{re}fresh

Month: July, 2012

Moving Forward

by Julie

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing…” Isaiah 43:18

Moving is hard work.If you have ever moved before than you can understand. It’s much more than moving from one place to another.The process of cleaning , sorting and packing can often be very overwhelming.

    When God begins to move us it’s not always easy either. Even though we are not doing any heavy lifting or tedious house work, our seasons shift changing everything. When He moves us into a new season sometimes everything about our lives change. He moves us into deeper faith and obedience which often takes great courage and risk.
Despite the hard parts of moving, it can also be a very exciting experience. By looking through old photographs and other sentimental items, we are able to take time to remember all of the blessings that we experienced during that time. We have the room to downsize and simplify, getting rid of all of the things we don’t need anymore.

When we move deeper and deeper into His presence it’s helpful to remember the times that He has come through for us. It’s helpful to remember and be thankful for the goodness that He showed to us in our past. When God is moving us into a new season we often need to let go of the things that we don’t need. We have remembered and called upon His goodness and we can toss out doubt and fear. We don’t need to take along unnecessary things that compete for the same space He so desires to fill.

Moving to a different place isn’t about starting over but continuing the journey. It’s another chapter that is building to the climax of the greater story.  Moving to new places should be exciting, filled with new opportunities. Nothing may not look the same as it used to and normal routines will be different. As uncomfortable as change can be, there is adventure in the different and the new.

Think about the story of Paul’s conversion. Before he had a life changing encounter with the living God, his life was much different. He persecuted the church, threw people into prison and was present for the stoning of the martyr Stephen. The Lord met him on the road to Damascus and changed him. He was made clean and forgiven for everything  he had done. Can you imagine how different things would be if Paul never let go of his past? He would have never been able to walk in his new journey. Paul recognized his past but didn’t let it hold him back.

So where is God moving you? What is He doing in your life? What has He done for you already? What do you need to let go of? Do you have a community of people around you that you can count on in times of need?  What are the new things God is bringing you into? How is He changing you?

 

God Can’t Resist Blowing Bubbles

by Dawn Aldrich

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1 Peter 1:8

Perch a little kid above a tall glass of cold milk with a straw and what comes next? An irresistible urge to blow bubbles!

He heaves a tiny breath and blows gently. Blub.

Again. Blub, blub. A giggle escapes.

 

He blows a bit harder. Blub, blub, blub.  Joy overwhelms him.

 

He can’t resist watching those bubbles rise so he blows harder. Blub, blub, blub, blub, blub, blub, blub.

Bubbles rise and fill and spill, filling him with uncontrollable laughter, until Mom walks in and says, “Mop up that mess!”

He sucks down those milk-fed bubbles and sops up all the joy he can–still giggling–savoring the fullness of the moment that carries him through his day.

Entering God’s presence is like placing a glass of milk and a straw in front of a child–God can’t resist blowing bubbles. The more we focus on his goodness, sing praises to his name the more his Holy Spirit rises within us, filling us with heaven’s joy. And the more God hears us giggle the harder he blows, filling us with more and more of his Spirit until our joy rises and fills and spills.

I use to think God’s joy eluded me. Try as I might to fill myself with God’s joy, I always came up lacking. Reread that statement. We cannot experience heaven’s joy simply by wishing or willing. Rather, joy comes only as an overflow of God’s presence in our lives–not by his choice because God is a gentleman–never forcing himself on us. Rather, he simply knocks, waits for an invitation and an open door.

 

And when we let him in? When he sits at our table? He’s like a little boy perched above that cold glass of milk with a straw! All darkness dissipates and the room fills with his light, his joy, his laughter. And laughter is contagious.

Today, I experienced true laughter–just me and God–alone in His presence. It shocked me at first. I felt like a crazy woman laughing at nothing. But I’m not crazy and I’m wasn’t alone. Peter said, “even though you do not see {Jesus} now, you are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8). And when we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit there is freedom–freedom that bubbles and fills and spills over with laughter!  

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 

Are you searching for true joy in your own strength and coming up empty? Won’t you find a quiet spot and set a table for two? Just you and God. Put on some soft music and fill the room with praise and thanksgiving. Then open the door and invite him in–trust in his goodness and let his Spirit fill and rise and spill over you. 

God can’t resist blowing bubbles!

Times and Seasons

by Mike McKinniss

I’ve been doing a bit of brushing up on resurrection and eschatology themes lately, and it’s brought me to Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1.  You know the story.  Prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in chapter 2, the apostles get one last brief meeting with the visible Jesus before he disappears from view.  It’s a curious conversation they have.

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8, ESV)

With a bit of background, the disciples initial question seems straightforward enough.  They had been wandering about Israel with Jesus for three years, expecting that he would, as Israel’s messiah, overthrow the nation’s Roman overlords and restore Israel to a place of political autonomy.  This is what messiahs did.  (Or rather, this is what other self-proclaimed messiahs attempted to do.)  Alas, Jesus was crucified for just that.  He was put to death as a potential threat to the Roman presence in Jerusalem.  He claimed to be king of the Jews and to the cross he had to go.  The disciples, for their part, were then driven into hiding or back to their old lives.  The dream of being a part of a successful messianic movement was shattered.

But the resurrection changed everything.  With Jesus back in action, their hopes were revived, and they asked with eager anticipation.  Are you now, after all this, finally going to restore Israel to political prominence?

Jesus’ response gives a hint that the disciples, though they’re thinking the right direction, are thinking way too small.  They needn’t worry, he says about “times and seasons.”  Times and seasons for what?  For the ascending and descending of world empires.

Jesus is likely alluding, once more, to Daniel 7 (I tell my students they should write “2 Sam 7” and “Dan 7” in the margin of every page in their New Testament).  Remember that in Daniel 7 a vision comes to Daniel in which he sees several beasts ravaging the good peoples of the earth.  He learns eventually that these are representative of wicked empires that oppress people rather than govern them righteously.  In verses 9-10, Daniel sees in the midst of this terrible affair, the Ancient of Days take His place on the throne of heaven.  Good news: the Creator is about to do something about these injustices.  The one great beast is then destroyed (v. 11), while the other beasts are permitted to live “for a season and a time” (v. 12, ESV).  It is then that Daniel sees one like a son of man, engulfed in the clouds of heaven, coming to receive authority over the entire world from the Ancient of Days (vv. 13-14).

The disciples do not have to worry much about the duration of oppressive political powers, i.e., Rome.  It may yet linger on for a season and a time.  But rest assured, Jesus is saying, one like a son of man is about to enter God’s presence and there receive a kingdom that spans the entire globe.  (And oh by the way, he’s about to be engulfed in a cloud in Acts 1:9.)  And the disciples ought to concern themselves with the task of informing (or witnessing to) the world that there’s a new king in town and his jurisdiction of justice supersedes that of even the most powerful and violent empire in the world.

To read more of Mike’s blog posts go to http://mmckinniss.wordpress.com.

Seeing God’s Goodness

by mandyade

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

In the parable of the five talents the evil servant hid his talent because he knew his master was a hard master.  I detect some arrogance and a gross misunderstanding in his view of his master. Do you know why this servant was called evil? Not because he hid the talent and made no increase but because his motive for hiding the talent was evil. It originated from the evil one; he didn’t believe in the goodness of God, instead he had a warped, twisted view of the one who loved him.

Do you know why the successful servant was able to increase and get more talents, authority, influence and favor? Not because he was a smart business man but because he understood the goodness of his master. (Read Matthew 25)

Every man, woman or child that ever walked in God’s fullness had an understanding of His goodness. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God did not respond by saying He would send His power, greatness or judgment, instead He told Moses that He would “cause all my goodness to pass in front of you’”(Exodus 33:18,19). God’s  glory and goodness go hand in hand.

Jesus tried to teach the rich young ruler about God’s goodness; that God’s goodness surpasses the best human goodness. When we try to succeed in life, ministry, parenting, anything by our own goodness we become sad because we are really quite helpless. But God’s goodness fills in our cracks and covers our inadequacies completely.

We must put on God’s goodness like a child pulls on his dad’s trousers; not only believing in His goodness but expecting it all the time.

Visualize His goodness, speak about His goodness, notice His goodness, rejoice in His goodness. When you are discouraged by your inadequacies focus on His goodness instead, when you are aware of sadness and tragedy, remember His goodness.

In every situation, good and bad, let your heart be fixed and confident in the goodness of the Lord!

To learn more about Mandy’s prophetic art ministry or to read more of her blog posts visit her at http://www.MandyAdendorff.com

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