quality of faith as opposed to quantity of faith comes into prominent importance again. It's the decision to petition, even in the middle of maelstrom, that channels the brutal battle away from our feebleness and onto His mighty resurrection power. Even when it's dark and we're afraid, God listens to our trembling supplications.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6)

God doesn't expect us to come to Him with a proper essay with perfect handwriting and scholarly words. God isn't waiting for you to prepare a speech that's bogged down by logic and analytical statistics. Not in the least! God simply wants to hear your voice intimately whisper, "Abba... I need You."

There's no formula to faith, but sometimes we feel that there may be and we're just unaware of how it goes. Sometimes we feel as though we ought to study for a faith exam, and in the midst of the pressure of day to day stresses and needs, it may seem like we're staring at questions to which we have no answers. "Oh Heavenly Father help us. We cannot find the conclusions to this life's confusions."

Or can we not find the conclusion? I propose that the conclusion is God. Must we know how every day will turn out? Or shall we say to God, "You're faithful. You're good. You won't leave me. You won't forsake me. You know my heart is Yours and Yours alone. I trust You to carry my desires in the loving care of Your mighty hands." Yes. God is the answer to all the questions that baffle us.

Faith is as simple as confessing, "I don't know what I'm supposed to do. God, can You show me the way? I'm lost and perplexed, but I know You can bring me through. I've got so many hopes, can You carry them for me?"

God loves a contrite yet faith oriented heart. What does it meant to be faith oriented? It means we take everything in our lives that we hold dear and lay it at His. He doesn't expect performance or perfection, just an honest and hopeful heart that is anchored in Him and not the world's logic.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Turn over you trust to the Lord, and He shan't forsake it. Take all your cares to Him, and watch Him carefully cradle them. Tell Him you want Him in every sphere of your life, and watch how He makes things happen. Worship the Lord and magnify His magnificence, and watch Him move mountains on your behalf.

He is good and His mercies fail not. Make a joyful sound! Hallelu Yah! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! The Author and Finisher of our faith! Hallelu Yah! Praise Him forevermore!

-The Introverted Evangelist

Photograph Taken By: Raphael

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Awake My Soul

Awake My Soul:

"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples." (Psalms 57:7-9)

The morning sun peeks through the bustling tree leaves as they sway in the rushing late summer's breeze. All is still and quiet. The most sprightly ones of creation only begin to make the most of the day. Birds commence their singing praise, flowers bursting wide open - petals stretched as far towards the sun as can be.

"For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth." (Psalms 57:10-11)

We're all searching, as though missing a piece. This is because we all desperately desire more of You God! All of creation hungers and thirsts. We start each day hungrier for You than ever. Our heart's satisfaction is found only in the One who made it.

"For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness." (Psalms 107:9)

The entire earth revels in your astonishing glory. With every drop of grace which descends from Your holiness, all living things delight. We can't get enough. As I look around, it's more apparent than ever that every created thing desires You with an immensely burning and uncontrollable passion.

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (Psalms 90:14)

Each morning brings mercies anew. The Lord delights in our dependence upon Him. He satisfies our intense avidity with exquisite, enchanting, and exuberant gifts of joy.

"who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Psalms 103:5)

The grandeur of energy that He generously invests within us ignites a passionate craze - as though He's lit a candle in the hearts of all those that flock Him in faith. We cannot contain the wonder within the boundaries of our own flesh. We soar with eagle wings of certainty to share this discovery with all those who will have ears to hear.

"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness" (2 Corinthians 9:8-10)

We are satisfied with marvellous magnitudes of mercy, so we might overflow with an overabundance and spill out onto others. This is the process. It's beautiful. It's magnificent. God's process has no limitations. He chooses to fill the open and amenable vessels, not simply the spotless ones that are free from chips and cracks.

"He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes." (Psalms 112:7-8)

As God administers desperately needed grace, mercy, peace, and joy into our hearts, we're blessed with an undeniable serenity. In that very moment, it's clear. God, the Maker of the entire universe and all that is in it and all that surrounds it, has chosen us.

He's chosen us, destined us, and purposed us for greater things. A deep and refreshing river of gratification, ease, and healing caresses over every sorrow and ailment ever felt and nourishes the soul profoundly.

"May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands." (Psalms 90:17)

Let's step out in faith today. God uses specific people, situations, memories, and more to heal wounds, build faith, and cement trust. Let Him see your thanks, let Him feel your longing, and run into His arms.

He doesn't give everyone the same set of weaknesses and strengths, so turn over all to Him. Watch Him make everything perfect.

He is FOR us, and not against us. Let the incredible revelations He gives start a wild blaze of passionate ministry in your heart today.

Awake our souls, O Lord. Awake our passionate pursuit of You. We need You more than ever. We want You more than anything else. We are Yours, and You're our Sovereign Saviour. We worship You, Father.

-The Introverted Evangelist

Friday, August 15, 2014

Justice, Mercy, Humility

Justice, Mercy, Humility:

"In everything set an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." (Titus 2:7-8)

We're all called to act honourably, walk humbly, and be a beacon of the Holy Spirit's light shining bright within us. Don't stutter over words or portray a doubtful and discouraged outlook. Instead be bold in the confidence of Christ, speak with the authority the Holy One has given to you. Most importantly, walk in the path of Christ's footsteps. Follow the way that's paved with His kindness, humility, mercy, passionate compassion, and righteousness.

"He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." (1 John 2:6)

"For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." (John 13:15)

Mercy, forgiveness, and humility can often feel like mountains that we must climb, and on our own we do not posses that achieving strength. There's only One Way to overcome the hurdle of hurt and forgive our trespassers. There's only One Way to slay the beast of brutality. Jesus is the Way. Only One Saviour can redeem us from our boastful haughtiness. Jesus humbles and renews.

"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”" (1 Peter 5:5)

There's freedom in confession. When we admit that we can't climb these mountains on our own, God sees our genuinely humbled hearts and deposits a fresh supply of grace. He gently pulls us into His healing arms where He can remove the needles that others had lodged in us, and replace the brokenness in our hearts with streams of mercy and kindness. God forgives us and frees us to forgive others.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:2)

The steps to becoming more like Christ are written right there in Ephesians 4:2. It goes like this:

•Step 1: ταπεινοφροσύνη (tapeinophrosynē). This Greek word for "humble" in Ephesians 4:2 is the word for humility and a lowly esteeming of oneself. That is, not considering oneself to be superior to others around him, but recognising that all humanity direly needs a Saviour.

A man that possesses the trait of ταπεινοφροσύνη is very unostentatious. He accurately views himself as an undeserving man made of dust. One who is unworthy to be lavished with God's immeasurable mercy, but can receive it by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

ταπεινοφροσύνη is the precursor to a humble repentance, because it's the attitude of humility that breaks the chains of pride off of the heart of stone.

•Step 2: πραΰτης (prautēs). The next character trait we're discussing, πραΰτης, comes from the word "gentle." This word means meekness. This doesn't just imply that a man with the characteristic of πραΰτης is emollient in his approach with other people, but also deep within his own soul.

You may be wondering what it means to be emollient inside you soul. What this means is that in your own, very personal walk with God, you accept His spiritual pruning with a certain grace and gentleness, not becoming quickly vexed by the discomfort of the pruning.

πραΰτης means carrying yourself with tenderness, yet still acting in authority. In other words, don't misuse a position of power, but rather use it as a platform to pursue godly deeds that are pleasing in the eyes of the Lord Himself.

•Step 3: μακροθυμία (makrothymia). The last word I wish to highlight today is μακροθυμία. This word is translated as "patient" and for good reason. The word μακροθυμία is used to depict forbearance, restraint, and temperance.

Let's say a man in authority finds out that one of his employees has not been very faithful in his duties and is slacking off. Of course this employee's actions have caused chaos for the entire working atmosphere, because he is so behind on his tasks and obligations.

Now, the man in authority has a choice. He could become completely enraged and blow his top with anger about how disorganised and ruffled the entire team is, and inflict malevolence upon his employee. On the other hand, this man could display the attribute of μακροθυμία and, though he does surely hold every right to be upset and all means by which he could rancorously retaliate, he could lavish long suffering upon his employee.

μακροθυμία is the utmost manifestation of two fruits of the Spirit, patience and self-control. The combination of these two qualities works together to create an atmosphere of peace, honesty, trust, and togetherness.

There you have it! Ephesians 4:2 is really communicating to us how we are to live as examples of Christ. First, walk in humility and lowliness. Lowliness doesn't mean you think of yourself as a garbage, but it does mean you are aware of your desperate dependence on God and therefore use that humility to minister to others' despondency. In this way, pulling them out of the pit of depression into the Light!

Secondly, we're called to be gracious in dealing with others as well as in our private walk with God. Pray for grace and attentiveness to the Holy Spirit's nudging inside your soul, and the strength to accept and endure victoriously His pruning within.

Last but certainly not least, we must combine the two merciful fruits of the Spirit which are patience and self-control. By the power of the Holy One working within us, we're able to confront chaos with a cool head and quieted temper. The combination of those two fruits produces a benignant effect within us that tenderly graces over all those with whom we come in contact.

Remember today, friends, to always at all times call upon the Lord and His Holy One that lives in you. Whenever a mountain comes up on your path, don't fear! God is always near. By His power we can confront the battle, climb the heights, and victoriously stand up and claim His faithfulness over our lives! What a way to start this day! We have all we need from the Holy Spirit to live as reflections of Christ and all His tenderheartedness. Go and face the mountains boldly in the Name of Jesus!

-The Introverted Evangelist

Photograph Taken By: Jon Courville