Posted by: ctru | September 26, 2010

Anonymous ministry

I once heard a prophecy that God was raising up a nameless, faceless generation of bondservants of Christ.  These will not care who is in the spotlight or who gets credit.  All they will be concerned about is that the Lord be glorified in their bodies.  In China, that is how ministry must be done.  The constraints inforced by their government require that anybody really serving God do so for completely intrinsic reasons, with no thought of personal gain or glory.

I was just thinking about a missionary family I know who serves God in China.  I cannot post their names, their photos, or even their location in this populous nation.  Not that it matters to them.  What matters to them is sharing Christ within this “closed” culture.  What matters to them is building relationships so that hearts may be opened.  What matters to them is that, “all ye” include the Chinese.   When Jesus said the kingdom of God is within your grasp, He means it.  He came to make it accessible and tangible.  In a sense that is what my friends went to do for the Chinese.

Do you ever find yourself concerned over who gets credit?

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Posted by: ctru | August 8, 2010

The journey never ends.

The journey never ends.  When you read that statement does it frighten you?  Do you feel weary just thinking about it?  Perhaps the statement excites you thinking about the next adventure ahead of you.  Maybe you are not sure just what I mean by “journeys”.  A journey is a purposeful trip, usually of some length.  It is not completed in a few days but many.  Usually journeys involve varieties of experiences, great ranges of emotions, challenges,and relationships.  One likes to think that a journey involves an accomplishment; but sometimes just enduring the journey is the accomplishment.   

I am coming to realize that my whole life is a series of journeys like mission trips.  When one ends, another will soon begin.    Like when I was young . . . I loved going to amusement parks, literally running for the next ride or climbing the fences to get back on the same roller coaster.  Then the purpose of the journey was the thrills, the excitement  . . . the fun.  Most of the family vacations we took when I was growing up were fun.  But my parents had an ulterior motive.  Their hidden purposes were to educate us and strengthen relationships with us.  We traveled to Jamestown and Plymouth to see how the Pilgrims lived, to Mount Vernon and Monticello to find out about our Forefathers, to mountains and aquariums and zoos; all so we could broaden our experiences and widen our educational potential.   My heavenly Father has taken me on many mission trips; some known and planned, others covert and spontaneous.  I believe God’s motives are similar.  He wants to deepen relationship with me, just like my parents.  He wants to strengthen my character and develop a godly nature.  Spending time with Him in a project accomplishes so much between us.  Often the outward purpose of a mission is to impact others, to meet a need.  Yet, throughout the mission, it is amazing how He works.  Just like the internal edification He is accomplishing in me, together we are spending ourselves attempting to minister to others.  The way He blesses is exponentially explosive and implosive (is that a word?). I mean together you go off with a purpose to build others up, be it a person, a group, a nation; and at the same time you are impacting others, you yourself are being impacted internally.  Astounding, isn’t it?

What about the in-between times, the lags between purposeful mission?    Bus stops, waiting rooms, drive-thru lines . . . suddenly I am feeling impatient.  Trying to get somewhere, are you?  The traffic, the people, the weather . . . it seems like everything can be in the way.  Then there is boredom, doldrums, slack time, lag time . . . no body likes it when you put your rudder down and still go no where.  Waiting, do we know how to do this well?  Uh? Not really.  Why?  I think it is because we tend to be so self-focused.  Everything (we think) is about our agenda, what we need to accomplish, where we need to be and when we need to be there.  Yes, until suddenly you are blanketed by back to back blizzards or something important gets broken, like the landing gear.  If our self-focus causes us to be impatient, could we learn something from that?  I mean what if the reverse is true?  If we would focus on others, could we become more patient?  Standing in the grocery line, the express line with 15 other people in front of you, could you at the moment you start your heavy-sighing suddenly stop yourself and think of the clerk desperately trying to catch up or the mother of 4 kids all under 6 years of age in front of you.  Could you focus yourself on them for a moment?  Suddenly you could be on mini-mission trip.  If you could just begin to focus yourself on impacting someone else for good and (POW), you begin to grow inwardly.  Your smile returns and the tension leaves.  It’s not about you anymore, what a relief!

Even better, could you once more see yourself in relation with God in every moment in everyday?  Even when no one is looking . . . especially when no one is looking, open your heart to Him. In the over-stuffed, outrageously powerful moments and in the still, uncluttered moments, He is the backdrop of your life, the operating system.  Every moment, everyday.  Like fixing the car with your son or making strawberry shortcake with Mom, or watching the snow bury your lawn furniture or praying for the people parting at the airport,  the relationship with Him is the biggest journey of your life.     This is the journey that never ends.

Posted by: ctru | August 5, 2010

What does it mean to walk before God?

What does it mean to “walk before God?”  Is it like an armor bearer carrying the shield for his captain? God told Abram to walk before Him and be blameless.  But it could not mean for Abram to carry a shield for God.  Almighty God does not need protection.  On the contrary, God promised to be a shield to Abram, to be his protector. Perhaps it is like the way my mom used to direct us when we were in a place where we had to be quiet.  In my childhood my mom had me walk before her sometimes.  It always seemed to be when were entering the sanctuary at church that she would gently put her hand on my back and guide me into the aisle in front of her.  Then if I picked a pew she didn’t like, I felt a slight pull on my shoulder.  I suppose when she kept me close she could guide me better.  As a kid though, I didn’t like it when she had me go in front of her.  I used to tell her that I would rather follow her then she could pick whatever seat she wanted.  But she never changed her pattern.  Now as an adult I know that her purpose was to give me supervised freedom.   

Keeping us close is what I think God desires but not just so he can supervise us.  Upon reviewing the Hebrew words involved in the passage in Gen. 17 the word translated “before” has something to do with being near God’s face, His countenance.  I have always loved the word “countenance”.  It says so much.  You can look at someone’s face and not comprehend their countenance because understanding someone’s countenance requires a measure of intimacy not just proximity.  Although being close to God is important, nearness is just the beginning.    God, I believe, was inviting Abram into a close relationship, not just giving a holy command.  “Come and know my face, know my countenance.  As you walk, as you live, I will guide you.” 

The second part of God’s statement to Abram is translated, “be blameless.”  The original words again imply much more.  It is not only to live in such a way so that Abram couldn’t be accused of anything.  Look at the depth of meaning contained in the Hebrew word tâmîym (taw-meem’):  entire, integrity, without blemish, complete, full, perfect, sincere, sound, without spot, undefiled, upright, whole.  The fullness of this meaning leaves us with a question.  Is God saying to Abram, to be able to be close to God he has to be blameless? Or is God saying to Abram, stay close to Me and you will become blameless, entire, a man of integrity, without spot or blemish, complete, sincere, upright . . .  whole? The verb translated “be” could be translated “to be” or “to become.”  It seems as if Scripture has left it up to us to decide.  But I would say that God’s invitation contains both a command and a promise.  The evidence I would give is found in the work of Christ.  The Sermon on the Mount characterizes for us the expectations of a holy, blameless life.  Reading it makes one feel as if it would be impossible to live up to Jesus’ expectations.  And it is impossible . . . if not for Christ.  The apostle John said, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”  John is saying that although the righteous requirements were given and manifested through Christ, Jesus gives the grace or power to live them to those who receive Him.  Grace is the divine influence that will reign in our heart and enable us to live the life that God expects.  We receive this grace when we receive Him.  And so the invitation God gives through Christ is even sweeter than the one Abram received.  God told Abram to walk close to Him and he would become blameless.  Jesus said if we would love Him, He and His Father would come to live inside of us and we would do greater things than He did.  John also taught that God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved . . . saved, that is the English word for the original Greek word, sozo.  Sozo means to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, to make whole. Our wholeness has been God’s idea for thousands of years from Abram to Jesus to you.

Resources: e-sword, Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, Genesis 15: 1 and 17: 1, Matthew 5-7, John 14: 23, John 3: 17, the words of John Bevere

Posted by: ctru | May 29, 2010

Do you know what time it is?

            I awoke this morning hearing a song inside of me singing, “Do you know, do you know, do you know what time it is?”  Over and over it plays inside of me today and I know that the Spirit of God desires us to respond and find out the answer.

            Although God lives outside of time, we do not.  Timing is important.  The Word of God honors the sons of Issachar because they knew what to do and had understanding of the times in which they lived.  Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees because they could predict the weather but could not read the signs of their times.  The Lord grieved over Jerusalem because they did not know the time of their visitation and soon afterward this city was razed to the ground.  The cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum were destroyed because they did not realize Who had come to their city.  They loved the miracles He did but they did not repent. 

            We must respond.  We must pay attention.  We must repent for being so focused on the minute details of our lives that we miss the purpose of our being here at this time.  Mordecai humbled himself greatly and wept in prayer to God when the destruction of his people was imminent.  He understood what was happening and caused Queen Esther to see the importance of her position at that critical time.  God positioned her to be queen, knowing that His people would come under a threat of genocide.  She and many others fasted and prayed and sought God.  Because of their faithful response the entire situation reversed.  It is time to seek the Lord.  It is time to fear God and revere Him above all things and people.  We must listen to what the Spirit of God is saying and respond in a way that pleases Him.   Each of us has a purpose.  God has positioned us.  But we must understand what we are to do and get our direction from the Spirit of God.  Know the times, seek God to understand your purpose in these times.  It is not an understatement to say that lives depend upon it.  

            Do you know?

            Do you know?

            Do you know what time it is?

Credits: I Chronicles 12: 32, Matthew 16: 1-3, Luke 19: 41-44, Matthew 11: 21-23, Esther 2: 20, and 4: 1-17 ; the teachings of Rick Joyner of MorningStar Ministries about knowing the times in which we live.

Posted by: ctru | May 26, 2010

I am a filty drunk

I am a filthy drunk. I know this image may shock you, even offend you but God revealed this to me. Yes, God revealed it and the revelation was healing to me. Let me share with you how this could be so.
Kneeling in prayer, my face in Papa’s chair, I smelled a rank smell. The sour smell was in my nose as I saw myself in filthy clothes seated on a curb next to Jesus. He was talking with me, laughing and loving me. I was a mess but delighted in Him and His love. Next I saw me sitting next to a filthy drunk on the curb; reaching out to him in the same love that Jesus gave to me.
Then it all made sense. Jesus is the only holy One and He stooped down to me in my mess to rescue me, not caring that I was a stinking wretch. And I am just one of billions of filthy drunks on this planet that Jesus loves, that Jesus died to rescue. Now that He has reached me in my mess, how can I ignore another?
Another thought occurred to me, when I think about the scripture that says if you have broken one commandment, it is as if you have broken them all . . .
I am a drunk.
I am a murderer.
I am a liar.
But in Christ, I am forgiven.
So are you.
What will you do about it?

Posted by: ctru | March 18, 2010

In Tune?

I was praying Sunday morning when a text came that I felt I should check.  The text was a forward that referenced me.  It said, “I felt a cry in my spirit for the church, tell Cheryl, God says, ‘Move’”.  Returning to prayer more alert now, I saw in my spirit a tuning fork.  God struck the tuning fork and a clear, pure sound went out into the heavens and the earth.  

            What is God saying to us?  Although I had the sense that God is adjusting me so that I be in tune with His sound, I checked out tuning forks and saw some interesting things.  Wikipedia says the main use of a tuning fork “is as a standard of pitch to tune other musical instruments.”  God’s sound is the standard.  Our sound is to line up with His.  We must be in tune with God.

            The article also mentioned some uses for tuning forks.  Other than tuning musical instruments, a tuning fork can be used in watches or in discerning if people have hearing problems.  In mechanical watches the tuning fork, with the help of a battery, can keep accurate time.  Spiritually God could be aligning us with His timing or checking the hearing of His people. 

            Are we hearing God’s sound?  Are we adjusting to it? Or are we out of tune with Him?  I looked at the reasons for a piano going out of tune.  An article gave the most common reason: changes in humidity.  If too much moisture is absorbed there is a swelling and the strings become too tight.  If there is too little moisture, dryness causes the strings to be loose and flat.  What kind of climate are you living in?  Are you swelling with pride or suffering from dryness?

            Another reason for going out of tune is loose tuning pins.  This happens with age or if the instrument is kept in an environment that is too dry.  The only enduring fix is a deep renewal process where practically all the guts of the piano are removed and the pinblock replaced.  If this restoration process is done well the piano could last for another generation.   

            Pianos are built to last but if they sit for long periods of time without being tuned, they will take several periodic tunings to become stable and to keep their tune.  This is because there are so many parts involved, over 9000 perhaps.  When pressure is placed on one, the others push back.  It takes many tunings to get the adjustments balanced between all the interconnected parts.  Just as in the body of Christ, we are many members.  God has to make many adjustments until we all come into the unity He destined for us.

            New strings get out of tune very easily and require frequent tuning until the strings stretch enough to hold the tune.  Pianos that are used moderately should be tuned at least twice a year based upon the changing seasons.  But for a professional, tuning should be much more frequent.  For concert halls or recording studios, pianos should be tuned before each performance.   This underscores the importance for me to get into God’s presence daily, to hear His Sound.  I don’t want to be moderately used.  I want to be involved in doing His will daily in tune with His Sound, neither flat nor sharp.

Posted by: ctru | March 6, 2010

Being Sober considering Ephesians 5: 11-21

Have nothing to do with anything evil. It is lifeless, sterile, and incapable of producing anything good. But on the contrary, expose it for what it is . . . evil. Take away the cloak of darkness. Just to talk about the wicked acts and do nothing brings the shameful cloak upon you. Be the Light in all circumstances. Darkness flees from Light.
Wake up! Open up your eyes! Still closed in sleep, you are still in your own darkness.

What is your walk like? Do your deeds show that you fear Him? Once you are up and have shaken off sleep, how do you live? God says, “Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” And Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days so that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Your days here are finite. Live this awareness. Would you spend eighty years and not know God or not fear God? Evil is rampant. Darkness is everywhere. How can you say you know God and not be Light?

Being foolish is the state of knowing what is right but choosing to do wrong anyway. Dedicate yourself to know and do God’s will His way; understand His desires and plans. Line up with Him, work with Him, serve Him. You become Light when His priorities become yours.

Drunk, over-filled, senses incapacitated, you cannot properly function. Then you sleep, sedated with a dark anesthesia, unable to think or react. Desensitized you cannot fully live or love. Imagine yourself in a hotel room. The walls disappear silently and before you are scenes of violence and sexual sin just a few feet away. Physically sickened, you are appalled. Suddenly the walls are restored and you hear this statement: This is the spirit you are inviting into your home every day through the virtual reality you call television. How dull you have become toward sex and violence, drugged, anesthetized, and asleep. If those things you watch were literally happening in front of your eyes, you would feel the shame like slime, desperately wanting to wash it from your memory. Yet like wine you are addicted to the vicarious experience, wanting more and more. It is a sleep, a sedative, an addictive substance.

Quit the addiction. Be clean. Be full of the Spirit of God. Here are your instructions for how to be stay filled with His Spirit. Speak and sing your prayers and praise. It gives you prophetic encouragement and a heart to worship God. Live your thankfulness. Gratitude and honest praise keep the door open to His Spirit, His Word and Light. Do it just like Jesus. Be like Him. Seek real love from God. Connect yourself to Him and those who also have chosen Him. Remain in unity and humility, loving Jesus and others out of reverence for God. This is Oneness and real Life.

Posted by: ctru | February 3, 2010

The Freedom and the Test

How can God’s Word and faith be separated?  Unbelief separates faith from God’s Word like a knife stealing life from a body.  Unbelief blinds and divides; but faith sees God’s Word and unites with it giving Life to it.  Faith sees the framework and becomes the substance of it.

            Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.  By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.                                                                          Hebrews 11: 1-3          NKJV

                        It is almost as if God’s Word and faith are the same thing; they belong together like breath belongs to breathing.  For the believer they are the same.  Because of God’s Word, faith is alive and active in a believer.  And because of the believer’s faith, God’s Word is alive and active.  Faith in a believer brings the expression of God’s Word into manifestation.  Don’t stop breathing the breath of God’s Word or you will die.  Life will cease to flow.  Should faith cease, the manifestation of God’s Word ceases in the same way that should you stop breathing, life leaves your body.

            How great a sin, how great an offense unbelief must be to God!  How much unbelief must wound the heart of God.  Somehow God has willfully made Himself vulnerable to humanity, submitting His Truth to be believed or not.  Yet in this seeming vulnerability of God, your freedom is found and your test is applied.  It is your choice:  will you believe?

Posted by: ctru | February 1, 2010

In Word or Deed

 “Whatever you do in word or deed  .   .  .  notice it does not say, “whatever you say or whatever you do.”  It says, “whatever you do in word or deed.”  The verse speaks as if “doing” can be enacted by speech as well as action.  Can you fathom accomplishing something by simply speaking?  God did and does.  He spoke and the worlds were created.  Everything exists and is held together even today because of the words God spoke and is speaking.  I may be stretching a truth or abusing semantics but I don’t think so.  There is much evidence in Scripture concerning the power of words.  Words are seeds.  When they are spoken they are planted.  Believing those words allows them to germinate and grow.  They will produce fruit once they are believed and applied.  It matters not if the words are true or false. 

Jesus told a parable about a sower sowing seed.  Later He explained it to His disciples and He said, “The sower sows the word.”  Then He went on to explain each possible outcome for the sown seed.  The final and best outcome is where the word was believed and obeyed; it produced a great harvest of crops.  Jesus, of course, was talking about God’s Word.  But what if lies are spoken, will they have the same effect?  Think of the lie the serpent spoke to Eve.  She took of the forbidden fruit because she believed a lie.  That is deception.  This deception bore “fruit” quickly as her husband disobeyed God’s command and all of humanity was affected. 

Consider this, “whatever you do in word or deed.”  Consider it because you are sowing seed that will bring a harvest.  We must not underestimate this truth.  Paul gives us great counsel here in this verse, admonishing us that, “whatever you do (enact, achieve, or accomplish) in word or deed, that it should all be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.”   What does it mean to do something in His name?  It means when we are so aligned with His nature and purposes that what we speak and what we do is of Him and for Him, as if it was Jesus speaking and doing through you and me.  How does one become so aligned with His character and will so much so that one’s speech and actions become reproductions of who He is? 

Teaching middle school science, our curriculum used to include magnetism; so I have many magnets in my classroom.  Those magnets sometimes became weak through dropping them or improper storage.  To renew the magnets I purchased a magnet “recharger.”   This magnet recharger was simply a super strong magnet.  When you place the magnets on the recharger for a period of time their magnetism is restored.  Now indulge me as I explain a little about magnetism.  Not all things are magnetic, not even all metals are magnetic.  But 3 metals: iron, nickel, and cobalt are magnetic.  This seems to be due to the fact that the domains within them can be aligned.  The domains within them will line up, so to speak.  When the domains are all aligned in unity, they are magnetic.  If I drop the magnet repeatedly their domains can become misaligned, causing them to lose their magnetism.  But as was said, this can be restored by close proximity to a super strong magnet. 

I hope you can see the analogy.  We need a close proximity to Jesus to be aligned with His will and purpose.  If we fall or are injured we can be restored to His purposes simply by being close to Him.  There are some who simply will not align themselves with Him.  This is sad that they seem to not be able to allow all the domains of their life to be yielded to Him.  How is it with you?  The power in your life comes from being aligned with Christ.  Two major forces must be active in our lives to align us with Him:  His Word and His Spirit. 

Jesus spoke about these two forces and how they align us with Him.  In John 15: 7 He said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  This means if the Word of God is being obeyed in us, it is being lived out in our lives.  Then this obedience to His Word will so line us up with His will that what we ask for will be done because we are living just as He is in this world.  Our lives must become a divine expression of His Word.  The Word must become flesh in us.  Abiding in Jesus is the close proximity we need.  Obedience to His Word aligns us with Him.  Because our domains have lined up with His, the same power that resides in Him now flows in us. 

The second force, His Spirit, must be fully active in our lives as well.  We must be led by His Spirit.  But we must have both the Word and the Spirit working together with each other  The Word without the Spirit will be misused and even cause harm; the Bible says, even death.  In other words we must have the Spirit of God to appropriately use the Word of God.  Jesus promised that He would send the “Helper”, the Holy Spirit”. 

Several verses help us to see the importance of His Spirit in our lives.  Here are just a few:

  • John 14: 26   But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you
  • John 14: 16-17   I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you

What is impossible with man, God has made possible.  We can speak and do all in His name, in His nature, pleasing God.  We have His Word and His Spirit available to us.  Seek Him daily, personally in His Word, in prayer.  Obey His Word.  Get to know Him better everyday.  Grow in grace, in faith, in love.  Determine each day to know Him and He will make Himself known in you and through you.  Amen.  

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”  Colossians 3: 17.

Posted by: ctru | February 1, 2010

all things

All things spoken, all things done should not be done in my name but His, not be done for me but for Him as if it actually was Him doing it.  All things spoken, all things done in His name, like a hand in a glove and I am the glove.  Yet a glove is not a living being as I am.  I still have a name.  I am still a person; but now I am a person under His kingship.  If I choose His refuge, His protection, and His benefits and do not line up with His will then I am only a squatter, a parasite to be plucked off. 

The Word of God says He chose me.  He revealed Himself to me because His desire was for me to be with Him, to be saved, to be protected, to be in deep friendship with Him.  But then He left the choice to me and I chose Him.  At this union of His will and mine, I became His.  I took His name.  He, a husband/king to me and I a wife/queen to Him.  He made a transfer available to me through a miraculous sacrificial act of salvation and love into His kingdom; a bridge of rescue from enemy lands into His army.  He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.  So beautiful, so glorious, so deep; how can I not serve Him, how can I not align my will with His?  As a wife/queen, I am totally enraptured by Him, totally given to Him, totally convinced that His will is the best.  I live,no, not just live; I thrive under His purposes.  I discover that for this I was created.  I was meant to dwell and flourish in Him.  I am now ALIVE, really alive, not just existing.  I am free in subjection to His beautiful and perfect will.  As a husband/king who loves me, He hears me and responds to me.  I share my deepest thoughts and opinions with Him and we delight in this relationship.  But in the end should my perspective seem contrary to Him, out of my great love for Who He Is, out of my great respect for Who He Is, I gladly yield to His great wisdom.  Yes, sometimes I don’t understand it till much later.  But I have come to know and trust that He knows what is best.  So even if it means hardship or struggle or pain; I will go with Him.  I will trust my husband/king.  I am in Love, His Love.

And so all things spoken, all things done should not be done in my name but His because I am His, freely given to Him not out of compulsion or duress but love. 

. . . . .  this came after considering the verses in Colossians 3: 17 and 1: 13

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